David Kumec cooked in restaurants most of his early life before he was hired as the opening chef for Disneyland Paris. His career led him back to the U.S., where he worked in marketing. But food remained his passion, so he opened Mission Hill Creamery in 2010, describing organic ice cream as “the sweetest way to make people happy through food.” He’s added a coffee and bakery side to the business. The hand-crafted artisan ice cream is still their flagship, with many ingredients sourced from local farmers markets. Mission features all the standard flavors—salted caramel is the best-seller—and has rotating unconventional options like blueberry goat cheese. The giant cookie highlights bakery offerings; it won’t ruin your dinner because it could be dinner. They also do brownies and pies, including pecan.
Mission is open every day from noon to 8pm (10pm on Fridays and Saturdays). Kumec talked to GT about his principled approach to ice cream and community.
How would you describe your ice cream journey?
DAVID KUMEC: We started as a pop-up inside a local café, then quickly grew through a relationship with Whole Foods and New Leaf to being sold in over 200 retail locations. But we couldn’t control the quality of the product after it left our facility. We scaled back and now only offer our ice cream at our retail location, as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
What does community mean to you?
I feel like we have grown into being a strong part of the community. We provide a local meeting place for families and students and celebrate the special moments in their lives. We donate to many local youth programs, as well as the SPCA.
Mission Hill Coffee & Creamery, 1101 B Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-508-0774; missionhillcreamery.com