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Oct. 10

Oct. 10, 2017





Derek Rayment

Public + Media Relations Manager



Omaha Hospitality Hall of Fame welcomes six new inductees


 OMAHA, Neb. — The 24th annual Omaha Hospitality Hall of Fame Celebration dinner and induction ceremony will be held this Sunday, Oct. 15 at Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for the Culinary Arts, 32nd Street and Sorensen Parkway. The event will induct six new members into the Omaha Restaurant Association’s Omaha Hospitality Hall of Fame while serving as a benefit for MCC hospitality and culinary education. 


The Omaha Hospitality Hall of Fame was created to recognize achievement and significant contributions in the industry. This year’s inductees are Hap Abraham, Abraham Catering Service; Claude Hampton Jr., Absolutely Fresh Seafood Company; Haukur “Jim” Olafsson, H. Olafsson International Specialty Foods; Gary Rohwer, Heartland Beef Processing Co., PepperJax Grill and Glenn Valley Foods; and Jan and Les Schneiderman, KB Foods. 


The annual event recognizes industry professionals while providing an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to design, prepare and present the meal. Event proceeds are for the education of students at MCC. 


The event begins with a reception at 5 p.m. followed by a dinner and program at 6 p.m. at the Swanson Conference Center inside the ICA.

For ticket information, call 402-493-4739. Cost is $76.75 per person.


About the inductees:


Hap Abraham

Hap Abraham is a catering giant in Omaha. After attending the Culinary Institute of America from 1966 to 1968, he returned to Nebraska and has been with Abraham Catering Services, Inc. ever since. His company caters 500 weddings per year plus many other events. He is known for catering high profile grand openings such as the Buffet Cancer Center, Lexus of Omaha, Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Abraham Catering Services, Inc. was established in 1968. The company services six venues and has exclusive rights to cater at several additional venues. 


Claude Hampton Jr.

After paying his dues working nights and holidays at the original CafĂ© di Coppia and Oak Hills Country Club, an energy-charged Claude Hampton Jr. joined Absolutely Fresh Seafood Company. He is not only the executive chef but he is also the sales manager at Absolutely Fresh Seafood Company. In his spare time, he teaches cooking classes and coordinates lobster bakes. Hampton Jr. has been involved in the American Culinary Federation and served as a past Membership Chairman. 


Haukur “Jim” Olafsson

Jim Olafsson started an importing food business in Iceland in the 1980’s. Bringing that business to Omaha in 1985, he saw a void in quality ingredients available in the area. He made items such as caviar, smoked salmon, mushrooms, truffles and chocolates available in the Omaha market. After establishing himself, Olafsson became a primary source for Omaha’s finest chefs. Twenty years later, H. Olafsson International Specialty Foods has grown significantly and is still run by Olafsson and his wife Bjorg. They continue to work closely with Omaha’s best chefs and top restaurants, introducing them to new and exciting culinary trends.


Gary Rohwer

Gary Rohwer started in the restaurant industry in 1981 by developing and expanding the Chartroose Caboose through franchising. Rohwer also developed a unique method of slicing and portioning steak meat, which he patented. He founded Heartland Beef Processing Co. in 1989, where he sold his product “Steak-Eze” throughout the nation and internationally. Rohwer then sold the company to Advance Pierre Foods and retired in 1998. After two short years, he came out of retirement and created PepperJax Grill in 2000. Rohwer started Glenn Valley Foods in 2008 to process an improved version of Steak-Eze called Gary’s Quick Steak. Rohwer sold his PepperJax Grill franchise operations in 2016.


Jan and Les Schneiderman

Les Schneiderman started his career while in high school in 1951 as a “soda jerk” in his uncles’ business, KB Ice Cream. He spent two years in the military before returning to Omaha to work at KB Foods (Kesselman Brothers) as a sales representative. He married Jan Ricks in 1959, who later worked in the business with him along with their son Scott. KB Foods was a company that believed providing outstanding in customer service. After working his way up to president, Schneiderman ran the company until his retirement in 1998.




Metropolitan Community College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a comprehensive, public community college that offers affordable, quality education to all residents of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. Founded in 1974, MCC has the largest enrollment out of six community colleges in Nebraska and is the second largest postsecondary institution in the state. MCC serves more than 40,000 unique credit and noncredit students.