Honolulu man places in top ten in global gelato competition
You can find some of the best gelato in the world right here in Hawaii, and it's thanks to Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D., a maestro gelatiere and owner of a chain of IL Gelato stores on Oahu.
For the fourth year in a row, Koeppenkastrop was selected to be on Team USA, which completed in the 2016 Gelato World Cup in Italy. He was the only Hawaii person on that team.
This year, Koeppenkastrop chaired the team, in addition to contributing as its gelato maker. The team placed seventh overall; in separate events, it placed first in Ice Sculpture, and third place in "Mystery Box Challenge."
"It was a wonderful experience and this year we did really well. We were a little disappointed with the overall, as our goal was to be in the top five. However, looking at other nations' deliveries and 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," he tells me. The winner of this year's championship was Italy, followed by Spain and Australia.
He explains more about the Mystery Box Challenge: "It's exactly like in those Iron Chef cooking duels. In the Mystery Box Challenge, each team gets to pull an unknown ingredient and has to make a gelato from scratch. The mystery box is one of the most challenging disciplines for the gelato maker and requires a high level of knowledge and experience, as the recipe has to be developed and the gelato made in a very short amount of time."
You can taste most of Team USA's World Cup flavors at IL Gelato Bar at the Kahala Mall and at IL Gelato Café at the North Shore Market Place in Haleiwa.
The Gelato World Championship is part of the International Exhibition of Artisan Gelato, Confectionery and Bakery Goods (SIGEP) in Rimini, Italy. The 7th edition of the Championships took place from January 22-25.