Meet our 2016 “Chopped” Contestants

Brian and Maegan Sonksen

IMG_4519_zpsc1ab6ee1Brian and Maegan Sonksen are two time “Chopped” winners.

Brian is from Waterloo and studied Studio Art at UNI.  In high school he worked at Bonanza and found he enjoyed cooking.  He and Maegen feel that food is art which makes them unique competitors in our Chopped contest.  Brian has spent many years as an Executive Chef for Barmuda restaurants and was also the Executive Chef at Prairie Hills here in Independence.  Brian and Maegen live in Independence with their daughter Emelia and a new baby coming in about a month…hopefully not during BrewBQ!

Tad Bartels and Lewis Meyermann

Tad is currently a cook at Rastrelli’s Restaurant in Clinton, IA and a sales associate at Clinton ACE Hardware. In the fall he will be attending Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids to major in Culinary Arts.  Tad has had plenty of experience cooking on and selling Traeger grills while working at ACE Hardware, and even owns one himself. He was introduced to the world of BBQ at a young age by his uncle. With Tad’s learned skills and creativity when it comes to food, he has turned himself into a pitmaster at the young age of 19.  Someday, he would like to start a catering business based around BBQ.

Lewis Meyermann is a cook at McKinley Street Taverne in Clinton, IA.   Lewis and Tad have been friends since early childhood and have taken culinary classes together.  Lewis has helped Tad in BBQ contests in the past and is a great assistant doing the sidekick jobs.  Lewis is learning as he goes and both will bring youthful energy to the competition.

Roger Barloon and Ron Coenen

Roger and Ron took the trophy in 2015 and are ready to go for a second win.  Ron and Roger were college roommates shared their common interest in cooking and have been cooking together for 30 years.  Roger is the high school vocal director at Independence Junior Senior High School  and Ron is an IT guy in Waterloo.

Dan Ankrum and WG

Chef Dan was born and raised here in Iowa.  He was heavily influenced by my grandmothers who both cooked professionally.  After about 8 years in the kitchen he attended Le Cordon Bleu, came back to Iowa starting a catering and pop up company.  Currently, Dan is the Chef at Singlespeed Brewing.  Dan is also an avid triathlete.

WG was raised in Waterloo, and has a heavy interest in cocktails and Italian cuisine. He has managed several bar programs and currently works at Singlespeed Brewing as a do everything man. WG a conservationist by trade.


Make sure to check out these amazing chefs during the Traeger Most Excellent Grilling Contest: Chopped Edition on Saturday, August 27 from Noon – 2 p.m. at Riverwalk Parks!

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