Plant chef’s vegan ice cream hits national market

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.”

The new Plant-inspired Amy’s Kitchen-brand ice creams are available now locally at Earth Fare locations and at Greenlife.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.