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Wisconsin Cooks Invited to Take Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge
Friday, May 16, is entry deadline

April 2, 2014

Inspired cooks with an innovative 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 and by Reliable Water Services, a statewide provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and water softeners. 

This year’s contest features two categories: one for start-ups who have a brand new food business idea and a new category for early stage food entrepreneurs who have already launched but are looking for some help to get to the next level. Beginning April 2, 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 to start their business 
  • Comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC 
  • Private meeting with food industry executives serving on FaB Milwaukee’s advisory council 
  • Funding and growth consultation with financial specialists at MW Growth Partners

Finalists will be selected in late May to participate in a final judging event on Thursday, July 17, at MATC’s 6th Street Café, which sells specialty desserts, coffees and light lunch items and serves as a culinary lab for MATC’s baking and pastry arts and baking production students. 

“Whether you are just starting with a new concept or have already launched your food business, this contest could give you the culinary boost you need to succeed,” said Andrew Schneider, MATC bakery and pastry arts instructor and owner of Le Rêve Patisserie and Café, Wauwatosa. 

Judges for the contest include: 
  • Kurt Fogle, executive pastry chef for SURG Restaurant Group 
  • Jan Kelly, owner and chef, Meritage restaurant, Milwaukee 
  • Angela West, co-founder/publisher, Alcoholmanac Magazine 
  • Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley Deli, Market & Full Service Café 
  • Eric Olesen, co-owner and president, O&H Danish Bakery of Racine 
  • Jen Ede, publisher, Edible Milwaukee magazine 
  • Daphne Jones, owner, Glorious Malone's Fine Sausages. 
  • Rakesh (Ryan) Rehan, owner, Café India 

“Last year’s winner, Marcus Thie from Shorewood, is in the process of launching his Sauceformations line of organic sauces,” said Lynne Robinson, President of Reliable Water Services. “We can’t wait to see some of the other innovative concepts this year’s entrants bring to the table.” 

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

March 21, 2014
FOX 6 Real Milwaukee
Have a culinary dream you’d like to kick-start? Help make it happen

March 22, 2014
TODAY'S TMJ4 Live at Daybreak MATC
Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge

March 31, 2014
Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge returns

April 8, 2014
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MATC contest open to innovative food entrepreneurs