As long as I have been able to hold a whisk, my mom and maternal grandmother have allowed me to play in the kitchen. These are fond memories and what have inspired me to go into professional baking. This path was not always so clear and I took my sweet time navigating through life. I grew up in Bettendorf, IA and attended the University of Iowa. I was awarded my B.S. In biology in December 2005—but I decided I did not like life in the lab and switched gears to work for a chocolatier in Iowa City. I spent the next several months learning how to work with really phenomenal chocolate. Somehow, a Hershey bar doesn’t quite do it for me anymore—unless it is part of a S’More, of course.
In August 2006, Ryan and I moved to Ames; a new beginning for both of us. He, to work at Powerfilm as a new product developer, and I to attend culinary school. The Iowa Culinary Institute was gaining in popularity and I was put on the waiting list to start the following year. Since culinary school was a year away, I found work as a bank teller at First National Bank:University Office. If you ever want to know about the inner workings of a city—the bank is a great place to start. I made a lot of great friends and contacts that eventually made Arcadia possible. I also got to know campus town and decided that if I ever had the opportunity to open a shop, campus town would be the location.
I spent two years learning the theory of the restaurant industry at Iowa Culinary Institute but The Cafe taught me about real life. I spent almost two years learning from the best bakery in town. It was a great experience and prepared me for opening my own shop. In March of 2010 I was skimming Craigslist and saw a listing for a building for rent, in campus town, with a drive through. Jackpot! This was too good to pass up and we signed the lease that month. After much uncertainty and six months of hard work—Arcadia Cafe opened it’s doors March 22, 2011. What you see today is the result of many people’s hard work and dedication. I could not have done this without the love and support of those around me. Thanks everyone!
Grew up in Ames, graduated from Iowa with a degree in Biology, came back to Ames in 2006 to work as an engineer at PowerFilm. Now I’m roasting coffee and helping to start a coffee shop/ bakery – how’d that happen (though I still work as an engineer at PowerFilm)? Baking, cooking, and especially chocolate have always been major interests, inspired in no small part by an aunt who is a caterer in Sun Valley, ID and has always made the most amazing truffles. The first major steps down the path to Arcadia, however, came from working at a boutique chocolate factory in Iowa City, where I furthered my education and love for chocolate – and even more importantly had fresh roasted coffee for the first time. A single cup of Ethiopian Hararr set me on the path to becoming a roaster. I’ve been roasting coffee at home for 5 years now, and while I have yet to match that one perfect cup of Hararr (not even again in that same batch) I’ve found some fantastic coffees. Now that I’m roasting on a larger scale I hope you enjoy our coffees as much as I do.