Want Some Fries With That Shake? Coolhaus Has You Covered.
Q&A with Natasha J. Case
CEO & Co-Founder of Coolhaus Ice Cream in Los Angeles
What makes Coolhaus unique?
Coolhaus is the leading certified women-owned and led ice cream brand on grocery shelves. This is very special to me—it's so important today for women to lead by example. I love mentoring the next generation.
We’re also L.A.-born and raised. That is a huge part of the Coolhaus culture, and L.A. is going through a renaissance in all things right now—in food, transportation, art, tech, real estate. So it’s an awesome time to be representing that culture.
And, of course, there's the product, which is everything. The quality is of an undeniable standard in terms of sourcing, sustainability, and over-run (25%, which as low as we can get it—it’s the densest, creamiest ice cream). The flavors are also so unique and really fun. I like to say we take what we do seriously, but not ourselves.
What is your earliest ice cream memory?
Eating delicious, decadent (massive scoops with high butterfat!) ice cream in a freshly-made waffle cone at Mad Martha's in Martha's Vineyard. It was the perfect treat in that salty, summery island air.
What is Coolhaus’s most popular offering?
Our Chocolate Chip & Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream sandwich! It shows you can do innovative and unique concepts all day, but you must also elevate the classics and deliver on them because there is always a huge expectation and massive market for that.
What is your favorite flavor?
It really depends on the day of the week and my current mood. I'm a huge fan of the vegan flavors we have in development, especially the Peanut Butter Fudge Chip and the vegan version of our Dirty Mint Chip. But if I'm going for ice cream, I'm either hitting Street Cart Churro Dough, Buttered French Toast, or Milkshake & Fries. If I'm going for a sammie, it's going to be the Birthday Cake right now, but I always crave our classics like Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Cookies & Cream. Can you see how great I am at making decisions when it comes to flavors?
What is the most unique flavor Coolhaus has ever offered?
I think Milkshake & Fries is really high up there.
Is there a flavor you loved but that didn’t find an audience?
I loved our Gin & Tonic sorbet! It had fresh lime zest and just really hit that G&T sweet/bitter/citrus element perfectly. It was really more for special events and activations than life in the scoop case; however, I definitely plan on bringing it back with a twist when my wife launches her brand Future Gin, a women-owned and full female vertical product coming in late summer/early fall.
What inspires you?
At the end of the day, it's people—my family. My wife and co-founder Freya Estreller ignites me everyday to do what I do, and it’s our 17-month-old son Remy that I’m building an ice cream empire for. I'm very lucky to have my parents, my sister, and Freya's family all living in L.A., too!
How did you learn to make ice cream?
100% self-taught. I learned on a friend's commercial grade Cuisinart, and fell in love with the creative side and process instantly. I met Freya not long afterward, and we just kept refining our process and educating ourselves about how the best product was made.
Cup or cone?
Fresh waffle cone.
What is your topping of choice?
Cocoa nibs. I love that bittersweet crunch—such great texture! Plus there are some health benefits and perks.
What’s a surprising thing you’ve learned about ice cream fans?
People really do love their classics—and we embrace that! I tell people there is no shame in Vanilla, and people really are embarrassed sometimes that they just want something simple. I tell them that Vanilla actually is one of the most complex, beautiful, and refreshing flavors you can find, and that it causes the least amount of palate fatigue, which is why you can eat it everyday and not tire of it.
Best advice you can share for those who want to get into the ice cream biz?
Do your research and really figure out your niche. Then dominate it.
Who inspires you?
Jane Wurwand, the founder of Dermalogica. She’s an incredible business woman and incredibly cool, kind person.
Any advice for making ice cream at home?
Using the freshest eggs possible, make sure to temper the yolks separately from heating the custard. And be sure not to over-churn the ice cream—it’s better a little under-churned than over-churned.
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