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Wisconsin Challenge Searches for Best Food/Beverage Biz Concepts
Food Entrepreneur Contest Could Be Ticket to Culinary Success

March 4, 2015

Talented cooks with an inspired food or beverage business concept or early stage business are invited to enter this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, a regional contest to find Wisconsin’s next great food entrepreneur. The Challenge is sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College, Reliable Water Services, a statewide provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and water softeners and FaB Wisconsin, the state’s food and beverage industry cluster network.

This year’s 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.

Beginning April 1, aspiring chefs, home cooks and early stage food entrepreneurs throughout Wisconsin can enter online at by submitting a short application and uploading a photo of their recipe or product concept. The site has contest rules and details.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive: 

  • $2,000 in seed money from Reliable Water Services
  • Tuition for a 3-credit course at MATC during the 2015-16 academic year 
  • Priceless private meeting with food industry executives serving on FaB Wisconsin’s advisory council 
  • One-year membership in FaB Wisconsin 
  • Commercial kitchen and consultation services from MKE Kitchen plus registration fee for Riverwest Farmer’s Market, if appropriate; total value: $1,000 
  • Prize package worth $350 from Fein Brothers Restaurant Equipment & Supplies

“Whether you are just starting with a new concept or have already launched your food business, this contest could be your ticket to culinary success,” said Brian Moran, Culinary Arts Instructor at MATC.

Finalists will be selected in late May to participate in a final judging event in July at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s future Food Maker School at the MATC Education Center at Walker’s Square.

“This contest made us think ahead to the future to consider how we will get our products in the hands of consumers. It was great exposure and a worthwhile way to learn from the experts,” said Mary Pellettieri, Co-founder of La Pavia Beverages and last year’s start-up category winner.

Judges for the contest include: 

  • Kurt Fogle, executive pastry chef for SURG Restaurant Group 
  • Jan Kelly, owner and chef, Meritage restaurant, Milwaukee 
  • Peter Gottsacker, President, Wixon Seasonings & Flavor Systems 
  • Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley Deli, Market & Full Service Café 
  • Nick Maas, premise specialist for Agave Loco LLC (RumChata, Tippy Cow brands) 
  • Jennifer Marino, owner, Angelic Bakehouse 
  • Rakesh (Ryan) Rehan, owner, Café India

“Our entrants just keep getting stronger and we are excited to see what creative concepts this year will bring,” said Lynne Robinson, President of Reliable Water Services.

For more information and to enter, visit Reliable Water Services at


Media coverage of 2015 Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge

March 16
March 22 Today's TMJ4 News Live at Daybreak
March 24 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

March 28 12 News This Morning Saturday
Edible MIlwaukee

April 6 BizTimes Milwaukee