It’s summer: we’re screaming for ice cream! This month, we asked our favorite ice cream experts to share their most-loved ice cream combos and how-to tips — see them all, then share your own on Instagram with the hashtag #icecreamsocial and tag @williamssonoma to join the fun. We’ll regram and share our favorites!
At Oddfellows in Brooklyn, New York, Chef Sam Mason churns premium small-batch ice creams from scratch, with a menu of daily-changing flavors that often include ingredients like chorizo, tobacco leaf and miso. Read on for his favorite scoops, what he loves about working with ice cream, and his ultimate ice cream sundae.
Tell us about your background and how you got started. Why ice cream?
Ive been a pastry chef for nearly 20 years, working in some of the best restaurants in the world. Ice cream has always been a big part of my career, and it seemed natural to take that aspect further. I really enjoy harnessing flavors into ice cream — it’s a fantastic medium for infusion.
Can you share any of your favorite ice cream memories from childhood?
I’ve never been a huge ice cream or sweets fan. I do remember, as a child, going to Dairy Queen was quite a treat.
Do you incorporate seasonal flavors/ingredients into your ice cream?
I have had many relationships throughout the years with local farmers, who provide a large part of my fruits and vegetables in the summer months. It’s usually a surprise to me what shows up.
How do your tastes change with the seasons?
I get very inspired by seasons. I love when fall begins and the weather chills a bit. You start thinking about apples and pumpkins and spices. It’s a very comforting flavor season.But at the same time, the summer produce is so dynamic and exciting.
What are some of the craziest ice cream combinations you’ve made?
Crazy is a relative term around here. Miso and cherry is a bit odd, as well as manchego with caramelized pineapple and thyme. Red cedar and tangerine is probably not too common either.
Are there any flavors you’ve tried that really didn’t work?
Some flavors don’t translate quite as well as I’d like, but at the end of the day, it’s ice cream — and it’s hard to do wrong.
Any interesting trends you’ve seen lately?
Everyone is trying to make outrageous flavors for the sake of being outrageous. I like to think we do it for sincere reasons.
What’s your most popular flavor?
Vanilla is always a crowd pleaser, but flavors like PB&J and chorizo-caramel are super popular. The most popular would probably be cornbread.
If you could only have one flavor for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Any tips for building the ultimate ice cream sundae?
Just make sure you have a good amount of texture. Whether it be cake pieces or cookies, something to break it up a bit. And salt — gotta have salt.
How has your local community been a part of your business?
They’ve been very supportive. The restaurants utilize our wholesale ice cream, and we’ve collaborated with a few artisanal shops for one-off events and menu items.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Ice cream is therapy.