Meet the Maker: Kaya Ogruce, Death In Venice Gelato

Posted by Jen McNeely, July 27, 2016

Death in Venice

The birth of Death in Venice gelato happened when Kaya Ogruce and his girlfriend were on a motorcycle trip across Sicily. It's as romantic and sexy as it sounds. With inventive flavour combinations like mustard, boozy pear and walnut or roasted hay and honey, it could be said that DinV ingredients are as bold and daring as the thought of cruising the Sicily coastline full speed on a bike.

For this August long weekend, we recommend you step into Drake General Store and indulge. On a hot summer day, a scoop of Death in Venice will take you as close to heaven as one can get.

The idea was born while on your trip to Italy, but what triggered the turn in your career?

I had worked professionally as a chef for many years in different capacities and had worked in several Michelin-star restaurants in Europe and the US. I was looking for a career in which I could apply the skills I had acquired without the constraints and economics of cooking in a restaurant. I wanted the freedom to be creative and to collaborate with chefs and farmers and to execute truly original ideas. We started making gelato in December 2015. It was delicious. We were obsessed. I've never looked back.

When it comes to sorbet and gelato, what is important to you?

I am interested in the texture and the intensity of the product. I'm also preoccupied with sourcing the best ingredients.

Can you recall the first time you tasted gelato?

I will never forget the intensity of the pistachio gelato we had in Sicily. It was nutty and citrusy and pale in colour instead of being artificial green.

Death In Venice 2

What are the all-time favourite Death in Venice flavours, and what are some new flavours for summer '16?

Our best-selling flavours are smoked chocolate and bourbon, ricotta rosemary lemon, peanut butter and croissant, and saffron vanilla ginger. They are universally loved by adults and children. I am more interested in the smoked eggplant and tahini, roasted hay and honey, and the pig’s blood and dark chocolate. Seasonal flavours include strawberry Thai basil juniper, melon mint and black pepper, and soon a grilled peach.

What inspires your culinary creativity?

Seasonality. I like working with seasonal and local ingredients. I like complementary but unorthodox flavour combinations. I also like more savoury flavour profiles.

Beyond gelato, what makes for a memorable summer?

We have a three-month-old baby at home who I like taking out for walks in the park.

Anything else you'd like to share about Death in Venice?

I always look forward to working with new clients or chefs to customize new flavours. I like challenges, new ideas, new ingredients and testing the boundaries of gelato. Creativity that you can lick: Death in Venice gelato will take you on a journey to the back roads of Sicily and beyond.

Posted in: Food + Drink

Tags: Death In Venice  Kaya Ogruce  Meet the Maker