By Linda Wilkins
Cooking Channel made the finalized announcement Saturday.
Julie “Vitek” Keith, a fourth-generation owner of Vitek’s BBQ, said Vitek’s loved the competition. She said she felt the Vitek’s fan base deserved the credit for helping the Gut Pak win the competition.
“It was awesome,” she said. “We are basically at the point of telling everyone thank you for voting. We feel like the customers and the fan base had to be a part of it to have that title.”
Keith said all age groups and students were involved in voting. From the elementary level to the university level, she said, everyone had to cast a vote.
Keith said she thinks the win will help increase awareness of the Gut Pak and of the restaurant. Keith said even people who live out of state helped in the competition by telling their friends about the Gut Pak.
A victory party is in the planning stages, Keith said. She said everyone would be invited.
Keith said information about the party would most likely be on Vitek’s Facebook page or show up on Twitter, @gutpak. She said a free Gut Pak giveaway might be offered as well.
The polls for the final competition closed at 4 p.m. Friday. The Gut Pak earned 15,025 votes and the Marquette from Marquette University earned 14,035 votes. The polls remained open for 48 hours. The overall competition began March 15.
Alison Sickelka, site manager for the Cooking Channel, said the competition might be repeated in the future.
She said the recipes for the 32 original dishes that were in the competition are on the Cooking Channel’s website: https://blog.cookingchanneltv.com/. She said the recipes are interpretations by the Cooking Channel’s kitchens of the real recipes.