Contest aims to find next hot 'foodpreneur'

May 16, 2012
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It seems fitting that “foodpreneurship” is heating up nationwide. After all, where there’s smoke …

In this case, the fire is in the kitchen—lit by countless entrepreneurs looking to find a recipe for business success. Consider the explosion of food trucks and farmers’ markets, burger bars and brewery bites. Economic woes or not, people have to eat.

As IBJ reported last month, Indiana has joined about two dozen other states in allowing home-based food vendors to sell certain products with minimal state oversight, making it easier—and less expensive—for would-be entrepreneurs to explore the marketplace.

Now local food-business incubator Indy’s Kitchen is teaming up with equipment supplier Reliable Water Services to sponsor the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge. About 60 aspiring entrepreneurs entered the regional competition, which will award prizes worth $3,500 to the winner.

Finalists will participate in a June 19 showdown at Indy’s Kitchen, which rents space in its Central Avenue commercial kitchen to food businesses of all kinds. The top competitors also will be invited to show off their products at the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s June 20 SchmoozaPalooza event at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where attendees will choose a “People’s Choice” winner.

Indianapolis resident Becky Eaton is excited to be one of the four judges. A foodpreneur herself, Eaton launched Becky’s Healthy Kitchen part-time early last year and says interest in her healthy cooking classes has been encouraging. She's eager to help others find their niche, even if it means more competition for her.

“People are coming up with good ideas all the time,” she said, but financing them can be a challenge—particularly for food-related businesses.

So the $2,500 in seed money that comes with the grand prize (along with a $500 gift certificate for professional cookware and $500 worth of consulting and commercial kitchen time) is a big draw, she said.

“We are so excited to help local entrepreneurs who have an innovative food-business idea but need resources to get started,” Reliable Water President Lynne Robinson said in a prepared statement.  “It’s very gratifying to know we can help kick-start someone’s culinary dream.”

The Milwaukee-based company, which provides water heaters, boilers and water softeners to commercial enterprises including restaurants, has a service center in Indianapolis.

Joining Eaton on the judging panel: Ian Kille, executive chef at MCL Restaurant & Bakery; Emory Constanios, executive chef at Hilton Indianapolis North; and Jan Chronic of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.


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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

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  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.