The nondairy, frozen-dessert virtuosity of Plant Chef Jason Sellers is no longer accessible only to those who are lucky enough to be able to swing by his Merrimon Avenue restaurant for a pint. National organic convenience food brand Amy’s Kitchen recently introduced a new line of vegan-certified ice creams based on Sellers’ locally popular recipes.
The story is that one day last year the niece of Amy’s Kitchen co-founder Rachel Berliner stopped in for a meal at Plant on her honeymoon and was so blown away by Sellers’ coconut milk-based ice cream that she convinced Amy’s to market the dessert. After working extensively with Sellers on developing his recipes for mass production, Amy’s has rolled out four flavors nationwide — chocolate, vanilla, mint chocolate chip and mocha chocolate chip.
“We are playing to the classics at this point,” says Sellers of the company’s choice of introductory flavors. “ We are not going out on a limb yet; we’re starting simple.” But, Sellers say, other flavors will certainly follow, with the next move being perhaps a fruit flavor, like strawberry or an “over-the-top chocolate” or salted caramel.
And there is the potential for things to get far more creative: Before opening Plant two years ago, Sellers took the Mountain BizWorks course with Plant co-owner Leslie Armstrong with the original dream of starting a vegan ice cream business. Although they ultimately opened a full-service vegan restaurant, Sellers demonstrates his love and mastery of ice cream through regular, creative offerings on the Plant menu that include flavors such as cappuccino chunk, salt-and-pepper chocolate fudge and an incredibly bright, fresh and creamy lemon-pine nut variety that Xpress was fortunate enough to sample at a recent tasting.
At around $6.99 per pint, the Amy’s brand version is at the high end of the frozen-dessert price range, but Sellers says you get what you pay for. The ice cream, he says, is made only with premium, fresh ingredients and is processed in a way that keeps ice crystals and air out of the mix, thus allowing for an extremely silky, creamy consistency.
“We really didn’t set out to make a mediocre ice cream,” says Sellers. “We wanted to make an amazing ice cream.”