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Iron Chef Competition at The Magnolia a Sizzling Success

May 1, 2008 (OMAHA)—Results are in for The Magnolia Hotel’s Iron Chef Competition, held Wednesday, April 30, as a benefit for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Omaha.  The event featured four Omaha chefs vying for the Iron Chef title in the creative cook-off, which required contestants to cook three courses, all using a secret ingredient, which was root beer. The root beer was donated by local brewery Upstream Brewing Co.

The winners were: First Place- Chef Brian Younglove, French Café; Second Place- Chef Rocky Rocha, The Magnolia Hotel; Third Place- Chef Bobby Mekiney, Vivace and M’s Pub; and in Fourth Place- Chef Chad Anderson, Stokes Downtown.  The event raised $750 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Omaha.

Chef Brian Younglove of The French Café won first place for his innovative root beer concoctions. His first course was a soy root beer-encrusted beef Carpaccio with olive oil toast points and a roasted red pepper and rice noodle salad with a root beer balsamic glaze. His second course was a root beer glazed pork loin, with root beer cous cous, and a root beer demi glaze with carrots and peppers. Chef Younglove’s final course was a root beer crape with macerated black berries and raspberries and a crepe made with root beer, goat cheese, vanilla, and honey that was panko-encrusted and deep fried.

“We had a blast,” said Chef Younglove. “It was such a close competition; everyone did great. The Magnolia did a great job putting on the event. I would definitely participate again next year.”

Chef Rocha of The Magnolia, in second place, created dishes including a root beer and hoisin glaze chicken with tomato tartar and fennel salad with a sweet chili sauce; and a root beer braised pork chop with potato and blackberry hash and an orange and carrot ribbon salad.

“Each chef did an excellent job and seemed to have a great time participating,” said Maggie Kotlarz, director of sales at The Magnolia. “Each asked me if we’ll do the event next year, and we would definitely like to. It was a lot of fun, and we were thrilled to help fund raise for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.”

The Magnolia is following up this fund raiser with another fun way to help benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Over Memorial Day, The Magnolia is offering a special $49 guest room rate. The $49 rate is valid on Sunday, May 25 and is available to reserve online only at by entering the promotional code “BigMac.”

The Magnolia hotels are upscale boutique hotels catering to the sophisticated traveler, operated by Denver-based Magnolia Hotels, a privately held hotel management and development company. The company focuses on development, management, acquisition, re-branding, new construction and conversion of existing independent hotel properties. The core product line consists of award-winning, independent boutique hotels that offer a comfort, personality and style unlike that of trendy or branded hotels. Stylish interiors are designed with local flair. Comfort is fashioned through warm personal spaces such as signature Club rooms and restful suites. The company currently operates Magnolia hotels in Denver, Dallas, Houston and Omaha and is exploring other markets for additional growth opportunities.  Magnolia Hotels also is actively seeking to acquire new hotel management contracts. For more information, visit

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