Chef Bobby Mekiney of the Vivace located in the Old Market at 1108 Howard Street, Omaha, was named Chef Par Excellence at the Nebraska Pork Producers Association Taste of Elegance competition. Nine chefs competed for the top honors at Metro Community College’s Institute of Culinary Arts, Fort Omaha Campus, Omaha, Nebraska. The semi-annual competition for chefs is co- sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board and the Nebraska Corn Board.
Judges for the event were Chef Judy Gillard, “Judy a la carte,” Lincoln; Chef Glen Wheeler, Executive Chef of Spencer’s, Omaha; Anne Rehnstrom, Retail Marketing Assistant, National Pork Board, Des Moines, IA and Chef Steve Bell, Instructor at the Institute for the Culinary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska. The chef’s entrees were judged on taste, appearance and originality. Jane Reeson, Domestic Marketing Director for the Association said “the exciting thing about the 2011 competition was that for the first time each individual chef was allowed to select the cut and provider of the pork used for their entrees. This new rule was adopted to promote the new “pork be inspired” tag line”.
The winning entrée entitled “Tongue and Cheek with Something Sweet” consisted of a Crispy Pork Cheek layered on a Sweet Potato Waffle with a Rosemary-Honey-Madeira Wild Honey Sauce. The “sweet” was a Guinness-Chestnut-Maple Bacon Chocolate Cake with Bacon Truffle. Chef Mekiney received a check for $1500 and a trip to the Pork Summit, an exclusive educational weekend held at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, California. The weekend features chef demos from Pork Celebrated Chefs, farm to fork education and an opportunity to network with other chefs.
Chef Rocky Rocha from Omaha’s Magnolia Hotel was named Superior Chef and was award $750. The title of Premium Chef and a $500 check was awarded to Chef Paul Kulik, of the Boiler Room. Guests at the event named Chef John Rea of M’s Pub as the People’s Choice. Chef Rea received a check for $500.
The Nebraska Pork Producers Association is a grassroots, incorporated, non profit organization established in 1961. NPPA was developed to promote the pork industry through the enhancement of consumer demand, producer education and research. For more information, visit NPPA’s website at www.NEpork.org.