Updated: Apr 22, 2019
QB Gelato takes its inspiration from the Italian concept of “quanto basta.”
It was at a birthday party, in a frenzied kitchen, as the guest of honour cooked like mad, that QB Gelato was born.
The co-owner of Kelowna’s new gelato shop was at that party mulling over what he and his partner would call their dream store, when the Italian birthday girl suddenly called out “quanto basta!” It’s an Italian phrase that roughly translates to “take only as much as necessary,” and in that moment Kevin Bojda knew he had found their name.
A little more than two weeks ago, Bojda and Victor Laderoute officially opened QB Gelato, next to DunnEnzies Pizza Co. in the Landmark Centre. The shop offers small-batch, hand-crafted gelato and, according to Laderoute, has been more than 10 years in the making. The couple hails from Vancouver, where both previously worked in the corporate world, a vocation Laderoute said they both knew “was probably going to put us in the grave early” if kept at it.
One day, nearly a decade ago, they stumbled across a friend’s gelato shop, and immediately fell in love with the stuff.
Fast forward several years and Bojda had just returned from a three-day gelato-making course. He recalls learning a lot there, but thinking there must be more to the craft than simply mixing together a bunch of pre-packaged ingredients.
“I thought where’s the creativity? Where’s the ability to say, OK I just came across something, how can I turn that into gelato?” Bodja recalled.
So the two started doing some research. In the frenzy of Googling that followed, Laderoute says a pattern began to emerge: the owners of many of the best Gelato shops in the world all learned the trade from Carpigiani Gelato University.
“I literally turned to Kevin and said ‘we’re going to Carpigiani.’ If we want to do this, we have to go to this school,”
Before they had even asked for time off work, the two had their tickets booked. During their stay in Italy the pair got a crash course in all things gelato, not just from their instructors, but from the many trips they took across the country, tasting as much gelato as they could.
Bojda and Laderoute stand behind QB Gelato’s tasting counter
They took a ton of notes, not just on the many flavours they encountered, but also about things like shop design and specific techniques. When they got home they continued their research, looking into the best place to open their dream shop. All that meticulous research finally culminated in the grand opening of QB Gelato June 17.
At QB, the pair have taken the concept of hand-crafted gelato as far as they could. They make absolutely everything in-house, doing things like baking special carrot cake they then immediately turn into carrot cake gelato. According to Bodja, less than five per cent of all gelato shops are doing things they way he and Laderoute are.
“It’s really easy to set up shop. There is some awesome, awesome product out there that you can really make good gelato with. But to do it the hand-crafted way, it’s labour intensive and there’s all kinds of things attached to it,”
“Think of baking a cake,” Bojda chimes in. “You can use a Betty Crocker mix and get a pretty good cake, or you can take Grandma’s recipe, that she made from scratch, and you taste the difference.” To help them achieve that “Grandma’s recipe” level gelato, the the pair even brought in a ringer from Italy. For more than two weeks, their instructor from the Gelato University camped out in Kelowna helping them perfect not only their recipes, but a custom-made stabilizer.
They also store their gelato not in a glass display case, but in traditional pozzetti containers, to protect it from exposed light and air.
“Our goal is for people to come in, to come up to the tasting bar and taste things they haven’t tasted before, maybe even have a couple of surprises,” Laderoute said.
“When we do that it makes us really proud. It makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something, and really brought something to the area,” Bojda adds.
“This has been the best thing we’ve done in our entire lives. I would encourage anyone, follow your dream, because when they do come true there is great things.”