MATC finalists serve up heated competition

July 17, 2013

From jsonline.com: “MATC finalists serve up heated competition” — Do you have to pick just one?

That was my thought when I looked over the contenders for grand prize in this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Three guys are finalists in the second annual competition, which is also sponsored by Reliable Water Services and FaB Milwaukee. And each product sounds like something I’d like to try.

There’s Andrew Bechaud of Milwaukee, whose Bechaud Elixing Co. is a line of handcrafted, small-batch beverages made with Wisconsin agricultural products. Consider flavors like Chocolate Chai Veloute, Spring Blossom Cherry Soda and Citrus Saffron Horchata. He’s targeting upscale grocers.

There’s Pete Cooney and his Pete’s Pops, a line of frozen treats made with fresh fruits and natural sugars in flavors that include watermelon mint, strawberry basil and pineapple jalapeño. His goal is to start with push carts and eventually get into area stores.

And finally there’s Michael Thie of Shorewood, with Sauceformations, a line of gluten-free and Paleo diet-friendly organic sauces. His StreetBeet food truck would serve up organic recipes featuring his sauces. One such sauce: tomato choka, a Trinidad specialty.

The judges will have a tough choice to make on July 31, when the finalists make their pitches in person in the student-run restaurant, Cuisine, at MATC’s downtown campus. The judging panel includes (among others) Jan Kelly, chef-owner of Meritage restaurant, Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley market and cafe, and Eric Olesen, owner and president of O&H Danish Bakery of Racine.

The winner gets $2,500 in seed money, an entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC, $500 in professional cookware from Boelter Superstore and a two-hour private meeting with food industry executives.

 

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