Renew your subscription
 
 
Food & Dining // Food & Beverage Focus
Jo McGarry

Kenwei Chong

Owner,
La Gelateria, Cedar Street

As we head into one of your busiest periods, can you tell us what kind of seasonal gelatos we can expect to taste this year?

Lots of pumpkin crunch, eggnog, peppermint, spiced apple and spiced wine are just a few of the seasonal favorites we’re making, in addition to our regular gelato flavors.

I know you love to cook, eat and travel. Are the three all part of the same story for you? Absolutely. I traveled through Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and East India for about 15 months, and I cooked with families in their homes and even in a monastery in the hills of Myanmar. Food is an icebreaker in those situations when you don’t really know people.

Do you cook at home? Yes, love to. I do 90 percent of the cooking at home. I go through different phases. Sometimes I go back to my E&O days and re-create dishes like our corn fritters or tofu with basil. My latest kitchen gadget is an electric pressure cooker. It’s phenomenal.

What’s always in your fridge? Sambal oelek, fresh, locally made udon noodles and lots of greens.

Who’d you most like to share a pint of gelato with? I’d love to sit down with a third- or fourth-generation master gelato-maker from Italy. And there are a handful of chefs who are really fun. Oh, and there would have to be a bunch of kids. You can’t really have a gelato party without inviting kids.

Do you miss the restaurant business? Yes, but being in the gelato business gives me an opportunity to let the chef and the teacher in me come out.

What’s the main difference between gelato and ice cream? Gelato has much less air than ice cream and it’s not as fatty. The flavor in gelato comes from the fruit, and from the quality of the ingredients. There’s a huge emphasis on quality in gelato-making. Oh, and there are no artificial flavorings or additives.

Infusing local fruits into your gelato has become a trademark. What are some of your favorite fruits to use? Most of our local fruits are fabulous, but mango season is always great, and we try to get as much as we can so we can keep our prices down. My daughters and I literally drive around in my truck with 5-gallon buckets and a picker, and we stop at houses with trees. It’s a great way to spend time with my kids and show them what it’s like to work and be part of the community.

How do you decide which fruits work? Lots of trial and error and lots of tasting! When we look at new flavors, we make sure the flavors aren’t too delicate or too acidy, and they have to be fun.

MidWeek Newsletter
2013-2014 Ilima Awards
EVENTS CALENDAR
Community