by Bobby Anderson – Staff Writer
Hema Patel, RN, still remembers when her passion began.
A trip to California with her husband led to a stop at a local gelato shop.
The tastes, the smells, the experience burned a hole in Patel’s soul.
“I fell in love,” she said. (story continues below)
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Shortly after leaving, she turned to husband and spoke her dreams into the universe.
She told her husband, local optometrist Dr. Pritesh Patel, they should consider bringing something like this to Oklahoma.
“I always wanted to do something for our community because we don’t have anything like this on the south side of town,” the Integris registered nurse said.
A year-and-a-half later in February 2019, Dolci Paradiso was born.
This past September a second location was opened at 17th 5th St. in Edmond.
The Six East Ortho-Neuro nurse found her passion in desserts as she traveled through America tasting some of America’s best gelato and pastry shops.
Her passion of making people smile has carried over from her nursing career to her first gelato and pastry shop as she introduces desserts to the community founded by the idea of creating recipes and flavors that are second to none.
Made fresh daily her goal is to use classic French and Italian styles but incorporate her traditional Indian background by adding spices and flavors that are different from anything people would normally try.
Her passion for cooking makes her comfortable in the kitchen as she has spent many months perfecting recipes and taking classes with world-renowned pastry chefs like Dominique Ansel, Bruno Albouze, Dinara Kasko, Ksenia Penkina, Peter Yuen, and gelato master Maria Coassin. She hopes to create an extraordinary sensorial experience for every individual who enjoys beautiful desserts whether it be gelato, pastries, or crepes.
Her husband grew up in the Moore community, attending Westmoore High School before going on to the University of Oklahoma and then optometry school in San Antonio.
To say he’s involved would be an understatement. He handles all of the company’s social media and found the original space at 10740 S. May Ave Ste 101.
It didn’t take a lot of looking because it’s the space adjacent to his practice at the Eye Experience.
“In the beginning, yes, it was tough but I had my whole family that supported us including my in-laws and my husband,” Hema Patel said. “Eventually, I knew it would get better. It’s so much better than it used to be.”
Patel’s deep roots paid off and the locals came by to see what Dolci Paradiso was all about.
The tastes are what keep them coming back.
Patel doesn’t work a shift on Mondays and the shop is closed that day, too. Normally, the store is fully staffed but Patel deals with the headaches of employees just like any other business.
Some days she has to come in and man the counter.
On days she’s fully staffed and her home unit isn’t she’ll come in and pick up a shift.
“I love all my coworkers,” Patel said.
She enjoys feedback from customers on what they like and what they don’t. And if for some reason they don’t enjoy their experience she wants to know in order to make it better the next time.
Patel and her husband created all the recipes. They do employ a pastry chef charged with making cannoli, brownies, cookies, and other treats.
It might be why daughter, Tulsi, comes to work so often.
“She loves coming to the gelato shop,” Patel said. “I always ask ‘Do you want to go to the clinic or come with me.’ She always wants to come to the gelato shop. She gets really excited to serve customers. She wants to scoop.”
Like most businesses, Patel has been forced to deal with the fallout from Covid. More people are beginning to come back but it’s definitely affected business.
“It’s been good,” Patel said. “Our gelato sales have been lower because not a lot of people coming in to shop. The dining used to be full with kids and family before Covid hit, but I guess people are afraid to bring their kids. I don’t even take my daughter outside.”
Patel has been an Integris Baptist nurse since 2015. Her coworkers and patients are the glue that keeps her in nursing.
She’s thankful her work has allowed her to make her schedule.
“I love my coworkers. We work as a team,” she said. “You don’t feel alone. It doesn’t matter how behind you get because you know your coworkers are going to come help. It’s a comfort zone for everybody.”