It's all going down on Saturday, June 25, at The Vintage 45 in downtown Phoenix, and as we gear up for the big day, we're introducing you to the kick-ass sweets makers participating in the event. These talented folks will be dishing up their best treats at the event.
Today, we ask them, "What do you think will be the next big pastry trend?"
LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market
LaDawn Driscoll is Head Pastry Wizard at Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert. An Arizona native, she's dedicated to bringing world-class pastry to the Valley, using fresh local ingredients in unique ways. In her spare time, Driscoll is an avid backyard gardener, beer drinker, book reader, and cheese enthusiast.
"High-end marijuana edibles. I think as more states legalize there will be a huge opportunity for pastry chefs to elevate edibles to an art form. Barring that ... I'm sure Dominique Ansel is working on a deep-fried frozen brioche waffle s'mores ice cream muffin or something that will take the world by storm. Hey, I should try that."
After a former career teaching French and ESL at several universities, Tracy Dempsey decided to switch gears and delve into the world of the culinary arts. Her early career found her working in some of the Valley’s best restaurants, and in 2009, Dempsey decided to try her hand at her own business. Today, her desserts are found on the menus of local dining establishments including Citizen Public House, The Gladly, Nook Arcadia, Nook Downtown, Crudo, The Stockyards, and Peixoto Coffee.
"As boring as it sounds, I think we are looking at a resurgence in familiar classics with a new perspective/twist. It’s an election year and a bizarre one at that — who won’t seek a new expression of cozy sticky toffee pudding or a warm-from-the-oven fruit cobbler? Or a calming bourbon for that matter?"
Brian Archibald of Boulders Resort & Spa
Brian Archibald is the Executive Chef for the Boulders Resort & Spa. An 18-year veteran in the culinary arts and a Food Network Beat Bobby Flay winner, Archibald earlier held the positions including Executive Chef at The Graduate, a boutique hotel in Tempe, and Executive Chef at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown.
"For bakeries out west, artisan bagel shops. Getting back to hand-crafted bagels. They've always been hot on the East Coast, but out here have lagged."
A Gilbert resident for more than 25 years, Clarissa Robinson is pastry chef for Gio Osso's Virtu and Nico restaurants. She creates a constantly evolving dessert menu of locally sourced ingredients and is also a mother of two crazy kids who enjoys traveling or just relaxing at home with her husband.
"I think the next big pastry trend will be anything with pate a choux, over-the-top cream puffs, extravagant croquembouche cakes that will come in a wide variety of different and unique flavors."
Tonya Saidi of Mamma Toledo's
Tonya Saidi is a self-taught pie specialist and owner of Mamma Toledo's Pie Truck and The Pie Hole.
In October 2011, she debuted Mamma Toledo's at the first-ever food-truck festival in Phoenix, and in 2013 opened a shared space with Short Leash Hot Dogs, but has since moved into her own space in downtown Phoenix.
"The piecaken. It is a pie baked inside of a cake. I made a coconut cream cake with a key lime pie inside for a friend's birthday and it was ridiculously delicious!"
Celine Feezell of Beignet Babe
Celine Feezell is originally from Panama City, Florida, and has been in the culinary industry for six years. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Feezell has a family history of chefs from Nice, France. She has a love for people and sweets and couldn't think of a better way to serve the world than giving them beignets stuffed with love.
"The next big pastry trend will be hybrids. Everywhere you turn, you are seeing someone try to put two desserts together; for example, my tiramisu beignet that I will be serving at Sips and Sweets."
Lindsey Magee of Ollie Vaughn's
Lindsey Magee is the proud owner of Ollie Vaughn's Kitchen and Bakery, located in the historic Coronado neighborhood. Her dream of having a neighborhood cafe, where family and community can commune, was realized in 2014. The shop continues to grow, offering breakfast, lunch, espresso, and plenty of yummy sweets.
"I'm not sure about trends. I think people are always delighted by things that remind them of childhood. My approach to baking has always been to take my favorite childhood treats to the next level. Whether it's filling oatmeal pies with real vanilla buttercream or smothering a peanut-butter cookie in raspberry jelly, I want to be 8 years old again."
Virginia Senior, owner and executive chef at Urban Beans, approaches food artfully with flavors, textures, and visual presentation combining for a stellar result.
