I began my food journey a decade ago when I first experienced a deeper connection in conversation over well-prepared food and wine. That lead to a curiosity about food and how it brings people together. After researching industrial food production, then watching Food Inc., my wife and I decided to change our diet completely to real food – scratch cooking. Figuring that since I had to eat a few times a day to survive, I might as well know as much as I could about it and enjoy the process. Over this time I honed my skills in the kitchen while exploring all that the world of food has to offer – from seasonality and peak freshness, to flavor, texture, and color. I was hooked. Realizing that my dishes were immeasurably superior when I used fine ingredients like produce from Trillium Haven in Jenison, pork from Crane Dance Farm in Middleville, or milk from Grassfields in Coopersville, I oriented my whole food perspective on organic, local, and quality – not out of any trend, but out of my own realization that these products tasted better because they were fresher, more well cared for, and I was supporting the local food ecosystem. I take great exception to the use of the word “quality” today in food since it largely means “consistency” instead of meaning “wholesome” and “top caliber.”
Having played with my band AG Silver for 18 years now and being a designer, I’ve always been an artist in some capacity. Having the chance to meticulously craft food or ice cream and know that I’m satisfying something in people on a deeper level drove me to invest more in this new outlet for creativity. I began making ice cream for my family because I could not trust the ingredients listed on the commercial ice cream product available – just look at the label for yourself, it’s unreal the amount of additives they contain and it’s all produced cheaply, from commoditized, hyper-processed raw materials, and whipped with excessive air. This lead to crafting custom tailored flavors for every family member at holidays, and the passion continued to snowball from there.
In 2011, after selling my e-commerce web development company of just 5 years, I enrolled at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education to immerse myself and learn as much as possible while I figured out what I wanted to do next involving food. Immediately, in partnership with Molly Crist (of Silver Spork food truck fame), I launched Grand Rapids Cooking School, which offered cooking class programming geared for the home cook. Through that process I landed upon an opportunity to make ice cream and be part of the brand new Downtown Market in Grand Rapids; it was an opportunity that was difficult to pass up. Bringing a chef’s perspective in conjunction with an uncompromising zeal for clean ingredients, I wagered there would be a good fit for this business amidst the food renaissance of Grand Rapids.
So now, I’m pouring all the resources I have into making Love’s Ice Cream the kind of shop you feel good about supporting; that you may delight in expertly-crafted treats from the most wholesome and delicious ingredients we can dig up. Our name comes from the saying, “everyone loves ice cream.” But if everyone knew what was in it, would the phrase still hold true? So naturally, our purpose comes from a healthy obsession for sourcing ingredients and rebuke of the status quo, over-processed, industrial dairy ice cream that is the predominant choice in the marketplace currently – both in scoop shops and on the supermarket shelves.
I’m thrilled you are interested in what Love’s is all about. Don’t hesitate to inquire about our ingredients, process, suppliers, or really, anything food related. I love to share what I’ve learned thus far and I’m always open to learning from others on their food journeys.