Local cook is a national recipe contest winner

Zach Wulfekuhle, manager at Fayette’s DT’s Pub and Primetime Pizza in Fayette recently found out his original recipe for Bourbon Chicken and Waffle Sliders was a winner in the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, hosted by General Mills Foodservice. Wulfekuhle will go on to compete in the grand prize contest later this month. (Megan Molseed photo) 


Local cook is a national recipe contest winner


By Meagan Molseed



“I’ve been cooking since I was young,” smiled Zach Wulfekuhle as he leaned against the counter of DT’s Pub and Primetime Pizza in Fayette.  

“I’ve had a hand in what comes out of the kitchen here, since about 16,” he continued.  “Pretty much since I was legally allowed to be cooking!” 

Never one to really call himself a ‘foodie,’ Wulfekuhle, who manages and cook’s at the local establishment that is owned by his parents, Nancy and Tim of Fayette, decided to take a leap with his kitchen-centered talent earlier this year as he entered the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, hosted by General Mills Foodservice.  

“I had always enjoyed cooking, but I never took it too seriously, until I started watching the Food Channel with my girlfriend,” Wulfekuhle laughed, referring to his longtime girlfriend, Clarissa’s fascination with the popular channel.  “She’s a Food Network addict, so on any given day we’d be watching something that channel!” 

While Wulfekuhle never doubted the tastiness and creativity of his recipe entry, Bourbon Chicken and Waffle Sliders, he was shocked to hear that he had been awarded top recipe winner for the north central region of the contest.  

“I knew it was good, but I guess I didn’t anticipate it to do this well! ” the 2008 North Fayette graduate exclaimed with a grin.  

“It was something a little outside my comfort zone, since baking was involved,” he continued.  “I’m not a baker.  Deserts and things like that aren’t really my thing.” 

Expecting the baking portion of the contest to post a challenge to his talents, Wulfekuhle decided to design his recipe by something he knew how to do well, slider sandwiches.

“Sliders are really popular right now, and it’s something I can make well,” he said.  “I settled on the chicken and waffle element when I was trying to figure out what it will be topped with, I figured waffles were a good choice.” 

Always up for a challenge, the local man opted for a unique twist on the winning recipe, adding a few ingredients to make the waffles stand out.

“I wanted to do something a little different with the waffle batter,” he explained.   

”I played around with different recipe’s a few times and finally settled on adding some peanut butter, cinnamon and vanilla,” continued Wulfekuhle.  “It took a few tries to get it right. A lot of taste tests.” 

To add a little savory to the recipe, Wulfekuhle decided to top off the fried chicken with a fried egg.  The entire slider is topped with a delicious maple-bacon-bourbon sauce.

“The egg makes it kind of a brunch meal and adds some additional protein,” said Wulfekuhle.  “Overall, I was very happy with how it turned out.”

As far as adding the award-winning slider to the menu at DT’s, Wulfekuhle said they are still in the early stages of those plans.

“It will likely be a limited time special once in awhile,” he said.  “It’s a very complicated recipe, so it’s not ideal for someone looking for speedy service.” 

As the north central region winner, Wulfekuhle will receive $5,000 as well as $1,000 to share with a local nonprofit. 

He is sharing his donation with the Fayette Heritage Fund, which puts on the annual Watermelon Days celebration.

“I wanted to keep it local,” he said with a smile.  “This community is very important to me.” 

Wulfekuhle is also in the running the grand prize to receive a $10,000 prize and $2,000 to a charity, as well as a three-day trip for two to the Food Network and Cooking Channel New York City Wine and Food Festival in New York City this fall.  

In the meantime, guests are invited to celebrate the local mans win 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 22 at DT’s Primetime Pub.  

Guests will be able to sample the winning recipe during the event.  

“It should be fun,” said Wulfekuhle.  “The contest people will be down here, it will be a whole thing!” 




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