"Vegan. Vegan pastries are just coming into their own. I think you will see more and more creative and compassionate sweets without the need for traditional dairy products. For so many reasons, people want less dairy products, but all the flavors they love!"
Lisa Levinson of The Bakery PHX
Lisa Levinson has been working in the pastry industry for the past eight years. She started her career in kitchens around Arizona, later branching out on her own at local farmers markets. Two years ago, she opened her own bakery, The Bakery PHX, and most recently, she partnered with the Shake Shack to be the featured local baker in their Arizona Shacks.
"I think the big pastry trend right now is the ice-cream sandwich. At The Bakery, we have hopped on this trend in a big way! There is nothing better than choosing two of our 'ooey-gooey' cookies and slapping a big scoop of ice cream between them. Yum!"
Adam Allison of SuperFarm SuperTruck
Adam Allison is a street food chef who owned the Frank and United Steaks of Cheese food trucks and is currently running the SuperFarm food truck. He focuses on using local, quality ingredients in a street-style format without losing the integrity of the dish.
"I think the next pastry trend will be finding ways to incorporate savory components that you wouldn't think belongs, but does. Or milkshakes."
After a brief three-year stint baking for a vegan diner in Brooklyn, New York, Jen Porter moved back to her hometown of Phoenix. One friend recommendation later, she ended up at The Coronado, baking her heart out for lovers of vegan pastries in a city where they aren't all that common.
"In a world of crazy pastry combinations and ultimate fat-kid dreams constantly being fulfilled, I just want quality, melt-in-your-mouth cookies to make a comeback, in flavors beyond chocolate chip, oatmeal, or peanut butter."
Chef Julie Moreno, mother of six, is always looking for new and innovative sweet and savory dishes for her all-scratch bakery and cafe. Being a Phoenix native, she tries to incorporate local foods and get involved with local charities. Pastries are her main passion but her love for savory is always present.
"I think always evolving and mixing unique flavors, like making a savory ingredient work in a sweet. Things that are unexpected!"
Audrey Enriquez of Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
Growing up in Prescott Valley, Audrey Enriquez spent a lot of time watching her parents cook and entertain. Once she started baking, she fell in love with the craft, and knew it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She and her parents moved to Phoenix so she could attend Le Cordon Bleu, and the rest is history. To this day, they remain her biggest supporters.
"The next pastry trend I see starting up is the high-end éclair. Pastry chefs all over the world seem to be reinventing this old classic."
Jim & Mauren Elitzak of Zak's Chocolate
Zak’s Chocolate combines the art and craft of all things chocolate. Like most chocolate shops, the owners, Maureen and Jim Elitzak, are chocolatiers, though they are also chocolate makers (making their own chocolate starting with cocoa beans). The story of Zak’s started when Maureen began making chocolates as a hobby at home, though today, Jim is the primary chocolate maker, roasting and grinding cocoa beans to make Zak’s chocolate. Maureen is the primary chocolatier, creating beautiful pieces in ever-evolving flavors that run from Simply Chocolate to Earl Grey Lavender.
"Because our focus is on chocolate, we tend to think more in terms of promoting interesting culinary uses for chocolate and the cocoa bean itself. There are so many varieties of cocoa beans with interesting flavors, running from fruity to nutty to spicy to earthy. For example, we offer a brownie flight that has three brownies that we bake with cocoa powder we press ourselves from three different varieties of cocoa bean. They each taste so different, yet they are all brownies made with the same recipe. There are also many ways to use cocoa nibs (the “meat” of the bean) as an ingredient in foods and beverages."
Holly Heizenrader grew up in the family restaurant business, where she developed a passion for cooking and baking. As a child, she watched culinary masterpieces prepared from scratch and as a result, started experimenting in the kitchen when she was 5 years old. She lived in Paris for a year, which sparked her interest in pastries. Upon returning to the United States, she developed MacAlpine’s pie recipes in collaboration with an Amish baker.
"You never know … It could be pie pops."
New Times' Sips and Sweets will be held at The Vintage 45 on Saturday, June 25 from 3 to 6 p.m. General admission tickets cost $25 in advance or $35 at the door and include entry; unlimited sweets samples; 10 samples of cocktails, beer, and wine; and access to the handcrafted vendor village.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Sips and Sweets website.