Ice cream pottery? The beguiling world of Charlie Harry Francis

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Interview with an ice cream entrepreneur

The days of ordering plain vanilla ice cream might be numbered. With virtually every middle-class British high street now housing a gelateria (that’s posh, Ok Italian, for ice cream parlour) purveying weird and Wonka-ish flavours from balsamic vinegar to coronation chicken, it can be hard to keep up with the gastronomic innovations currently assaulting sugar and cream.

Who could forget last year’s breast milk ice cream saga? The offending item was seized by Westminster Council worried that mothers’ milk might breach health and safety regulations. Heston Blumenthal (naturally) took inspiration from Spanish restaurant El Bulli’s parmesan ice cream, bringing his range of mustard flavour ices to the masses via Waitrose supermarket.

You can now choose from beetroot or crab sorbet, parsnip and wasabi and smoked oil and black pepper ice creams, even cigar-smoke caramel flavour for those nicotine addicts needing a sugar fix. But as if all this weren’t baffling and exciting enough there is a new kid in town: ice cream entrepreneur Charlie Harry Francis.

Instant ice cream of any flavour (so long as it's edible)

The 27-year-old knows a thing or two about ice cream having been born and raised on an ice cream farm in Wales. Two years ago he designed a contraption for creating instant ice cream, winning himself a £50,000 Barclays One Small Step competition in the process. His business (the modestly titled Lick Me I’m Delicious) is conjuring bespoke flavours in under a minute for guests at weddings, parties and corporate events. Quite simply, if it's edible (and available) he'll turn it into ice cream for you in under a minute.

“As a kid I loved that pudding where you mix different ice cream flavours together until it all goes really sloppy and then I’d put in all sorts of things my mother baked, like flapjacks and brownies, and make my own creations. Even then I wanted a way of making any flavour of ice cream. That was my aim,” he said.

But having achieved that aim, using a liquid nitrogen injection system that causes things to freeze rapidly and any materials thrown into the cream and sugar mixture to shatter into lots of pieces, bringing colour and flavour, he decided to start branch out. And for Francis, who hails “fun” as the most important ingredient of business, branching out means spinning ice cream on a potter’s wheel.

“It came out of a very bizarre conversation I had with this chap at a party,” Francis recalls. “He was a potter and I asked if he thought you could throw ice cream on a potter’s wheel. He said yes, which I didn’t really expect. He’s a ceramic artist based at Bath Spa University and so we took my ice cream contraption there and started throwing some pots, which bizarrely seemed to work.”

Francis has since developed a liquid nitrogen injection buggy (“It’s made from an airplane, an old plough and bits of fire engine. Top speeds of 6 miles per hour”) and is in the process of developing the world’s first glow in the dark ice cream using protein from jelly fish: “It works with neutral PH, so the glow is inactive until you lick it”.

Like the Jellymongers  Bompas and Parr, Francis is interested in the theatre of food. His aspiration, he says, is to become the maker “of confectionary contraptions” as well as ice cream. And with a team of engineers helping him build all manner of creative machinery, who knows what he’ll produce next. Shame there aren't any Oompa Loompas to help.

Charlie Harry Francis will be serving up ice cream pottery at the Experimental Food Society Banquet on Monday 19 November 2012; www.experimentalfoodsociety.com

News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Reach for the sky: there are around 250 new buildings of 20-plus storeys planned for London alone, some 80 per cent of them residential
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
television
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
filmReview: The ingenious film will intrigue, puzzle and trouble audiences by turns
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower