Like a good odyssey, Adria Shimada’s culinary journey has been a winding adventure that began in Ithaca. She started off studying literature at Cornell University, which led to a year in France immersed at the University of Paris. During that formative time, she was inspired by the high cultural value placed on fresh food, the prevalence of artisan producers, and the overall French aesthetic with its acute attention to beauty and detail. (She also contends that she helped keep the Berthillon creamery in business through her personal consumption of ice cream!) That summer she had the opportunity to assist in the kitchen of an authentic farmstead inn near Toulouse, and the culinary bug took hold.
With European sensibilities and farm-to-table ethics, Adria returned to the States committed to building a career around quality living and eating. Her passion led to an internship at Amy’s bread in New York, a stint at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, work at the nationally renowned Greens restaurant, and a job as a pastry chef in the Bay Area’s celebrated La Farine bakery. For years, Adria dreamed of opening her own business. Ice cream being the best food in the world (tied only perhaps with french fries, chocolate, or a really good salade niçoise), she wanted to create an ice cream shop that embraced the same made-from-scratch integrity as that of a fine French bakery. This is no easy task in the US, where ice cream is predominantly an industrialized food, and most shops, even some that claim to be homemade, use commercially processed mixes, which are pre-fab bags of factory-made dairy goop that contain added corn syrup and/or stabilizers. Unfortunately, because it’s cheaper and easier to use industrial mixes, the frozen dessert industry supports this kind of production and perpetuates a tolerance for junk-food ice cream.
In 2006, Adria moved to the Northwest, committed to bringing true artisan ice cream to Seattle, where an appreciation for real, organic, farm-fresh food, and a dedication to protecting the environment, prevails. By creating an upscale ice cream truck for her venue, Adria was able to keep her overhead costs low, the quality of her ingredients high, and her carbon footprint small. Parfait is the result of years of planning and hard work, a steadfast investment in the organic and local food movements, and a lot of creativity and love.