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The Chocolate & Wine Experience
Indulge your sweet tooth with chocolate creations from some of the Valley’s best pastry chefs expertly paired with unique wines from around the world and musical entertainment from Chris Putrino. You'll feel as if you've arrived in heaven with the chocolate and wine combinations as well as the magical views from Degree 270, Talking Stick Resort's 14th floor luxury lounge.
 
Indulge your sweet tooth with chocolate creations from some of the Valley’s best pastry chefs expertly paired with unique wines from around the world and musical entertainment from Chris Putrino. You'll feel as if you've arrived in heaven with the chocolate and wine combinations as well as the magical views from Degree 270, Talking Stick Resort's 14th floor luxury lounge.
 
Event Details
Date & Time: Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Degree 270 at Talking Stick Resort
9800 E Indian Bend Rd 14th Floor, Scottsdale, AZ
Map: Map & Directions
Parking: Self-parking and valet parking available
Attire: Cocktail
Tickets: SOLD OUT - $50 per person
  All events, prices, personalities, performances, venues, dates and times subject to change without notice. No refunds or exchanges. No one under 21 will be admitted.
 
Date & Time: Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Degree 270 at Talking Stick Resort
9800 E Indian Bend Rd 14th Floor, Scottsdale, AZ
Map: Map & Directions
Parking: Self-parking and valet parking available
Attire: Cocktail
Tickets: SOLD OUT - $50 per person
  All events, prices, personalities, performances, venues, dates and times subject to change without notice. No refunds or exchanges. No one under 21 will be admitted.
 

Participating Chefs


Julia Baker
Pastry Chef & Owner
Julia Baker

Pastry Chef & Owner
Julia Baker Confections

Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

  • AZ Culinary Hall of Fame - Pastry Chef Extraordinaire

  • Culinary artist and confectioner Julia Baker started her career as a statistician, but ultimately followed her passion for food by enrolling at the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu Paris to study classical French culinary techniques.

    In 2002, Julia graduated first in her class with the Grande Diplôme de Cuisine and de Pâtisserie—the school’s highest honors for cuisine and pastry. She was granted a prestigious internship under famed Alain Ducasse protégé, Jean-Louis Nomicos, and refined her pastry skills with Sue MacMahon, famed sugar-paste flower artist and chef of The Queen Mum’s 100th birthday cake.

    Though well-versed in all areas of cuisine, Julia realized that her true passion was in creating desserts and chocolate. She moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 2004 and founded catering company Gateaux & Chocolats before starting Julia Baker Confections in 2006.

    Today, as founder, head chef and CEO of Julia Baker Confections, she focuses exclusively on luxury chocolates and custom desserts—all of which are made from scratch without any preservatives or artificial ingredients. Julia personally creates and writes every recipe and designs and constructs her legendary cakes.

    Singer/songwriter Alicia Keys has called Julia “breathtakingly talented” and she has earned her reputation as “Chocolatier to the Stars” by making her delectable chocolates for numerous celebrities, including Bono and U2, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Aniston, and Britney Spears.


    Tracy Dempsey
    Pastry Chef & Owner
    Tracy Dempsey

    Pastry Chef & Owner
    Tracy Dempsey Originals

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

  • AZ Culinary Hall of Fame - Pastry Chef Extraordinaire

  • It may well have been an Easy Bake Oven, a Christmas gift when she was 5 that started Tracy Dempsey down the path towards a career in the restaurant industry.  While cooking treats made of Play-Do might seem a dubious beginning, this interest in food and cooking at an early age was expanded with imaginary travels afforded by her mother’s Time-Life International Cuisine Cookbook series and in real travels as her father’s career in petroleum geology took the family around the Globe.  Early dining experiences ranging from street food in Singapore to home-cooked meals at Grandma’s house in Arkansas helped expose her young palate to a wide-range of ingredients, flavor combinations and techniques, and although some combinations were not fully appreciated at the time, a sense of both the differences and similarities among various cultures’ dishes was instilled in her at an early age.  

    Food and its enjoyment are always best as collaborative experiences for Tracy, and this may have been influenced by the occasions that her parents would share cooking classes prior to utilizing the newly learned techniques or recently discovered ingredients while hosting elaborate dinner parties for their friends.  By staying up late with the adults, more good food – and occasionally wine - were sampled, and perhaps more importantly for someone destined for the hospitality industry, the joy of successful entertaining was observed first-hand.  Similar dinner parties were hosted by Tracy and her husband during their time in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, and in the early days of their Valley residency, and although the occasional bash may have ended with crepes flying, food and fellowship rarely suffered.  New ingredient, sometimes ordered from as far away as New York City, or new techniques gleaned from cooking shows on PBS or various Cable Networks were often unveiled during these endeavors, and menus, guest preferences as well as notable happenings were recorded in a journal for future reference.  
     
