Enter the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge

Apr 15th, 2016 | by Eat Drink Indy | Events, News

I know you’re out there. You’ve got that great food biz idea. And some of you need to take that idea and enter the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge. Indy has so many creative food entrepreneurs that this year’s challenge is going to be a great competition.

Anyone with a cool food or beverage business concept or early-stage business that could use a boost should enter the challenge, a regional contest to find Indiana’s next great food or beverage entrepreneur.


The competition is sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College  and by Reliable Water Services, a statewide provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and water softeners.

The challenge features a start-up category for those with a new food business idea that’s not yet in the market and an early-stage category for new businesses that have been operating five years or less.

Aspiring chefs, home cooks and early stage food entrepreneurs throughout Indiana can enter online 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
  • $1,000 scholarship from Ivy Tech Community College
  • $250 shopping spree from Zesco.com restaurant supply.
  • Two People’s Choice winners will receive $1,000 each from Shapiro’s Deli
  • An article in Edible Indy magazine

“In addition to seed money and other great prizes, the challenge offers a unique opportunity to gain advice from some of Indiana’s most successful and savvy food and beverage entrepreneurs and experts,” said chef Jeffrey Bricker, hospitality department chair/associate professor at Ivy Tech Community College.

Finalists will be selected in late May to participate in a final judging event at Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center, 2820 N. Meridian St., on Wed., June 22.  (I’ll be there again this year as emcee – even if you’re not competing, you can come watch and say hello!)

Participants at the 2015 Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge at Ivy Tech.

Participants at the 2015 Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge at Ivy Tech.

Last year’s start-up category winner, Indiana Pickle Company’s Robert Carmack, who makes beer- and spirit-infused pickles, said the push from winning helped him take the next step in his business.

“The Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge was an amazing experience that has opened so many possibilities for me,” said Carmack.

Judges for the contest include:

  • Carrie Abbott, owner, Newfangled Confections
  • Michael Joy, Chef/Director of Product Development, Park 100 Foods
  • Ian Kille, executive chef, MCL Restaurant & Bakery

Hope to see you there! — Jolene Ketzenberger

Jolene’s Blog

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Where to eat now

Hedge Row

350 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis

Sugarfire Smokehouse

24 W. Washington St., Indianapolis


Oca (inside Sun King Brewing)
135 N. College Ave., Indianapolis