Chef of the Month | Amy Ogilvie
In June, I interviewed Amy of Ice Green for Vegan Living's Chef of the Month. If you are a festival monkey you might be lucky enough to see Amy's beautifully converted caravan-come-icecream-parlour in a field over the summer season.
I first met her in one such field at Soul Circus yoga festival a few years back and devoured one of her delicious dairy-free ice-creams every single day. Alright, twice a day. With waffles. I mean, yogi gotta quench.
Follow Amy on Instagram to keep up with her culinary inventions (she's a genius!) and check out the interview in full below.
Amy Ogilvie runs Ice Green, a mobile ice-cream parlour serving at festivals and plant-based food fairs across the UK. She talks about cinnamon apple crumble, banana butterscotch, touring the country in her trusty old caravan and the buzz she gets out of seeing people enjoy a two-scoop…
How did you discover your flair for dairy-free ice-cream?
I never understood why humans felt it was okay to take from animals - their milk or their lives - and officially went vegetarian aged 12. Going vegan was synonymous with launching my ‘ice-green’ business. I was a hotel chef in west Wales, where I’m from, but worked for friends who ran food stalls at festivals every summer. There’s something so special about working at festivals, going backstage and being a part of the team. I wanted to run my own festival business but when there are 200 catering companies applying to win one of 50 pitches, you’ve got to stand out. I realised vegan ice-cream hadn’t really been done before and loved coming up with unusual flavours or new spins on old favourites.
So launching Ice Green inspired you to go vegan?
Absolutely! I couldn’t launch a dairy-free business without practising what I preached. What had always held me back from veganism was the presumption that it was an exclusive club that I wasn’t ‘cool’ enough to be a part of. I was wrong. The vegan world is so welcoming. It’s simply about loving life, being happy and wanting animals to be happy too.
How did you find the right vehicle to serve from?
My mum loves a bargain - she spotted the caravan parked on someone’s driveway. It’s a 1959 Cheltenham Stable. My dad stripped it out and added a new floor, new walls, installed fridges and freezers, a sink and cupboards. My husband Josh is a mechanic so he’s come in very useful too. I tow the caravan behind my Transit van, which is where I sleep. There’s no way I could sleep in a tent - I need a good night’s sleep.
How did your first event go?
It was Bristol Veg Fest in 2016 and there was such a long queue of people wanting our ice-cream, it was a lovely welcome. Vegans were used to mango sorbet being as exciting as frozen treats got - people were so overwhelmed by choice they bounced up and down in excitement. It makes me very happy to make people so happy. Another highlight was Shambala 2017. We were lucky with the weather and people kept coming back for more. The atmosphere was perfect, everyone was in great spirits.
What do you do in the winter months?
I attend indoor food fairs like Brighton Veg Fest and wellness events like the Cardiff Festival of Wellbeing. When it’s warm inside people still want ice-cream and kids don’t care what the weather’s doing, they always want ice-cream! Last winter, Josh and I were on a tour of Europe to discover new flavours and ingredients. We spent three weeks eating doughnuts - all in the name of research, of course.
Tantalise us with some of your best creations!
My favourites are Earl Grey, rhubarb and custard and chocolate orange. My most popular flavours are peanut butter and chocolate, cookie dough and caramel honeycomb, which is not made from honey and has taken people by storm. New for this season are double sesame - a tahini base with halva chunks, which is a hit with adults. Kids love old school flavours like raspberry ripple.
I am like a mad scientist at home inventing flavour combinations. I made a lovely cinnamon apple crumble with an oaty crumble base and stewed apples woven into the cream. Banana and butterscotch went down well and everyone loves the one that tastes like Bailey’s. It’s all served in a cup or cone, or on a bed of waffles with warm brownies - all vegan too, with gluten free options available.
What do you have in store for customers this year?
My ice-cream is cashew based but I’ve created a nut-free oat based banana ice-cream and I’ve got a soft-serve machine for 99s. Vegans and omnis alike tell me I serve the best ice-cream they’ve ever tried, better than the dairy alternative. I hope that I can inspire people to see you don’t need cow’s milk to make ice-cream taste great. I’ll never stop experimenting and seeing what recipes I can concoct. The next crazy flavour is always just around the corner.
Follow Amy on Instagram @vegan_icegreen
Visit her website to see where she’ll be each summer - www.ice-green.uk