As the chefs competing in Smeeks and Chow Bella's fourth annual Caramelpalooza -- coming 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, at UNION -- get out the candy thermometers, we've got our pens ready to introduce you to the faces behind the caramel.
The whimsy of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory isn't quite what you'll find at Tracy Dempsey's little kitchen in Tempe, but once she starts pulling out trays and trays of different types of gourmet desserts, it's clear that she's got some magic going. The few employees she has working with her absolutely adore her and it's easy to see why--she's a sweetheart.
While her confections range from mini tiramisu to chocolate pot de crème, her caramel-making repetoire includes Japanese shoyu, French fleur de sel, lavender, apple bourbon, spiced almond and chocolate. We know she'll pull out all the stops this year.
How many marshmallows can you fit in your mouth at once? Depends. How big is your marshmallow?
When I get a candy craving, I usually grab a . . . Peanut Butter Goo Goo Cluster.
Star Wars or Star Trek? Old-school Star Trek, for sure.
The best thing my mom cooks is . . . anything she sets her mind to make. She is as talented a cook as she is a quilter and painter.
When not in the kitchen, I spend most of my time . . . at my computer answering e-mails, invoicing, ordering, recipe writing, and wondering where the day went.
Is caramel coating better when drizzled or dunked? Drizzled because a soupÇon is better than a full-on.
Paddle or whisk attachment? Depends on my mood.
When I was a teenager, I had a poster of Snoopy on my wall.
My newest TV obsession is . . . The Following. It makes me want to reread Poe, Marquis de Sade, Baudelaire, etc.
I'm sick of people combining . . . bacon with chocolate.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.