'Pomo Pizzeria's Debra Giovenco Cole: Caramelpalooza Candymakers

From now through Caramelpalooza -- March 2 at Smeeks candy shop -- Chow Bella will introduce you to the 18 chefs participating in the third annual caramel tasting. Today, meet Debra Giovenco Cole of 'Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana at the Borgata in Scottsdale and That's a Wrap in Phoenix.

This Italian-American, originally from New Jersey, was recruited to Scottsdale to help open Sassi 7 years ago from New Mexico where she had been chef/owner for 10 years of Casa Fresen Bakery.

She's now the pastry chef at 'Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana where she channels her Italian heritage and her culinary wizardry to create some dazzling Italian desserts in the most petite restaurant kitchen we have ever seen. She spends her time in the kitchen at 'Pomo and part-time at That's a Wrap in Phoenix where they have a new unwrapped dinner menu.

My favorite ingredient is vanilla bean.

I became a pastry chef so that I could open a bakery.

Most people don't know that I'm Italian. I dropped my maiden name Giovenco when I took my married name Cole.

My favorite food memory growing up was (about the age of 2) watching my grandmother's hands making pasta and everything under the sun. Both sides of my family were from Italy, one side is from Naples and the other side from Sicily.

Find Debra and 17 other chefs at Caramelpalooza, Friday, March 2, from 7 til the caramel runs out, Smeeks candy store, northwest corner of Central and Camelback.

The candy makers so far...

Monica Castillo, Churn

Nutwhat's Lisa Rast

Urban Bean's Virginia Senior

Paletas Betty's Beatriz Alatorre de Hong

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