    During the early 1990’s, Tracy and her husband moved to the Valley on an alleged temporary assignment for him at the Salt River Project as the onsite presence for an on-going research project led by the National Severe Storms Laboratory.  Tracy’s studies and progress towards a PhD in French Literature were halted, and before the “temporary” assignment became more permanent, Tracy worked a brief tenure at Santa Barbara Catering before returning to a more academic setting as an ESL teacher at ASU.  Although her time with the catering company was less than a year, it was enough to eventually blossom into a desire to leave teaching and enroll in the Scottsdale Community College Culinary Program in the Spring of 1999.  Four semesters of general studies within the culinary program to provide a broad foundation for future endeavors and graduation from SCC continued a culinary education that began with a plethora of cookbooks and low-style yet high-substance television shows such as the Great Chefs series featuring Julia Child, Marcel DeSaulniers, Jacques Torres, Justin Wilson, Ming Tsai and Natalie Dupree. 
     
    Even before graduation from SCC, Tracy gained valuable experience working as a prep cook under the tutelage of Chef-Owner Giuseppe "Pippo" Tedesco-Gueli at the Café Terrace Italian Bistro and during an externship at the Marriot Cottonwoods Resort.  The former venue provided an opportunity to learn the intricacies of making fresh pastas and Italian desserts and to become acquainted with à la minute preparation while the latter offered experience at many of the stations along the “Line” as well as opportunities to help with menu development.  Although helping meet the evening service’s rush at both of these venues had a certain exhilarating aspect, shortly after graduation from SCC, a full-time position in the Bake Shop at the Marriot Mountain Shadows Resort became open.  With a culinary certificate and favorable recommendation from Paul O’Connor the Cottonwood’s executive chef, in hand, this position was offered to Tracy and eagerly accepted as the first step towards a pasty chef position.  The Mountain Shadows had no pastry chef as such, but within a year of taking full advantage of the learning opportunities the bake shop offered while continually receiving encouragement from the Resort’s executive chef Chris Klett, Tracy was fulfilling many of the duties of the pastry chef while still the “junior” member of the bake shop crew.  
     
    Throughout the fall of 2000, a Pasty Chef position for Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn repeatedly appeared among the classified advertisements within the restaurant section and eventually Tracy answered it during her first visit to the property.  An interview led to a try-out, and as part of that, the neophyte chef, lacking any “signature” desserts per the request, produced at least one – a garam marsala pound cake with a dried fruit compote and chai tea ice cream – that pleased the executive chef Patrick Poblete enough for him to offer her the position beginning in February of 2001.  The excitement of attaining the title of Pastry Chef at a highly reputable restaurant quickly gave way to long days and nights in the fast-paced kitchen as a crash course in the Industry at the peak of a busy season ensued.  Four hundred covers on a weekend night were not uncommon, and as Pastry Chef in the Lon’s environment, Tracy was often the first in the kitchen to begin preparation for service and any parties that were scheduled and the last to leave after the final dessert of the evening was served.  
     
    A year in this environment provided more learning and experience within the Industry than a decade in a “typical” kitchen might have, and over the summer of 2002, a different venue was sought and found at Restaurant Hapa.  Although Chef-owners James & Stacy McDevitt’s cuisine at Hapa was from a different genre than Lon’s, it was an easy transition towards using Asian ingredients and creating Asian inspired desserts that complimented Hapa’s Asian fusion menu that was a Valley favorite.  A change in ownership at Restaurant Hapa during the spring of 2003 led to yet another change of venue as Tracy joined Gregory Casale at Gregory‘s World Bistro during the fall of 2003.  Once again designing a dessert program to compliment a different chef and menu was challenging, but working side-by-side and collaborating with Chef Casale made the transition smooth and transformed the challenges into rewarding opportunities.  Unfortunately Gregory’s closed much too early in Tracy’s tenure there, but after Chef Casale announced his intentions, Peter Kasperski contacted her and inquired if she’d be interested in joining his company, Spaghetti Western Productions, whose flagship restaurant is the widely acclaimed Cowboy Ciao.  After interviewing with Peter and Ciao’s executive chef Bernie Kantak, Tracy was offered the position and started her five year tenure as executive Pastry Chef which led her to creating dessert programs for a total of four Spaghetti Western Production endeavors. 
     
    In June 2009, Tracy decided to venture out on her own to pursue the dream of opening her own place. The economy suggested it wasn’t the right time for that, so she revamped and recreated her business model. The result was Tracy Dempsey Originals, a retail and wholesale desserts and confections business. Presently, her desserts may be found at Avalon, The House at Secret Garden, Citizen Public House and Crudo. Her packaged confections may be found at Smeeks, Urban Grocery, The Farm Kitchen and Dos Cabezas Winery. 


    Ella Levinson
    Pastry Chef & Owner
    Ella Levinson

    Pastry Chef & Owner
    Classic Cakes & Confections

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

  • Ella is an award winning pastry chef and has been featured on both local and national television including the WE Networks "Party Momma's", MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" and ABC’s “Good Morning America”.  She has been featured in the pages of magazines such as The Knot Weddings, Arizona Foothills Magazine, Food & Life, AZ Bride, and the likes. Ella is no stranger to the rich and famous, having made cakes for the likes of Kevin Nealon, Harrison Ford, David Spade, rock bands Nickelback, Metallica and Journey to name a few.  Her bakery Classic Cakes & Confections, which she owns with her husband Neil are proud winners of Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award two years in a row (2010-2011).  Ella has won the prestigious Miracle on 24th street gingerbread house contest two years in a row (2009-2010). 


