The winners for this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge have been announced. They include Ed Baun in the startup category and Zachariah Rohn in the early-stage category.
Baun makes Primal Delights Kombucha, which is small batch, herbal-infused beverages made with green or black tea. Rohn’s Batch No. 2 is an artisan condiment company specializing in original mustard and catsup flavors.
The winner of the People’s Choice startup category was Robin Willis, who owns Robbybaby’s Kitchen, maker of jams and tea-infused jellies. The People’s Choice early-stage category went to Michelle Twaddell for her business, Indiana Craft Jerky.
"Every year our entrants step up their level of creativity, flavor and passion for entrepreneurship," said Brian Shapiro, owner of Shapiro’s Delicatessen and Challenge judge. "It’s always a difficult decision but we felt that Primal Delights Kombucha and Batch No. 2 had it all in terms of originality, taste and marketability."
The grand prize winners were awarded $2,000 in seed money from Reliable Water Services, $1,000 scholarship and expert consultation from Ivy Tech Community College and a $250 shopping spree from Zesco.com. People’s Choice category winners were both awarded $1,000 seed money from Shapiro’s Delicatessen, cookware from Reliable Water Services and consultation time from Ivy Tech.
Judges for the challenge included Brian Shapiro, owner of Shapiro’s Delicatessen, John Benjamin, president of operations, Scotty’s Brewhouse, Ian Kille, executive chef, MCL Restaurant & Bakery, Michael Joy, chef/director of product development, Park 100 Foods, Jennifer Rubenstein, publisher of Edible Indy and Carrie Abbott, owner, Newfangled Confections.
This year was the fourth year for the competition.