Meet Eight of the Sips & Sweets 2017 Culinary Superstars, Plus Get Your Discounted Tickets Now

Kat Moore and Brad Moore of Short Leash Hotdogs and Rollover Doughnuts.
Kat Moore and Brad Moore of Short Leash Hotdogs and Rollover Doughnuts. Courtesty of Short Leash Hotdogs
Sips & Sweets 2017 is a mere week away (get your tickets here at a discounted rate of $15 per ticket from now through Saturday, while supplies last)!

This year, an all-star lineup of 10 mixologists and nearly two dozen sweets makers will be flexing their creative culinary muscles at the event. And though you probably already known many of them from their posts at top bars, restaurants, and sweet shops, we wanted to get the know these talented folks a little better before sampling their crafts on June 17.

Kat Moore and Brad Moore of Short Leash Hotdogs and Rollover Doughnuts.
Courtesty of Short Leash Hotdogs
Meet Brad and Kat Moore, Owners of Short Leash Hotdogs and Rollover Doughnuts
We started Short Leash Hotdogs and Rollover Doughnuts, because we believe in doing the things you love in life, eating well and surrounding yourself with people who make you happy. Short Leash Hotdogs and Rollover Doughnuts combine these things and allows us to work with each other. Our mission is to serve a unique twist on a classic favorite.

Our fare is simple and straightforward, with a focus on using local purveyors and natural ingredients. One of the most exciting new ingredients we discovered this year were flavored sugars like lavender sugar, which we used to make our lavender sugar doughnut. We have been having fun playing with different flavor combinations.

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Elizabeth Strimbu
Meet Elizabeth Strimbu, Owner of Salted Serenity Sweets Uncommon Caramel
I have always had a sweet tooth and enjoy creating cakes, cookies, and candy with a twist on "traditional" flavors. I experimented with several caramel recipes one holiday for handmade gifts for friends and family. After a lot of work in the kitchen, I could not find a recipe that I found extraordinary, so I created my own! Salted Serenity Sweets Uncommon Caramel was born after several caramel connoisseurs tried my Original Salted Caramel.

Two years later, I am still finding ways to incorporate my favorite obsessions (matcha tea, basil leaves, and whiskey) into an amazing tasting, melt-in-your-mouth buttery caramel. I am a huge fan of using as much local love as I can, so I try and use local ingredients whenever possible. What started off as a hobby has grown into a business with the sole purpose of making people smile, one caramel at a time.

I have always loved the dark, rich flavor of Stout beer and, this year, I combined it with dark chocolate to create a Salted Dark Chocolate Stout Caramel topped with Black Pearl Salt. It is very sophisticated!

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Courtesy of Liza Loewenhagen
Meet Liza Loewenhagen, General Manager at The Vig Fillmore Phoenix
I have been bartending for 11 years. I've worked in a variety of atmospheres: college bars, martini bars, sports bars, modern taverns. I find each one to be fun and challenging in its own way, and I have learned a new skill within each atmosphere, which I appreciate since it has helped me become a well-rounded bartender. In my opinion, though, I think Phoenix needs less fancy nightclubs and more low-key, comfortable neighborhood bars with great cocktails.

Currently, I work for Genuine Concepts as the general manager of the Vig Fillmore while still bartending weekends at one of our other concepts. I love to participate in competitions, and in the last one I participated in, I had the chance to play with agar agar for the first time. I ended up using it to make a cucumber caviar for a garnish.

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Felicia Campbell has written about food, culture, and cars for digital and print publications all over the world and is the author of The Food of Oman: Recipes and Stories from the Gateway to Arabia (Andrews McMeel, 2015). Her husband learned quickly that she’d rather get a bag of avocados than a bouquet of roses.