Phoenix Gelato Wars


8-23-14 UPDATE: Just got word about the rankings so far with only 9 days of voting to go.

Here are the rankings:

1. Justin Beckett & Jeff Schoening, Beckett’s Table – Buttermilk Pie w. Wildberry Sauce- 307 votes

2. Walter Sterling, Ocotillo (Opens Late 2014) – Vegan Coconut Chocolate Sorbet w. Smoked Almonds & Caramel- 307 votes

3. Tracy Dempsey, Tracy Dempsey Originals (2013 Gelato Wars Winner) – Camelback Crunch / White Chocolate, Roasted Pistachios, Honey Comb, Dried Apricot, Chocolate & Ganache Swirl- 283 votes

4. Keenan Bosworth, Pig & Pickle – Goat Cheese Gelato w. Carrot Cake- 279 votes

5. Gio Osso, Virtu – Honey Toasted Almond Biscotti- 258 votes

6. Josh Hebert, Posh – White Chocolate Stracciatella w. Amarena Cherry Sauce-209 votes

7. Scott Holmes, Little Miss BBQ – Smoked Banana Pudding w. Vanilla Wafers- 158 votes

8. Michael O’Dowd, Urban Vine – MOD Mole (no count provided)

9. Matt Carter, The Mission & Zinc Bistro & The House – Sweet Corn w. Truffle Honey w. Wild Blueberry sauce (no count provided)

Get out there and vote.


It’s not a real war, but there is some friendly competition and charitable cash on the line for the 2nd Annual “Gelato Wars,” a promotion dreamed up by The Gelato Spot.

Ten Valley chefs crafted a special gelato flavor to pit against each other, including reining 2013 champ, Tracy Dempsey of Tracy Dempsey Originals. The public votes with their wallet during the month of August.

Ms. Dempsey won last year’s competition with a chocolate gelato studded with vanilla bean marshmallows, coconut candied peanuts and a shoyu caramel sauce (pictured above). Will she reign supreme again this year with her new Camelback Crunch (white chocolate, roasted pistachios, honey comb, dried apricot, & chocolate ganache Swirl)?

Here’s her competition:

  • Keenan Bosworth, Pig & Pickle – Goat Cheese Gelato with Carrot Cake
  • Gio Osso, Virtu – Honey Toasted Almond Biscotti
  • Michael O’Dowd, Urban Vine – MOD Mole
  • Matt Carter, The Mission, Zinc Bistro and The House – Sweet Corn with Truffle Honey and Wild Blueberry Sauce
  • Josh Hebert, Posh – White Chocolate Stracciatella with Amarena Cherry Sauce [we loved his strawberry miso gelato last year]
  • Josh Bracher, The Second Story Liquor Bar – Sage Brown Butter and Candied Cashew [wait a second… doesn’t Second Story Liquor Bar owner Tommy Plato own The Gelato Spot? Is that a home field advantage?]
  • Justin Beckett & Jeff Schoening, Beckett’s Table – Buttermilk Pie with Wild Berry Sauce
  • Scott Holmes, Little Miss BBQ – Smoked Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers
  • Walter Sterling, Ocotillo – Vegan Coconut Chocolate Sorbet with Smoked Almonds and Caramel [ hey, NEW RESTAURANT ALERT! Ocotillo opens late 2014 in Central Phoenix. We’ve been a Sterling fan ever since he cooked at Aaron May’s Sol Y Sombra.]

Here’s how it works: the chef whose gelato flavor sells the most at all three Gelato Spots combined wins the competition. What do they win, besides bragging rights? Five hundred bucks to pocket and a $5,000 check presented to Make-A-Wish Arizona on their behalf. Pretty sweet deal.

To kick off the month-long competition, guests who buy two scoops of gelato at any of Gelato Spot location on Friday, August 1st from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. will receive a voucher for a FREE Wood Fired pizza (one per person) to be redeemed anytime from August 2nd through August 31st (at The Gelato Spot in Old Town Scottsdale only).

The 10 chef flavors will be available at the following Gelato Spot locations:

  • 3164 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602.957.8040
  • 4010 E. Greenway Rd., Phoenix, 602.494.4010
  • 4166 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480.425.8100

With temperatures averaging in the near-hades range, it shouldn’t be too hard to convince Phoenicians to buy a couple of scoops of gelato, especially for a good cause.

All the flavors sound delicious, so we’re not going to call this one just yet. But Ms. Dempsey’s Camelback Crunch does have a certain (cha-ching) ring to it.

Which flavor sounds best to you?

4 replies
  1. Dr. Bob
    Dr. Bob says:

    They all sound great. We got a preview taste of Keenan Bosworth’s goat cheese and carrot cake…and it was phenomenal.

    PS.. good old spell check ..I think it should be “will she reign supreme again…

    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Hi Debby! Thanks for the update. Should I assume you took the picture since you said it is familiar? It’s beautiful.


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