By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 09, 2017 at 5:01 PM

Are you the guardian of a tater tot casserole recipe that no one can resist?

If so, you might want to get your recipe ready for the second annual Turned Out for Tots Tater Tot Casserole Cook-off at Wayward Kitchen & Bar, 1407 S. 1st St. in Walker’s Point.

The event, which takes place on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. features an afternoon of fun that includes food and drink specials, prizes, an art supply drive and public voting for the best tater tot casserole recipes in the city. The event is free and open to the public.

Megan Mason, co-owner of Wayward Kitchen, says the event was inspired by the passion people have for their tater tot casseroles.

"Neither of us grew up eating tater tot casserole and were surprised to find out that most families have their own spin on it," she says. "Some people are downright passionate about it. Everybody does chili cook offs so we wanted to do something different. So, we got a bunch of our goofball friends together, both professionals and home cooks, and the event was born. It’s something fun in February when its cold and nothing is going on."


Rules? There ain’t no stinkin’ rules. But, there are a few instructions that will make entering the contest easier.

First, pick up a 9x13-inch pan from Wayward Kitchen (this ensures your dish will fit into the chafing pans at the restaurant and can be kept warm during the event). Then, head home and make a kick-butt recipe featuring tater tots. Finally, bring your dish to Wayward by 1 p.m. on the day of the event. The contest is open to home cooks, professional chefs and virtually anyone who can cook up a delicious dish using tater tots.

Recipes will be sampled by attendees at the event, each of whom can vote for his or her favorite. Last year’s winner was Katie Ascher, whose tater tot creation won by a landslide and earned her bragging rights as Tater Tot Queen.

Art supply drive

Whether or not you bring a casserole to the event is up to you. But, An art supply drive for the El Puente High School art program will also take place at the event, during which customers can donate brushes, sketchbooks, pencils, canvases, journals and other art supplies. For every item donated, individuals will be entered to win a host of great prizes, including neighborhood brewery tours and swag, gift certificates to local salons, and a certificate good for the brunch mimosa bar at Wayward.

El Puente will also be selling raffle tickets for $10 each which qualify entrants to win four-day passes to Disney World Parks as well as $5 tickets to win a Harley for a day. Tickets for the raffle can be purchased at Wayward Kitchen now through the day of the event.

"Many of the charitable drives we have done are for immediate needs like food and personal products," notes Mason. "But, we wanted to do something that would give to a creative outlet. Lynn Kliostine, director and co-founder of El Puente High School, is a guest and friend and this drive is the perfect fit for her art department."

For more information about the event, contact Wayward Kitchen at (414) 763-1191.

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.