Mac It Up – NACE Golden Noodle Competition

As a simple comfort food loved by all, Macaroni and Cheese has been a staple in households across the country.  It is an incredibly simple dish. The name pretty much sums up the recipe. Elbow macaroni, or some other tube-shaped pasta, layered with cheese, and cooked with milk or cream. That’s all there is.

But, the simplicity of the dish is only part of its charm. Macaroni and cheese lovers add all sorts of secret ingredients and guard their recipes like new money. While some are very protective of the essence of the mac and cheese dish, others have created inventive dishes layering ingredients upon ingredients.  The recipe creations and possible ingredient combinations are endless. For this reason, it was time for Houston to judge who had the best mac and cheese masterpiece.

We are not talking about the orange gooey stuff that comes in a block or the powdered stuff from a box either. We are talking about high stakes, true passion for great cheeses, and culinary technique, to present some of the best masterpieces Houston has ever seen. We are talking about the inaugural event of The Golden Noodle Mac and Cheese Competition.

On September 21, the mac and cheese battleground at the Bayou City Event Center brought together eleven competitors. Fighting to mix their way to win the Golden Noodle for “Best Traditional”, “Best Creative”, “Best Dessert Mac and Cheese”, as well as “Best Booth Design”.

The competition started with raw ingredients, and dishes were prepared on-site in a 10×10 booth space. Guests sipped and strolled down the aisles while watching the masterpieces come together before their eyes. Our elite panel of judges consisted of Sarah Rufca, associate editor of CultureMap; Scott Evans, Publisher of The Social Book; and Brittany Talavera, President of the NACE Student Chapter.

In true Iron Chef style, the contestants presented their dishes to the panel, which were tasted, critiqued, and judged.  All competitions need a democratic vote, so guests voted and presented one lucky winner with The People’s Choice award.  The contestants were composed of caters, chefs, restaurateurs, and a few passionate novices.  All of them brought their culinary game both in design and in tasty dishes.  They are all very serious about their mac and cheese.  

The Best Traditional went to Behind the Bash:  Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese
The Best Creative went to Max’s Wine Dive:  Wild Boar Mac n Cheese
The Best Dessert went to Celebrations and Sweet Creations:  Mac n Sweet
People’s Choice went to Hearsay Gastro Lounge
Others in the competition who were also a delight to enjoy (I would eat their mac anytime):  
The Westin Galleria + Westin Oaks:  Bubbly Brunch Mac n Cheese
Crown Plaza:  Orange Tarragon Butter
RK Group: French Bistro Mac n Cheese
Twirled Up (team made of Jill Vidal & Shelley Kent):  Twirled Up
White Oak Kitchen + Drinks:  White Oak Mac
Bailey Connor Catering:  Il Limone Babarbaro Mascarpone Rigatoni
Behind The Bash (second entry):  Roasted Corn & Lobster Mac n Cheese
The design for the room was inspired by cafes and sidewalk bistros you might see in your own neighborhood.  Simplicity at it’s finest, while you wait for the culinary dream to hit your table.   A single vase sits on your table while great tunes fill the air.This was the foundation for the contestants’ booth design, and just like their culinary passion, they didn’t hold back. When you walked into the space you were quickly transported to a magical place.  Of course, a street experience wouldn’t be complete without a saxophonist, photo booth or great tunes.  Even some “noodling” t-shirts were designed. The Golden Noodle Best Booth Design was taken home by Behind The Bash.

The atmosphere was a joint effort and brought to you by:

Kat Creech Events:  Event Planning & Logo Design
Adams + Green Entertainment: Saxophonist
BrandITBrandits: Media Relations and Awards
DJones Photography:  photo credit
Dream Bouquet:  Floral
E & J Gallo:  Pre Reception Cocktails
Elegant Beginnings:  Chairs and Stage Drape
The Houstonian Hotel:  Party Favors
Image Cinema:  Photo Booth
Impressive Events:  Lighting, AV, DJ, MC
MDI Video:  Live Video Feed
Party Cloths:  Linen
Prestigious Event Rentals:  Tables
Scott Brown Media Group:  Booth Drape
Your Green 2 Go:  Biodegradable Plates and Utensils



See you at the 2nd Annual.  Bring it.

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