Photo: Dominique Ansel/Instagram
With great dessert mashups comes great controversy. At least that’s our takeaway from the latest kerfuffle to swirl around pastry chef Dominique Ansel, creator of the cronut and, most recently, the Waffogato.
The centerpiece of Ansel’s Waffogato at first blush looks like a waffle, but it isn’t: It’s a dessert of vanilla ice cream, tapioca balls, and bits of Belgian waffle molded into a waffle shape, over which maple syrup–infused espresso is poured. It debuted in late April at a charity fundraiser for Share Our Strength, which combats childhood hunger.
That’s when the trouble started.
"It’s an incredibly blatant ripoff of a collaboration nearly two years ago by the tenants of the SoCo Collection here in Costa Mesa, California," writes OC Weekly blogger Dave Lieberman. ”[The Wafflegato] was a mix of gelato from N’Ice Cream; Dauphinoise, honey and almond from the Cheese Shop at the Mix; espresso from Portola Coffee Lab; smoked sea salt from Savory Spice Shop; and an extra-crisp waffle from the Iron Press … Shame on you, Ansel.”
Them’s fightin’ words. But let’s get one thing straight. The Wafflegato looks nothing like the Waffogato. The Wafflegato, in fact, looks like an affogato (ice cream with espresso poured over it) with a hunk of waffle sticking out of it.
Photo credit: Portola Coffee
And Ansel isn’t giving it much of a second thought.
"The two desserts are different, but both have the same inspiration. And that’s fine. I never claimed to be the first person to be inspired by waffles and affogato," Ansel emailed us. "My dessert was something that I interpreted to support Taste of the Nation and the No Kid Hungry Campaign. And I wish the same amount of attention that is being placed [on] ‘who was the first to make a dessert inspired by coffee and waffles’ were being directed to the more important issue of child hunger.”
BOOM. Waffogato-gate, shut down.