The overall winner of this years Gelato World Championship is Italy, followed by Spain and Australia. The Team USA came in 7th in the overall classification. Fourteen countries qualified and were accepted by the organizers, but Germany withdrew on short notice.
The countries participating this year were Argentina, Australia, Chile, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay and the United States.
Gelato Team USA lead by Honolulu chef and business owner of IL Gelato Hawaii Dirk Koeppenkastrop scored first place in the ice sculpture discipline during the Gelato World Cup in Italy.
Ice carving is one of the seven elements the team has to perform during the four-day culinary competition. Koeppenkastrop, Gelato Master and Team Captain has also been successful in one of the most difficult disciplines – the Mystery Box – and secure a 3rd place for the team.
The Mystery Box requires a high level of knowledge and experience in gelato making as each team gets to pull an secret ingredient and has to make a gelato from scratch under very stringent time constraints. The jury evaluates the gelato based on timely delivery, taste, texture and creativity of the recipe.
“I am a little disappointed with the overall placement as our goal was to be under the top five” says Koeppenkastrop “but considering that the USA has really no history in gelato making, to be one of the seven best teams in the world is quite an honor”. Ice carving has a longer tradition in the USA and Chris Foltz is one of the most successful ice carvers in the world. Chris has won 17 international 1st place titles including a record setting 3 wins in a row at the International Ice Championships in Canada. His winning didn’t come unexpected.
“As the Team Captain I am very happy with our results of our young team and we will continue to pursue the podium” says Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D., UH graduate and founder and owner of IL Gelato Hawaii. The 2016 US team members participated in the competition were John S. Hui, CEPC, AAC – Team Manager – Corporate Pastry Chef – Pebble Beach Resorts – CA, Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D. – Team Captain – Maestro Gelatiere / Owner – IL Gelato, LLC – Honolulu, HI, Michele Pompei – Lead Team Pastry Chef /Partner at Lisa Dupar Catering, Tim Brown, B.A. –Team Pastry Chef – Baking & Pastry Instructor – Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI, Chris Foltz –World Champion Ice & Wood Carver – Culinary Instructor – Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, OR
The five-member team formed under the American Culinary Federation Chapter from Oregon. “The timely delivery of all elements is important in order to achieve high scores”, adds Koeppenkastrop “and we made it in all of the disciplines – that alone is a big achievement”.
Since 2006 the USA has participated in seven gelato world competitions. Gelato Team USA has received “Best Gelato Cake” award in 2006 and “Best Gelato Tub” award in 2008. Team USA received the International “Best Taste Award” and the “People’s Choice Award” in 2012. The international main sponsors for Gelato Team USA include the Italian gelato ingredient manufacturer Stella and the Italian gelato equipment manufacturer Cattabriga – both major names in the gelato making industry.
The World Gelato Championship – a highly prestigious event in the culinary industry – is held every two years as part of the International Exhibition of Artisan Gelato, Confectionery and Bakery Goods in Rimini, Italy and was held from the 22rd to 25th of January.
Each team has chosen a theme, which has to be reflected in seven different championship tests including a decorated “coppa” (sundae), gelato cake, four assorted miniature chocolate gelato cakes, an entrée serving a savory gelato, a mystery box, a center piece croccante sculpture as well as an ice sculpture, and its final presentation. In 2014 the Gelato Team USA’s theme was “Aloha Spirit” inspired by Hawaii’s own gelato maker Koeppenkastrop. The theme for 2016 was “Fire & Ice”.
The contest marked by a growing interest from around the world was streamed live in Italian and English for the duration of the event.