Q&A With Kim and Tyler Malek, Cousins and Cofounders of Salt & Straw in Anaheim

Photograph courtesy of Salt & Straw

How did Salt & Straw start?
Kim: I had been carrying around the idea of opening an ice cream shop in Portland (Oregon) since the mid-’90s. I heard through the grapevine that Tyler wanted to go to culinary school, so I called him to see if he wanted to live at our house while he was going to school. He found out I was up to this crazy idea, and he would not rest until he joined the team.

Tyler: I had no idea how to make ice cream. I had made it once in culinary school, and I didn’t get a passing grade on it. We started working with the city (and startups) around us to figure out how to create our flavors.

What’s your partnership like?
Kim: I focus more on the business side—finding real estate, putting our team in place, making sure we have funding. Tyler’s focused on the culinary side—recipe development and our kitchen. (Being family), it’s nice to be rooted in the same values as you approach business. It’s a bedrock of what makes our relationship work.

Do you use any unusual ingredients?
Tyler: In October, we worked with an incredible bug farmer. … She grew up in Central Mexico where it was a totally normal thing to eat candied bugs. We worked with her to figure out how we can normalize that and make that a fun ingredient in ice cream.

What do you love about your Anaheim location?
Kim: Downtown Disney is kind of a Main Street of sorts in Orange County and definitely a place for the community to gather and have a special experience. We had heard for years that people would drive up from Orange County to our stores in L.A. So we just had a warm welcome when we got there.

Tyler: Disney has been an amazing partner as well. They’ve hosted me for cooking demos in Downtown Disney and VIP programming. They’ve got their annual food festival that we’re featured at each year. (It’s also cool) being on the same stage with all the other chefs in Orange County.

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