Let’s be honest: aside from anyone with lactose intolerance, all of us dreamed of eating ice cream and only ice cream for dinner when we were kids. Some of us still hope for that now. Thanks to Executive Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen winner Kyle Schutte, that dream is now a reality.
Schutte, whose background is mainly in contemporary American food, has combined his Southern roots with modern techniques and a desire to do something truly his own. Combine that with a longtime fascination with ice cream, and you get the Ice Cream for Dinner pop-up – an eight-course meal of ice cream, ice cream, and more ice cream.
The idea came to Kyle as he was developing a pop-up concept with Feastly. “Ice cream as a comfort food is nothing new. But using that comfort food to take people out of their comfort zone and have them experience something new for the first time? That’s interesting to me,” he said. “[The pop-up is] your childhood fantasy come to fruition. It’s like everybody sitting when they’re six and your mom’s telling you to eat peas and carrots, and you’re like, ‘I want ice cream for dinner.’ It was like, let’s do that. And it kind of took on a life of its own.”
“Ice cream as a comfort food is nothing new. But using that comfort food to take people out of their comfort zone and have them experience something new for the first time? That’s interesting to me.”
The three initial nights sold out almost immediately, and with emails flooding in, Schutte had to add more dates – meaning that you can book your spot now. Curious about what you’re signing up for? The meal will consist of five savory and three dessert courses. Two of the courses are hot (minus the ice cream).
The first course features sushi rice-flavored ice cream – “It’s meant to be like the sushi rice on a piece of nogiri,” Kyle explained. “There’s gonna be a piece of sea urchin over the top. You’re supposed to eat it like a piece of sushi.” Next up will be the oyster ice cream that was one of the dishes that fueled Schutte’s fascination with ice cream. He describes it as “briny and salty and fresh and balanced” – something that everyone likes, even if they don’t like oysters. There will also be a salad course using roasted peach ice cream in lieu of dressing – and the menu goes on from there.
These are adventurous flavor combinations to say the least, but there’s method to what may seem like madness. “It’s all about balance – and good food is all about balance. It’s really like boiling down what food is all about in a bite,” Schutte said.
“It’s all about balance – and good food is all about balance. It’s really like boiling down what food is all about in a bite.”
Of course, ice cream isn’t all that’s on Schutte’s plate right now. He has been balancing the pop-up prep with his new gig as Executive Chef at the Prospect Theatre in Hollywood, which just opened last weekend. The menu is a mouthwatering assortment of contemporary American food, spiced up with out of the box flavor combinations. “I think it was important for this venue that the menu be a little bit theatrical, but also approachable,” Kyle explained. “And that is a really fine line to walk. What can play in a way that’s fun and whimsical but not scare off the average diner or people who would not normally go out and seek this kind of food in a restaurant?”
“I think it was important for this venue [the Prospect Theatre] that the menu be a little bit theatrical, but also approachable. And that is a really fine line to walk.”
If you’re looking at the menu for your visit to the Prospect and are wondering how you’ll ever choose what to eat (because seriously, everything looks amazing), here’s some insight to help you out. We asked Kyle to name the one thing we can’t leave without trying: “The whole menu is new, so it’s all really good,” he said. “The pork loin is really good. It’s rolled in ground nori and it comes with a nori butter – that’s really tasty and kind of unique. All of our meats are sustainably and humanely raised, and all the beef is grass-fed, so those flavors and textures really come through. Everything should be really tasty.”
We can confirm that everything is indeed very tasty. Between my guest and I, we tried the fried chicken (perfectly cooked with a unique hint of lime), the burger (elevated with ketchup-tomatoes), the brussels sprouts (beyond), and the coffee cream dessert (avant-garde and oh-so-tasty).
Finally, we asked Kyle for his #1 tip for aspiring chefs. “If we’re talking about professional, work harder, shut your mouth, and pay attention. Home cooks: salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil is all you need,” he said. “It’s all about balance. And have fun! If you’re not having fun when you cook, f*cking order a pizza. Have fun or order a pizza.”
Whether you see a show at the Prospect or claim a coveted spot at the Ice Cream for Dinner pop-up, you are sure to experience delicious food that takes you outside of your comfort zone. We can’t wait to see what Kyle Schutte does next.
Find out more about Executive Chef Kyle Schutte on his website.