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Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

an omaha restaurant association event made up of chefs who donate their time and talents to prepare a 5 to 6 course meal with wine pairings for ten guests returns sunday march 25th. neither the guests nor the chefs know who will be matched with whom until cocktail hour. the chef then greets his group, and wines and dines them for the rest of the evening. too many cooks also incorporates a live auction of chefs donating their services in the comfort of the buyer’s home for a private dinner party for ten. proceeds from this event go to fight hunger and provide for culinary scholarships. this year’s chairs: bobby mekiney, co-chair tina tweedy and committee members dan preusser and jennie warren. for tickets visit www.dineoutomaha.com or call 402-493-4739.

 

 

JOEL MAHR

lot 2 restaurant and wine bar
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? My grandmother. She was the one who brought our family together.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? Fergus Henderson I was able to eat at St. Johns in London and was truly amazed [at his use of] the whole animal.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? My grandmother’s hot beef sandwich.
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? Working with 2 individuals who share the same passion for food and wine, and believing in me to be their chef.
 


 

BOBBY MEKINEY

vivace
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? What happens when people sit down at a table full of good food. Whether it’s the holidays, in a restaurant or at home with your family, life happens at the table.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? Braised beef short ribs with ramps, wild mushrooms and bone marrow sauce. Lots of good bread with butter.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? Charlie Trotter has been one of the biggest inspirations to me because of his philosophy on food, restaurant culture, pursuit of excellence.
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? My family and my faith in God.
 


 

VICTOR CABRIALES

bellevue medical center
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? I’d have to say growing up in a kitchen my inspiration to be a chef would be my father Victor Sr. And my grandfather Ramon Cabriales.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? A nice size Fillet Mignon and seared tuna.
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? My wife, family, Meat-E (my English Bulldog), and for being a well rounded chef from fine dining to hospitals, creating great dining experiences.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? Gordon Ramsey for being hard firm yet equal in kitchen with all his cooks and for showing the true side of a restuarant kitchen.
 


 

CEDRIC FICHEPAIN

le voltaire
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? My grandmothers and mother were the most important inspirations to become a chef. Nothing beats a great homemade dinner for family or friends and the joy you see on peoples’ faces when they enjoy good food and wine.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? For appetizer: A warm goat cheese served with fresh figs compote over crunchy bread and spring mix. Entrée: a bouillabaisse from Provence (seafood stew) and stinky French cheeses for dessert.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? I really enjoy Ludovic Lefebvre from Ludo bites on the Sundance Channel. He looks tough on the outside but is a nice and very approachable chef. We came in the U.S. at the same time and he’s a great ambassador for french cooking in the States.
 


 

JOHN RHEA

m’s pub
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? I cooked a lot at a young age and had my first “real job” in a kitchen when I was fifteen. At first it was at home with desserts, grandma’s house, then grilling and other easy, at home methods. Going into my senior year I didn’t even know that culinary school was an option. Within a month I had applied and been accepted to LE CORDON BLEU MINNEAPOLIS. I’ve been cooking ever since.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? braised pork belly, veal cheeks, and a charcuterie board a wide variety of cured meats and sausages and goat cheeses and a good baguette. Let’s throw some bacon on there just for good measure.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? If I had to pick one, I would say Rick Bayless for his approach to food. Showing how fresh simple ingredients when combined properly can look and taste amazing, without overthinking or getting into the science of all parts to a recipe.
 


 

ENZO ZURLO

zurlo’s bistro italiano
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? No one really inspired me. I started working at my uncle’s pizzeria when I was ten and have been hooked ever since. Not many people can say they love their jobs!
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? My last supper would depend on if I had to cook it or if someone was cooking for me. I guess I would have to go with a ribeye steak with a great bottle of wine.
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? I’m very proud of who I’ve become by listening to others and just being real. I’m also thankful for the support I get from fans and family that makes Zurlo’s and I so successful. I am truly blessed!
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? I’m a big fan of Chef Irvine and his show Restaurant: Impossible. With just a $10,000 budget, he makes spectacular changes. He connects with people and has great communication skills, which is a huge asset when you’re a chef. Not to mention he makes great food, as well.
 