    Peggy McNerney
    Executive Pastry Chef
    Peggy McNerney

    Executive Pastry Chef
    Orange Sky at Talking Stick

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

  • A native New Yorker, Peggy McNerney is a graduate of New York City Technical College for Hotel and Restaurant Management.  She interned at Patisserie Lanciani, an upscale café and pastry shop in Manhattan, and went on to spend the next seven years perfecting her craft in this creative establishment.  After her time in New York, Peggy was the Assistant Pastry Chef at the Chicago Hyatt Regency and was transferred with the company to Palm Springs, California.  Peggy moved to Arizona in 1990, and was employed with Louis Stevens Catering, the Sunburst Resort, and Continental Catering before joining the Casino Arizona team in 2000.  That summer, she was asked to open the Salt River location as the Pastry Chef and later offered the opportunity to open their Talking Stick Resort location in early 2010.  There, she is coordinating the bakeshop staff to produce the baked goods and pastries enjoyed by patrons throughout the casino and resort.   


    Event Sponsors


    2011 Event Photos
    2011 Event Photos
    Chocolate & Wine Experience Video
    Chocolate & Wine Experience Video
    Participating Restaurants
    Participating Restaurants


    Classic Cakes & Confections
    Classic Cakes & Confections
    Website: www.classiccakesandconfections.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Great Arizona Picnic
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

    Great Arizona Picnic Menu:
    • Cake Truffles- an assortment of our award winning bite sized cakes, enrobed in Swiss couverture chocolates - $1.50
    • Red velvet dippers- 3 of our Red Velvet mini cup cakes, served with a side of cream cheese frosting - $3.50 

  • JJ's Brownie Creations
    JJ's Brownie Creations
    Website: www.jjsbrownies.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience
     
    Menu:
    • Hand-dipped raspberry (Raspberry Kiss) brownie hearts 
    • Hand-dipped orange (La Grande Dame) brownie hearts 
    • Hand-dipped espresso and Kahlua (Mummy Mountain Mocha) brownie hearts  

  • Julia Baker Confections
    Julia Baker Confections
    Website: www.juliabakerconfections.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience
     
    Menu:
    • Dark and milk handcut chocolates
    •  Decadent red velvet cake truffles

  • Orange Sky at Talking Stick Resort
    Orange Sky at Talking Stick Resort
    Website: www.talkingstickresort.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Chef Wine Dinners
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

    Chef Wine Dinner Menu:

    The Chocolate & Wine Experience Menu:

    • Guajillo Chili Flourless Chocolate  Torte
    • Calamansi Ginger Milk Chocolate Truffles 

  • The Baker's Daughter
    The Baker's Daughter
    Website: www.thebakersdaughter.net

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience
     
    Menu:
    • Raspberries on Orange Wafers: A Base of dried oranges Dipped in chocolate with a Bavarian Cream, Raspberry Couli and Fresh Raspberries. 
    • Café & Abricotine: Mocha Panna-Cotta with Apricots, and a Mocha, Milk Chocolate and Apricot Liquor Ganache 
    • Anna's Six: Chocolate Base, then a Layer of caramel and walnuts under an almond wafer, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Ganache and a chocolate Cream.  
    • Assorted Truffles: Mint: Mint fondant and Mint ganache; Amaretto: White Chocolate Shell with Dark chocolate ganache with marzipan and Amaretto; Piment: a Fusion of Chiliand Chocolate 

  • Tracy Dempsey Originals
    Tracy Dempsey Originals
    Website: www.tracydempseyoriginals.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience
     
    Menu:
    • Truffle a la mode: truffle brownie finished with sea salt, cracked pepper ice cream and cherry compote 
    • The Original Bacon Pecan Brittle: a sample of our signature brittle 

  • Treasure Trove Toffee
    Treasure Trove Toffee
    Website: www.treasuretrovetoffee.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • Eat Drink and Be Pretty
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

    Festival Menu:

    • Handmade almond toffee

  • Wei of Chocolate
    Wei of Chocolate
    Website: www.weiofchocolate.com

    Festival Event(s):
  • The Chocolate and Wine Experience

    Menu:
    • Wei Gratitude - 65% cacao, chai spice organic dark chocolate with flower essences for taking a break
    • Wei Love - 74% cacao, chili-infused organic dark chocolate with flower essences for energy & love
    • Wei Joyful - 70% cacao, citrus-infused organic dark chocolate with flower essences for reaching your full potential
    • Cafe Wei - 68% cacao, mocha-infused organic dark chocolate with flower essences for insight & vitality
    • Wei Relaxed - 68% cacao, pure organic dark chocolate with flower essences for better rest & sleep
    • Wei Dark - 70% cacao, pure organic dark chocolate with flower essences for more joy & peace 
  • 2010 SCF Photo Gallery
    2010 SCF Photo Gallery

    Get Adobe Flash player Install latest flash player if you can't see this gallery, or click here to see the html version.

    2011 Event Photos
    2011 Event Photos
    2010 Event Photos
    2010 Event Photos
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