By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Apr 15, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Even if you're paying close attention, it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest in food news here in Milwaukee. So here's a taste of what's new and notable – with news about a contest for food entrepreneurs, news from Pizza Man, an anniversary celebration for Pizzeria Piccola, a cheese dinner and a charcuterie competition.

Got a great food idea?  You might be the next Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur
Thanks to the support provided by the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur competition, 2012 winner Bree Schumacher effectively launched her line of healthful family-friendly products, Busy Bree’s kale-based dinner starters, to grocery stores across the Midwest.  

This year, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Reliable Water Services are joining forces again to launch the second Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, a regional contest to find the next great food entrepreneur.

In addition to the adult category, this year Wisconsin teens ages 14-18 are invited to enter for a chance to kick-start their culinary dream career.  

Adult entries are eligible to win $2,500 in seed money, a business consultation package from MATC and FaB Milwaukee and set of professional cookware from Boelter.  Teen winners will receive a $1,000 MATC scholarship, $500 in seed money from Reliable Water Services and a set of professional cookware. 

Both adult and teen aspiring chefs and home cooks throughout Wisconsin can enter at by submitting a short application and a photo of their recipe or product concept. Entry deadline is May 17. 

Pizza Man Inches Closer to Opening
As Pizza Man prepares for its re-opening in June on the corner of Downer and Belleview on the East Side, it announced the hiring of Heather Korte as general manager.

Korte has worked at some of Milwaukee’s finest establishments including The Pfister Hotel’s Blu, Trocadero and Osteria del Mondo. Korte became a Level II Certified Sommelier in 2009, applying her expertise for two years in her position of Sommelier at American Club in Kohler.

Recently Korte worked for two years as an assistant manager and sommelier at Mason Street Grill, where she was responsible for writing a wine program that brought Mason Street Grill its first ever Wine Spectator Award for Excellence.  That’s a very good thing, since Pizza Man will have 150 to 200 wines available by the glass.

Korte is intent to keep the traditional Pizza Man experience intact, proclaiming, "I am excited to invoke memories of the original and beloved location while bringing Pizza Man into a new decade.  I just want to make sure that the other fans of the restaurant feel that this is as genuine and unique as the first Pizza Man!"

Speaking of pizza…
Bartolotta’s Pizzeria Piccola turns 10 years old on Sunday, April 21!  In celebration, they’re going to be giving away plenty of pizza to fans. During the week of April 15-19, balloons will fall on one lucky guest, and that person will win free pizza from Pizzeria Piccola for a year. It’s anyone’s guess as to when they will drop! The prize will amount to one pizza per week for 52 consecutive weeks. On April 21, the first 100 guests at Piccola will receive a free slice of pizza, beginning when the restaurant opens at 11 a.m.  Visit to learn more.

Experience Wisconsin cheese
La Merenda will host its second Annual Local Cheese Dinner featuring three Wisconsin cheesemakers on Thursday, April 25. The five-course dinner will incorporate cheese from Marieke Penterman of Holland’s Family Cheese, Katie Hedrich of LaClare Farm and Ron Henningfeld of Clock Shadow Creamery.   The dinner, which begins at 6 p.m., will feature five courses, with each course highlighting a specific cheese. Cheeses will also be available to sample right before each course, so the customer can experience what the cheese tastes like on its own. Tickets are $60. If you are interested in attending, or would like more information, please contact La Merenda at (414) 389-0125.

Vote for your favorite charcuterie
Love charcuterie, cheese, and spirits?  Then you’re going to want to head over to Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia St., on Monday, April 22 for a tasting event like no other.

At 4:30 p.m. enjoy a distillery tour.  At 6 p.m., sample charcuterie made by American Culinary Federation chefs, taste cheese from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and enjoy locally distilled spirits from Great Lakes. Small plate appetizers and refreshments will also be provided by Shully’s Catering.  Attendees will vote for their favorite charcuterie.

Cost is $40 per person for the tasting and tour.  Make reservations by contacting

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.