MATC Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge finalists

June 26, 2013

From wisbusiness.com: “Original food biz concepts feature natural, Wisconsin ingredients” — Finalists of this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge have something in common – they all incorporate Wisconsin-made ingredients. This challenge to find Wisconsin’s next great food entrepreneur is sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Reliable Water Services a local provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and water softeners and FaB Milwaukee, an industry network for the food and beverage cluster of SE Wisconsin.

Aspiring chefs and home cooks entered by submitting a short application and photo of their concept. Finalists were selected based on the originality and viability of their concept and appearance based on an initial photo. Three finalists include:

• Andrew Bechaud– Milwaukee, Wis. – Bechaud Elixing Co., a line of handcrafted small batch beverages made with Wisconsin agricultural ingredients. Tempting flavors include Chocolate Chai Veloute and Spring Blossom Cherry Soda. His dream is to start a small production facility and sell to local upscale grocers such as Sendik’s or Whole Foods.
• Pete Cooney –Milwaukee, Wis. – Pete’s Pops – Handcrafted Ice Pops, a frozen treat made with fresh fruits and natural sugars in flavors like Strawberry Basil and Pineapple Jalapeno. Cooney wants to produce through a commercial kitchen, start selling via a push cart at local events and ultimately distribute through area grocers.
• Marcus Thie –Shorewood, Wis. –Sauceformations, a line of gluten-free and Paleo-diet friendly organic sauces for home chefs including Tomato Choka, a recipe from Trinidad packed with flavor and nutrients. He wants to launch StreetBeet, a food truck where he can promote locally grown food and showcase organic recipes featuring his sauce line.

Finalists will compete for the grand prize in a Food Network-style judging event at MATC’s student-run restaurant Cuisine located at 1015 N. 6th St on the MATC campus on Wednesday, July 31th at 3 p.m.

The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 in seed money from Reliable Water Services; a comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC; $500 of professional cookware from Boelter Superstore and a two-hour private meeting with food industry executives serving on FaB Milwaukee’s Advisory Council. Judges for the contest include:

• Jan Kelly, owner and chef, Meritage restaurant, Milwaukee
• Angela West, co-founder/publisher, Alcoholmanac Magazine, Milwaukee
• Betsy Gilmore, general manager, Bel Air Cantina/Wauwatosa
• Jack Kaestner, chef instructor for Milwaukee Area Technical College
• Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley Deli, Market & Full Service Café
• Eric Olesen, owner and president, O&H Danish Bakery of Racine
• Peter Gottsacker, president of Wixon, a manufacturer of seasonings, flavors, and technologies for the food, beverage, and meat industry.

“We were impressed with the level of creativity and passion of the many entries we received,” said contest judge Eric Olesen, owner and president of O &H Danish Bakery and council co-chair for FaB Milwaukee. “Our three finalists stood out as having concepts that would not only be delicious but also marketable in our community.”

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