Seattle's sweet tooth is getting a blast of Asian flavors.
It’s been a little over a year since Hood Famous Bakeshop opened its brick and mortar storefront in Ballard to offer signature ube cheesecakes and desserts with an Asian touch. Its success has opened the door in Seattle for other Asian flavors like matcha, red bean, black sesame to breathe new life into commonplace desserts. Your ice cream might be black sesame, your pudding might be purple taro, your donut might be red bean, but none will be plain vanilla.
For this series of Chef Interviews, we got the scoops from three of the hottest – and chillest – dessert connoisseurs in Seattle. Each interview is stuffed with savory insights and sweet experiences. We will serve them up one bite at a time so check back for more!
Third, and final, bite: KRYSE MARTIN-MCGILL, co-owner of Central District Ice Cream Company
Husband-wife team Kryse Martin-McGill and Darren McGill brought their successful Portland based food truck venture Happy Grillmore to Seattle in 2012. This was the beginning of a journey that would lead the couple to open a catering company as well as brick and mortar chicken and waffles joint Nate’s Wings & Waffles in the Central District. The cherry on top of their food empire, Central District Ice Cream Company. Though rooted in Central District, its flavors range from Thai, to Japanese, Filipino, the Northwest and beyond.
With your many concepts, how did you decide for ice cream to be the next venture?
I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream? We have 3 kids and ice cream is a family favorite. [It’s] something we can all agree on. We love to eat and we love to create. We used to do music together, played in a couple bands. It’s how we met. Now, food is our creative outlet. Between the two of us, we never seem to run out of ideas. It’s a lot of fun.
The Central District is growing quickly. What led you to pick this neighborhood?
Nate’s Wings & Waffles started in Rainier Beach but we decided to relocate to the CD for a couple reasons. One is to be closer in and second to help a little to “de-gentrify” the neighborhood. Though we’re not from Seattle – originally coming from the Bay Area – having been here for 6 years, we are very much aware of the changes happening in this city, especially the Central District.[This trend] started long ago in the Bay Area and we wanted to be able to provide spaces for people to feel safe and welcomed rather than kept out. We try to keep our prices reasonable and affordable so that everyone is able to enjoy what we’ve created for them.
What are your favorite flavors for this month?
For the month of November, our favorites are the Fig and Prosciutto which is an Olive Oil, Basil & Fig ice cream w/ candied prosciutto, and the Chocolate Port which we did in collaboration with the Wine Station, a recently opened wine bar in Beacon Hill; same owner of The Station Coffee Shop, also POC (people of color) owned.
People are starting to get very creative with ice cream, how are you distinguishing yours from others?
We don’t necessarily try to be the best, we just try our best. It’s all we can do, right? As I’d mentioned earlier, we love to create, and we love to make people happy with what we put out there. It really is an awesome feeling. We like to put our personal touch in all that we do. So you’ll notice all the Pinoy-Asian flavors that we’ve done.
In September, we collaborated with Eighth Generation by Louie Gong. He and his team curated all the flavors for September and we brought them to life. Each month, we try to collaborate wit other small businesses or PoC-owned businesses to build along with our community and to help put both of our names out there and to take up as much space as we can.
What is the collaboration for the month of December?
For the month of December, we’ll be collaborating with our “brothers” from Lahi Seattle! We’re pretty excited about it. We can’t tell you too much about our collaboration with Lahi as yet. Our flavors change every 1st of the month. What I can tell you is that they’ll be creating at least one flavor for the month of December 2017.