By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 31, 2014 at 8:10 AM

Inspired cooks with an innovative food or beverage business concept or early stage business are once again invited to enter this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, a regional contest to find Wisconsin’s next great food entrepreneur.

The Challenge, sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College and Reliable Water Services, 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 getting 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 adult 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

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

Finalists will be selected in late May to participate in a final judging event on Thursday, July 17, at Milwaukee Area Technical College’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.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.