Gelato is a culinary must for starry-eyed Americans with Euros to burn on trips to Italy and elsewhere in Europe. But can this velvety smooth Italian cousin to ice cream claim its rightful spot in our local pantheon of desserts, or is it destined to remain in il purgatorio as a filler choice in old-line Italian restaurants, served in freezer-burned fruit bowls with mint garnish?
One pastry chef and store may not suffice as oracle for such questions, but Jessica Oloroso, an erudite artisan who owns and operates Black Dog Gelato, has done much in a short time to bring gelato the acclaim and patronage it deserves.
Oloroso started her own business as a supplier to local restaurants and coffee shops throughout Chicago. She left her position as pastry chef at Scylla, a Bucktown restaurant best known as the launching pad for “Top Chef”-winner Stephanie Izard, purchased ice cream machines, and set up shop in Kitchen Chicago, an artisan communal kitchen, where she began work on her techniques and unique recipes.
Oloroso echoes the drive of many start-up business owners: “I really didn’t want to have to work for anyone. I wanted to go off on my own. I honed my particular path, which is ice cream and gelato, using basic skills I picked up in school and then lots of trial and error in the kitchen. I did a lot of reading and research too.” Read the rest of this entry »