 

TIM GALLIGHER

sodexo
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? My Mother, She was involved in the culinary field and that rubbed off on me over time.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? Sushi in Japan.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? Thomas Keller. I feel that hard work and apprenticing is the hardest way to make it as a Chef. His hard work and innovative cooking style has set him apart for over 15 years and his cook books share his passion for the culinary field.
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? My children and my wife. The culinary field is extremely tough on a family- especially for children at a young age.
 


 

KIMBLER HARROLD

liberty tavern
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? My Mom taught me to cook for my two sisters when I was young. I wanted to go into photography and art in high school but ended up cooking in a hotel kitchen the whole time. That’s how I discovered the art of cooking. Many of the chef’s I have worked for, instructors, family, and friends have helped me along the way.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? Bobby Flay. He balances his culinary talents, and flavors well. He’s gifted and creative but not arrogant or boastful. He also teaches his culinary techniques. I’ve shared these in my mentorship of high school students in culinary competitions to give them a Chef’s perspective of cooking. I’m blessed with creativity so I like to think he and I are in the same category.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? Pizza is my weakness so I would want to have the most amazing one I could find!
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? My faith and family. Even though work takes me away I love to come home or go to church, where I can soak up the accolades of those closest to me. That and knowing that my Mother would be proud of me.
 


 

ABDALLAH MEGHZAZE

twisted fork grill and saloon/ ryan’s bistro
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? I set foot into my first kitchen at 14 years old and knew that being a chef is what I was meant to do. I started as a grunt dishwasher and moved my way up the line so I could keep learning.
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? Maestro Chef Joel Robuchon, the Shakespeare of food, for the way he displays simplicity in an elegant way. A gourmet chef that orchestrates the skills of his chefs so every dish flows out the kitchen like smooth music. I appreciate his drive to attain perfection in his meticulous preparation of authentic French cuisine.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? Shrimp bastilla with rice vermicelli and black trumpet mushrooms followed by traditional Moroccan shebakia cookies and a cup of strong coffee or mint tea.
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? My family’s success. My hard work, my ability to continue to learn and adjust to all circumstances and being a great student in the University of Life.
 


 

JOHN URSICK

stokes grill and bar
 

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CHEF? I am constantly inspired by the people I work with, the food I prepare, and the city I love. My love of food began with my mother, who pushed me to try new things. She inspires me today. My wife, Meg, who supports me through thick and thin, busy and slow days, crazy times and easy ones.
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? Spaghetti and meatballs at my mothers’ house with all my family around me, laughing like we always do when we are together!
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? The people that work at our restaurants, the cooks, bussers, service staff, managers, bartenders. They are the machine that makes it all work, and they constantly surprise me with the passion and commitment they bring to work each day. And they make, me laugh every day!
 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE “CELEBRITY” CHEF AND WHY? Celebrity tires me, so I do not have a favorite. Real working chefs are the true leaders in our industry. That being said, Jean Louis Palladin, who passed away in 2001, will always be my inspiration.
 


 

GLENN WHEELER

spencer’s
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? Appetizer of the best crab in the world with some 83% melted butter, followed by slow smoked pork shoulder, smoked gouda mac and cheese and braised greens and for dessert. I would like some french cheese with very ripe strawberries and champagne.
 

 


 


 

MICHAEL RHOADES

sodexo
 

IF YOU HAD ONLY ONE MORE DAY TO LIVE WHAT WOULD YOUR “LAST SUPPER” BE? The tuna tartar from “Kevin” in Chicago, rotisserie leg of Lamb from “LuLu” in San Fransisco, the crab cake from “Le Bec Fin” in Philly, the roasted garlic custard from “Star Canyon” in Dallas and fried chicken from “Waffle House”!
 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR LIFE? My wife for raising three well adjusted, stable young adults and my children for always supporting each other, and doing better than I ever did.

 

 

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