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Wisconsin Challenge 2016

Wisconsin’s 2016 Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge


This year’s top food business concepts for the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge brought a sense of history, family heritage and culture to the table.  At the 5th Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge finals at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s 6th St. Bakery & Cafe on July 20th, guests rubbed elbows with industry experts, other foodies and our panel of judges – some of the region’s finest chefs, restaurateurs and manufacturers. The audience voted for a People’s Choice favorite after tasting finalists’ samples and listening to their presentations.

Here are the results:


Grand Prize, Startup


Amber Frymark, Zwitchel Craft Cocktail Syrup

Biz concept: A gourmet cocktail syrup incorporating switchel, a drink made with water, vinegar and ginger which originated in Caribbean and became popular in the American colonies in the 18th century. Natural, vegan, gluten free, this non-alcoholic syrup takes cocktails to a whole new level or combines well with ginger-based craft soda. Goal is to distribute via local bars and restaurants.

People’s Choice Favorite

Barkha Limbu Daily, Aachar Dipping Sauce, Pickle or Relish

Biz concept: Aachar, the Hindi word for pickle, is translated into a new line of dips, sauces and relishes incorporating fruits and vegetables. These gluten-free aachars (dipping sauces) have multiple uses from sauce base for other dishes, marinades, or slow cooking. Goal is to sell via grocery and special stores.

Lora Murray, Sinful Whoopie

Biz concept: A sweet or savory recipe of German/Polish heritage that incorporates local beer, cheeses and spices.  Goal is to start a local dessert ‘bus’ featuring a variety of whoopie flavors including Red Velvet made with a cherry stout beer, Triple to Die for Chocolate Whoopie, Carrot Cake Whoopie with Cream Cheese, and a savory Corn and Cheese Whoopie made with fresh, grilled corn.


Stephen Glazer, Stuffed Pierogis

A recently launched food truck specializing in the Polish staple pierogi. Using a family recipe, Stephen and his wife Gosia make a wide variety of seasonal flavors including potato and cheese, mushroom and sauerkraut, braised short rib, chorizo and corn, and biscoff cookie spread for dessert. Goal is to ultimately purchase or lease larger manufacturing space as well as to sell their product in stores.

Laurie Pedersen, Moondance Michelada Mix

A concentrate mix crafted with a blend of seasonings, spices and lime juice to create the perfect Michelada. The mix also serves well in other cocktails, and as a marinade or cooking sauce. The Michelada originated in Mexico and is extremely popular there and in border states. Laurie hopes to make them just as popular here in the Midwest. Current goal is to establish relationships with quality distributors and sales brokers to expand product distribution.

Grand Prize and People’s Choice Favorite, Early Stage

Linnea Harrington, Linnea’s Pops & Lickers

Handcrafted and spirited frozen treats. Every Pop and Licker is handcrafted using only the freshest ingredients and with a good time in mind. Pops=Virgin, Lickers=Alcohol. Seasonal flavors include Strawberry Basil Lemonade & Jalapeño Peach Margarita for summer and Spiced Cranberry Orange for fall. Launched in summer 2014, the goal is to resolve packaging issues and take manufacturing to the next level.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive $2,000 in seed money from Reliable Water Services, tuition for a 3-credit course at MATC during the 2016-17 school year, a private one-on-one coaching session with FaB Wisconsin‘s director of industry growth, a one-year membership in FaB, a booth at the 2017 Midwest Foodservice Expo and a commercial cookware package from Fein Brothers.

Challenge Judges:

Event Emcee

Lori Fredrich, food and dining writer for and Burp! Blog; founder of MKEfoodies