Q&A With Pop Art Catering’s Janae Williams
It has been hot, hot, HOT here in Los Angeles. Naturally, ice pops and ice cream are on my mind (and yours too, I’m sure). Gourmet popsicles have totally become a trend — and definitely one I’m interested in, so when I noticed Janae Williams’ company Pop Art Catering, I had to know more. Williams and Pop Art specializes in gourmet pops from their super cool ice cream cart and delicious desserts, as well as an upcoming menu of artisnal breads and sandwiches. Sounds yummy!
Pop Art’s pops are diary-free, gluten-free, and no artificial colors or sweeteners are used, but they’re filled with amazing flavor from the organic produce used. Janae was nice enough to take some time out to answer a few questions and share some delectable food photos.
What inspired Pop Art Catering and its emphasis on gourmet ice pops?
The inspiration actually came from living in Los Angeles and experiencing what summer is like on the West Coast opposed to East Coast summers (which is what I’m used to). Living in the Valley made me realize that there could be a huge market for healthy, affordable, refreshing snacks to beat the summer heat. I found an ice cream cart on Craigslist the next week and the rest is history!
What’s the process like for making your gourmet ice pops? What’s your favorite flavor? What is the most unique flavor you’ve come up with?
The process of making the pops depends heavily on what is available at the market. We walk the local farmers markets and kind of let the produce speak to us. If something is in season and ripe, we buy it! When you start off with great product that has only traveled a few miles to get to our kitchen and is ready to eat, it makes our jobs so much easier! The flavor and colors are so perfect, we don’t have to do much other than a simple puree and some natural sweeteners for a little boost! My personal favorite pop is our roasted strawberry and cream. None of our pops are made with dairy (they are also gluten free, no artificial colors or flavors and only organic produce is used), so we use a sweetened coconut cream. The colors are gorgeous and the flavor is out of this world! As far as unique flavors, we have been testing a lot of flavors found in Asian cuisine such as Yuzu, Okinawan Black Sugar and Lychees!
What other treats does your company specialize in and which have become the most popular?
What’s the most unique event you’ve had to cater so far? What are some specific LA challenges when it comes to catering an event?
I think the most fun I’ve had on a job had to be our work with The Broad Center. They had a conference and had people from all over the country come and learn new teaching techniques especially for those who work at inner city schools. At the end of the week, they rented out a bowling alley in Santa Monica and had us and a few other food vendors treat all of the participants! The setting was cool (cosmic bowling so everything was lit by a black light and made our popsicles look like they were glowing!). There was such fun that spread throughout the entire building that night, it was hard not to have a blast right along with them! Catering in LA is great because 9 times out of 10, you dont have to worry about the weather! The only problem we have learned our lesson with is LA traffic (which dictates leaving WELL before a call time to insure punctuality lol).
Where are your favorite places to eat in LA?
I personally love LA street food. Whenever Isee a small stand or tent on the side of the road, I always swing by to check out what they are serving .:) Outside of street food, I enjoy More Than Waffles in Encino because I love breakfast food! And also, Philly’s Best also located in Encino. They have all kinds of food and beverages shipped over from the East Coast (like Pennsylvania Dutch Root Beer and Tastycakes!) So I very much feel at home when I eat there. Incidentally, those two restaurants are located in the same shopping center. 🙂
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start their own food company?
I’d like to say to anyone out there looking to start their own food based company, “It’s all worth it.” All of the permits and papers and licenses and headaches of starting your own company will seem daunting and impossible at first. But if you can push through, keep a positive attitude and stay persistent, there is nothing like completing a hard day’s work for YOURSELF and knowing you are building something great and making people happy in the process. Also, support local business and markets as much as possible!
Images courtesy of Pop Art Catering