Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Final Judging Event on July 23
Learn about (and taste) unique culinary treats by local entrepreneurs.
The Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College, Reliable Water Service and Food and Beverage Wisconsin (FaB Wisconsin), is a culinary-focused regional competition that invites talented cooks with an inspired food or beverage business concept or early stage business to compete for a chance to become Wisconsin next great food entrepreneur.
This year’s fourth annual contest features a start-up category for those with a brand new food business idea and an early stage category for food entrepreneurs who have already launched but are looking for help to get to the next level. The grand prize for each category includes $2,000 in seed money, tuition for a three-credit course at MATC, a private advisory council meeting with food industry executives from FaB Wisconsin, a commercial kitchen and consultation service from MKE Kitchen and a prize package filled with equipment and supplies valued at $400.
On Thursday, July 23 from noon-3 p.m. at MATC Education Center at Walker’s Square the top three finalists from each category will compete in a Food Network-style judging event, featuring culinary experts Kurt Fogle of SURG Restaurant group; Jan Kelly of Meritage restaurant; Peter Gottsacker of Wixon Seasonings & Flavor Systems; Lynn Sbonik of Beans & Barley; Nick Mass of Agave Loco LLC (Rumchata); Jenniefer Marino of Angelic Bakehouse; and Rekesh Rehan of Café India.
Start-up finalists include:
- Oconomowoc resident Karen Allen’s business The Raw Conformist, which produces nutritious desserts and snacks created with a unique blend of organic, gluten-free raw ingredients such as nuts, cacao and Madagascar vanilla.
- Glendale resident Robert Holton’s business Milwaukee Craft Brew Vinegar, which ferments craft beers into completely unique malt vinegars, from a saison-style which ages into champagne-like vinegar to a maple bock aged to almost balsamic-like finish.
- Milwaukee’s Pedro Tejada’s food truck Pedro’s South American Empanadas, which sells homemade empanadas in flavor combinations such as potato chorizo and aged cheddar, ramp cauliflower chickpea curry and Peruvian chili chicken.
Early Stage finalists include:
- Milwaukee resident Jennifer Grundy’s business 5 Lilies, which creates locally sourced and organic small-batch preserves, with flavors including Blueberry Lavender Peach, Blushing Berry and Pear Citrus Ginger.
- Elm Grove resident Susan Knutson’s business The Naked Baker, LLC, which produces frozen, all-natural gourmet cookie dough free of preservatives, artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils.
- Hales Corners resident Jessica Williamson’s business Cream City Casseroles, Milwaukee’s only casserole delivery service featuring comfort-food classics such as chicken and biscuits, shepherd’s pie and pizza casserole. Meals are delivered fully cooked and cold, ready to pop in the oven, fridge or freezer.
The event is open to the public and will be held Thursday, July 23, noon-3 p.m. at MATC Education Center at Walker’s Square (816 West National Avenue). Guests will have the opportunity to taste the entries, learn about the finalists’ marketing plans and vote for their favorite finalists in the People’s Choice competition. There will also be a chance to win food-related prizes and enjoy various hot and cold appetizers made by the students and faculty of MATC’s culinary arts program.