The genesis of Rollin’ Gelato was in 2011 when co-founders, Widad and John Mueller, attended the 80th birthday in Italy of a wonderful person, Paul Magelli. Paul was one of John’s mentor in academia and life, and a dear friend who helped John through his masters and PhD studies.
During that trip to Italy in 2011, Widad and John stayed at the Alan Hotel across from the Gelato University in Bologna. While staying at the hotel, they ate gelato from the Gelato Lab — multiple times a day :-). They left Italy saying that one of them would attend the Gelato University sometime in the future.
Widad was learning how to make artisan breads when she went to Italy. She had finished her culinary arts degree in Louisville, and was working on her baking and pastry degree at Sullivan University. The trip to Italy, and experiencing the Gelato Lab, helped seed the idea of gelato making — she wanted to figure out how to make gelato that was silky and loved by patrons. Upon graduating from Sullivan in 2012, she went to work as a chef in Kalamazoo (John was hired by Western Michigan University as a professor), but kept her love for baking and pastry, as well as the idea of trying to make gelato.
Fast forward to 2015, Widad had the opportunity with her employer, Water Street Coffee Joint, to develop and make gelato. The owner of the coffee company, Mark Smutek, sent her to the Gelato University in the USA (in North Carolina). He sent Widad to training even knowing that Widad was going to be leaving the company (as John had accepted a job at California State University, Fresno).
Upon leaving Water Street in June 2016, Widad wanted to keep the family’s house in Kalamazoo as a summer home. To be able to do that, it was agreed upon between Widad and John that they had to have a source of income in Kalamazoo. After several weeks of thinking, Widad made the plunge to start a company, and a gelato food truck was a natural fit. Thus, Rollin’ Gelato, Inc was born.
[ Mark has since provided advice to Widad and the company. We are very appreciative of Mark, and love his supportive nature. We have a flavor that uses Water Street’s coffee beans — Coffee-Bourbon #joyouscollaboration ]
We started in Kalamazoo (Michigan), and currently have operations in Kalamazoo, and are exploring options in Austin (Texas) and Fresno (California).
The name of the company is called ” Rollin’ ” Gelato because the concept is built on offering the gelato via a food truck. Our first food truck is a 1976 VW Bus to serve the Kalamazoo market. We also use a VW Bug for going to the markets and making gelato deliveries.
This venture has provided Widad, a chef by education later in life (culinary arts and baking / pastry), the ability to test her creative nature with food and take her “cool” cooking skills to another level. We look to create BOLD and VIBRANT balanced flavors of gelato using local ingredients, challenging our creative skills, while exciting the taste buds of patrons.