Who knew desserts could be so ……Creative! Kensington sits down with Innovative Indulgences’ Founder, Joe Lamondi, to discuss his unique twist on special event desserts 🙂

Event Planners are always looking for the newest most interesting thing to make a couple’s special day more exciting and personal. When we were first introduced to Joe and his delectable company we wondered how his dessert service could play a role at any special event. Now, we can’t picture an event without him and his DELICIOUS desserts! We may have gained a few pounds after gobbling up Joe’ delightful treats but we are truly satisfied with his inventive approach to the “event dessert.”
How did you into the culinary dessert industry?

I had been working in catering and event planning since I was in college, and always had a passion for being in the kitchen. I came up with the idea for a warm cookie sundae event stand based on a dessert I had been making on my own for years. Once I had the concept in place, I spent a few months playing around with different ingredients to create a great menu of unique “cookie pies.”

Thankfully, I knew lots of event planners and others in the industry, and I was able to get the name out through them and start doing events. Each event we do is more and more exposure, and a way for people to see our product.

Have you always been a culinary buff?

Yes, I have always had a knack for being in the kitchen. I am full-blooded Italian, so much of our family time is based around cooking and meals together. My grandmother and mother are both incredible chefs, and I have been learning from them for my entire life. My grandmother started me at two years old, kneading dough and mixing ingredients, so it was ingrained in me at a very early age.

Why cookies and desserts? What was the allure?

I love desserts because they are the conclusion of the meal: the last bite you will eat. That

ecstatic feeling you get when you see the waiter walk up to your table with the perfect treat- that’s what I aim to create with each and every one of our cookie pies. There is so much you can do with dessert for both taste and presentation, especially if you’re creative.

I love trying new combinations of ingredients, often times things you’ve never seen in a cookie, and then present them in a way that makes people’s eyes light up.

What is your favorite dessert invention?

In the kitchen, the giant Hobart mixer is my favorite invention. It makes what we do so much easier, since we then don’t have to mix the doughs by hand.

What “sells” the most and what are the guest’s favorite choices?

Our most popular type of cookie pie is the brownie cookie bowl. It is a cookie with the center scooped out and filled with brownie batter, then baked together. We have a Turtle Brownie Cookie Bowl which is filled with walnuts and drizzled with caramel, and a Rainbow Brownie Cookie Bowl which has M&M’s baked in.

Other popular cookie pies are the Caramel Apple, and the Cookie Inception: a chocolate chip cookie, topped with fudge, cookie dough balls, and sprinkled with cookie bits.

We also have seasonal cookies and specials that are available. Right Now we have a Maple Bacon Cookie, and Key-Lime Krunch, which is Key-lime flavored and topped with granola.

Can a couple “create” their own along with your help?

We do offer a customizable full service event stand that serves warm cookie pie sundaes or ice cream sundaes without the cookie pies. Couples can choose which cookies they want to be served, as well as which toppings they’d like available to guests.

We have 14 different types of cookies, 8 different flavors of ice cream, and over 40 toppings to choose from, including hot fudge, warm caramel, whipped cream, sprinkles, Oreo’s, Reese’s, Butterfingers, etc…

Each guest can design their very own warm cookie sundae, customized to exactly how they want it.

Do you have Gluten-Free options?

We are in the process of making a gluten-free cookie that uses almond flour as a substitute. Gluten-free is more popular than ever, so we are in the process of perfecting that before it is released.

Where do you work out of?

We have two kitchen locations: Highland Park and Chicago. We offer local delivery all around the Chicagoland area, and nationwide shipping. We also travel all over the state for catering events.

We’re hoping to open our first storefront within the next year.

What are the pros and cons of creating your own path in such a diverse industry?

Well, the main pro is of course that I can create my own desserts and release them as I please. I’m someone who likes to tinker with ingredients and put together different combinations that I think will work together and see how it turns out, so that freedom is something that I love.

It is difficult to make it in this industry, but I find my product and services to be very unique. When we are serving at events, frequently guest’s faces light up as they see our cookie pies and find out they get to design their own sundaes- that’s how I know I have a great product!

Do provide “full-service” (do you supply a staff for a wedding or event)?

Yes, we are. For events such as weddings, birthdays, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, or corporate, we offer a full service event stand that is fully staffed. We travel to your location with all our own equipment, and set-up on site.

We offer a warm cookie sundae stand that feature our cookie pies served warm, topped with ice cream, and the guest’s choice of toppings.

We also have an “Indulgent Ice Cream Stand” which features ice cream sundaes with over 40 different topping options. The toppings we offer for that stand are really fun! Toppings you have never seen on an ice cream sundae!

How can we get in contact with you?

Our website is: www.iicookies.com
Phone number is: (224) 661-3125
And e-mail is: info@iicookies.com

What is your culinary experience? Schooling, classes, etc.?
Aside from being raised in the kitchen, I began working in catering at 19; everything from cooking and baking to event planning, so I really got my feet wet in the industry with that, and have continued on that path ever since.

What is the typical price range for these delights?
For our event stand, we have two sizes of cookies: standard and mini. For the standard sized cookie sundaes, it’s $5.50 per person, which includes the cookie, ice cream, unlimited toppings, and paper goods (bowls, spoons, napkins). For minis, it’s $3.00 per person.

Pricing for the packaged cookies and party trays is available online atwww.iicookies.com.

What other fun culinary delights are you interested in?

Outside of desserts, I love to play with spices! The hotter and spicier the better! Of course as an Italian, my specialty is my marinara sauce.

Whenever I cook or bake, I like to tweak what I’m making each time I make it until it’s perfected.

Who does all the cooking in your home? Do you ever get time off or are you constantly wowing your family with delicious new creations?

I do almost all of the cooking in my house. Cooking and baking does not feel like work to me; if I could be in the kitchen for 12 hours a day, I would.

For holidays, my mom and I will do the cooking together. We tend to make twice as much food as we should, but that’s what we always do. Everyone that comes to our holiday parties takes home bags of food to go.

Happy Tasting! 🙂