By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 24, 2015 at 2:32 PM

The Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge winners were announced yesterday afternoon at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s future Food Maker School at 816 West National Ave.

Of the six entrepreneurs who made it to the finals, two winners were chosen.

Susan Knutson, The Naked Baker, LLC was the grand-prize winner in the Early Stage category. The Naked Baker aims to create the ultimate cookie experience with frozen, all-natural gourmet cookie dough. Each recipe uses all natural ingredients free of preservatives, artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils.

Robert Holton, Milwaukee Craft Brew Vinegar, took home the prize in the Start-up category. Milwaukee Craft Brew Vinegar ferments craft beers into unique malt vinegars, from a saison-style which ages into a champagne-like vinegar to the richness of a maple bock aged to almost balsamic-like finish.

Grand prize winners received:

  • $2,000 in seed money from Reliable Water Services
  • Tuition for a 3-credit course at MATC during the 2015-16 academic year 
  • A private meeting with food and beverage industry executives serving on FaB Wisconsin’s advisory council and a 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 

For the first time this year, there was also a People's Choice winner in each category, selected by attendees at the event.  People's Choice winners included Robert Holton of Milwaukee Craft Brew Vinegar and Jessica Williamson of Cream City Casseroles, Milwaukee's only casserole delivery service. 

The Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur 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. Other prize sponsors include Fein Brothers and MKE Kitchen.

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.