From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT}borderstan.com
“Some people say I talk about ice cream all the time,” confessed Victoria Lai. “But really, ice cream is a joyful diversion from talking about work, which people in DC do all the time.”
Originally from Houston, Lai is the founder of Ice Cream Jubilee — an ice cream business that sprung from her humble blog and has since extended its reach throughout the Borderstan community.
Lai’s forays into dessert-making began while she was in law school and continued as she spent her vacation days away from her corporate law job to work part-time at Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a well-known pie shop in Brooklyn. After receiving her first ice cream maker as a gift, Lai began experimenting with flavors and playing with different flavor combinations, an experience she describes as “translating different ideas into new mediums.”
Her favorite flavors resemble inspirations from her life and incorporate everything from the Asian flavors of her Chinese-Singaporean background, to tasty cocktails and even playful childhood favorites (Peppermint Pop Rocks, anyone?).
Lai moved to her U Street NW apartment after accepting a job to work in the government, but bureaucracy did not hinder her creativity, as she continued to concoct flavors like Thai Iced Tea and Banana Bourbon Caramel.
In the summer of 2011, Lai began selling ice cream at the Grey Markets. Currently, she sells it to friends out of her home and at Feastly tasting events she hosts periodically.
“Feastly allows me to reach new people who may have read about Feastly in the newspaper, but have never heard of Ice Cream Jubilee,” explained Lai.
Not only does Lai love making ice cream for events, but she also revels in the challenge of planning the whole event.
“It can feel like a full-time job,” she explained, involving not just making large quantities of ice cream and inventing new flavors, but writing the blog posts, taking photos, coordinating guests and plugging the event through all of the various social media outlets, like Ice Cream Jubilee’s Facebook page and Twitter handle.
But Lai says that the process feeds her soul. She loves seeing her guests’ reactions when they taste a new flavor or when there happens to be extra Cardamom Black Pepper for another round of sampling. She believes that their joy illustrates why she chose the inherently light and effervescent name for her business, Ice Cream Jubilee.
“Happiness is not so hard to come by,” said Lai.
At some point in the next five years, Lai dreams of having an ice cream business, and is currently working on garnering neighborhood support and partners.
Ideally, Lai would love to open a storefront in the U Street, 14th Street or 9th Street neighborhoods. Until then, Lai is sure that “public service is in her blood” and that she will continue her dual-career, working government by day and serving ice cream as her avocation.