Sixteen teams came together in Chicago to compete for The Best Gelato Flavor in the Americas. A panel of expert culinary judges (30%) combined with the public vote (65%) and the opinion of the artisans competing in the event (5%) decided the outcome of the competition. The four winners will move on to compete in Rimini, Italy with winners from the other stages for the title “World’s Best Gelato Flavor.”
The artisans produced the gelato onsite in the Carpigiani Laboratory, the biggest ever created in North America, thanks to the support of Sigep-Rimini Fiera. The gelatos were displayed in the award winning IFI cabinets and were produced using the finest selection of PreGel ingredients.
Thousands of visitors witnessed “The Jury Challenge” where each team presented its signature flavor to the Technical Jury, composed of: President, Emily Ellyn, Retro Rad Chef and two-time winner of Food Network’s Cut Throat Kitchen; Chef Ben Vaughn, Author, TV Personality; Chef Mario Rizzotti, Iron Chef Judge; Victoria Jordan Rodriguez, Director of Operations, James Beard House; Chef Thomas Vaccaro, C.E.P.C. C.M.B., Dean of Baking and Pastry Arts at Culinary Institute of America; Chef Tom O’Brien, Food Writer and Kendall College Faculty, Chef Siddharth Mangalore, Baking and Pastry Instructor, Kendall College; Matteo Picariello, Trade Commissioner, Italian Trade Agency; and Sam Toia, President, Illinois Restaurant Association.
Other competitions included the “Tonda Challenge” by IFI and the “Stack it High Showdown” by PreGel. All artisans tested themselves in a battle to the last scoop, using all their ability to prepare the perfect gelato cup of 100 grams (3.5-ounce). With two amazing scores of 96 grams and 101 grams, Daniela Lince Ledesma of Dolce Gelato, Antioquia – Colombia, won the Tonda Challenge and the Golden Gelato Spatula, symbol of artisan gelato mastery. There was a tie in the “Stack it High Showdown”. Linda Mercurio, Mercurio’s, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Loris Carlo de Prato, Leonardo’s Gelateria, Barre, Vermont each produced an amazing stack of 8 scoops in 20 seconds.
The Gelato World Tour, which is supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of Economic Development, as well as the Regione Emilia Romagna, is the first international traveling competition in search of the best flavors in the world. Gelato World Tour has visited nine Gelato Capitals – Rome, Valencia, Melbourne, Dubai, Austin, Berlin, Rimini, Singapore and Tokyo. The Tour is directed by Carpigiani Gelato University, the world’s most renowned school for successful gelato entrepreneurs, and Sigep – Rimini Fiera, the world’s premier artisan gelato tradeshow. Two important partners make this event possible: IFI, international leader in the manufacturing of display cases for gelaterias, and PreGel America, the world’s largest producer of ingredients for gelato, pastry and coffee shops.