This is part two of our interview with pastry chef Country Velador of Super Chunk Sweets and Treats in Scottsdale. In addition to opening her own sweet shop, Velador also crafts the dessert menu for Cowboy Ciao restaurant and helps supply bread for Counter Intuitive, the grab-and-go sandwich shop that will be headed up by Cowboy Ciao's former sous chef Garrison Whiting. On Monday, we talked to Velador about how Super Chunk got its beginnings in caramel corn. You can read that part of the interview with Country Velador here.
But the Super Chunk brand has come a long way since its caramel-y beginnings. Recently, Velador began making her own black licorice candies, which she calls "black licorice for people who don't like black licorice." It's an accurate description, too. They're a softer version of the kind you're probably imagining and feature a milder flavor thanks to a well-balanced combination of anise, fennel, and green chartreuse.
Velador says she's excited to begin playing with recipes for taffy, too, with plans for unique flavors such as violet, elderflower, and lychee.
They've also begun a weekly promotion called The Dark Side of the Moon Pie, which will mean you can snag a slice of pie (perhaps even a slice of her Pie Social award-winning pie) for $5. The couple has plans for After School Special -- which Sergio describes as "happy hour for kids and kids at heart." Soon, you'll be able to swing by in the afternoons for a slice of cake and a glass of milk or non-alcoholic punch. A sort of G-rated after-work treat.
Oh, and there's that small barrel of vanilla extract she has sitting tantalizing on the shelf. In a few months, she'll be able to bottle it and sell the barrel-aged vanilla extract that made her Angel Food "Bread" Pudding such a hit. Velador says she hopes to be able to bottle her own extract in the future -- and with her track record, we have no doubt she will.
With all the plans for taffy, candies, and whatever other pet projects Velador has up her sleeve, it seems Super Chunk is poised to fill at least part of the hole left when Smeeks, the retro candy store owned by Georganne Bryant, closed last month.
The best gift you got during the holidays this year: Super Chunk!!! Actually, the garden out front was really a Christmas gift from my aunt and uncle.
Three favorite dishes to eat in Phoenix: Pollo asada at Otro Cafe, Yupha's Seafood at Yupha's Thai Kitchen, and fried chicken at Mrs. White's.
Favorite cookbook or food-related book: I pretty much taught myself how to bake on books like BakeWise and The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Core books like that will always remain my favorites.
Name one local chef you admire and why: Yupha Dequenne of Yupha's Thai Kitchen. She does it all! In the front of the house, she touches tables, serves food, answers phones. In the back of the house, she cooks, cleans, and makes her own coconut ice cream, which is amazing, with sticky rice and mango. She is very inspirational for any woman wanting to own her own restaurant.
The best thing about living in Arizona: If you can get through the summers, the weather is pretty great the other nine months of the year.
One national/international place where you want to eat this year: If I could just make it back to L.A. for some korean BBQ, I'd be a very happy girl.
The sweetest thing you've ever eaten: I've taste-tested different corn syrups back to back. That was pretty darn sweet, but a good learning experience.
Your favorite thing to eat for dessert: Chocolate cake and ice cream
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One culinary trend you want to die in 2014 and one you hope takes off: Ego and candy. (That would make a great book title!)
A piece of life advice you think everyone should follow: Never listen to rumors. Listen to your gut and move forward.
Check out our past Chef and Tell interviews with: James Porter - Petite Maison Cullen Campbell - Crudo Mel Mecinas - Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North Meagan Micozzi - Scarletta Bakes Tyson Holzheimer and Joe Strelnik - Snooze, an A.M. Eatery Paul McCabe - T. Cook's at the Royal Palms Eugenia Theodosopoulos - Essence Bakery Cafe Eddie Hantas - Hummus Xpress Jay Bogsinke - St. Francis Dustin Christofolo - Quiessence Blaise and DJ Aki - The Sushi Room Sacha Levine - Rancho Pinot and FnB Andrew Nienke - Cafe Monarch Kevin Lentz - French Grocery Aurore de Beauduy - Vogue Bistro Justin Olsen - Bink's Midtown Marco, Jinette, and Edmundo Meraz - Republica Empanada Brian Peterson - Cork Brian Webb - Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food Lester Gonzalez - Cowboy Ciao Renetto-Mario Etsitty - Tertio German Sega - Roka Akor Marco Bianco - Pizzeria Bianco Brad and Kat Moore - Short Leash Hot Dogs and Sit...Stay