Country Velador of Super Chunk Sweets and Treats on How Caramel Corn Started It All and Working in Fast Food
Lauren Saria Country Velador and husband Sergio at Super Chunk Sweets and Treats in Scottsdale.
Super Chunk Sweets and Treats
This is part one of our interview with Country Velador, owner of Super Chunk Sweets and Treats in Scottsdale and pastry chef for Cowboy Ciao. Velador opened the sweet-minded shop with her husband, Sergio, last month to sell her line of artisan desserts. You'll find her famous caramel corns, housemade ice creams, pies, and cakes -- the variety of treats will set your inner child grinning. Today we talk to the self-taught pastry chef about how she got started with Super Chunk Sweets and Treats. Be sure to come back tomorrow to find out about her plans for candies, taffy, and barrel-aged vanilla extract.
Lauren Saria Inside Super Chunk Sweets and Treats.
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You could say we're pretty big fans of pastry chef Country Velador's sweet creations around here. Just consider the fact that she won New Times' Best of Phoenix for Best Dessert last year for her rotating selection of creations at Old Town Scottsdale's Cowboy Ciao. And with luscious desserts like Angel Food "Bread" Pudding with a vanilla bean custard sauce, duck fat toffee, and mesquite chocolate chip cookies to consider, who can blame us?
Last month, Velador and husband Sergio opened their own sweet shop just around the corner from Cowboy Ciao. The new 800-square-foot shop stocks a growing selection of Velador's treats, including several flavors of her signature caramel corn, various handmade candies, ice cream, cakes, and pies.
The space, which the couple leases from Cowboy Ciao owner Peter Kasperski, used to house a jewelry shop -- and that was prior to being used a storage shed for Cowboy Ciao for the past eight years. As you can imagine, and as they'll tell you, there were a lot of renovations to be done. The couple did much of the work themselves, turning the space into a charming and bright space with patterned wallpaper, painted floor and open kitchen.
But owning a sweet shop isn't something Velador ever set out to do. She began her career in the food business as a server and working the front of the house for years before deciding she wanted to learn how things worked in the kitchen.
It was six years ago that she began as a pastry chef at Cowboy Ciao, working under another of the Valley's famous dessert makers, Tracy Dempsey. When Dempsey left -- taking her signature bacon brittle with her -- Velador was left with the challenge to create a new dessert menu.
"I really didn't even want to do a bacon treat," Velador says.
So she started making caramel corn. And before she knew it, she was selling bags of it at the restaurant. By the time she had sold 1,000 bags of her caramel corn, she knew she had hit something big. She began selling caramel corn at farmers markets, and after two seasons, the couple started to play with the idea of opening a storefront.
"Caramel corn is where it all started," she says, standing in the middle of the shop.
Lauren Saria Caramel corn