At first blush, Humphry Slocombe founder Jake Godby seems an unlikely candidate to open an ice cream shop. Known for his introverted deadpan and wicked sense of humor, he is averse to most social interaction. And he’s not particularly fond of children. But he has subversive creativity and culinary prowess by the unorthodox gallon, and he has been scooping it out, along with business partner Sean Vahey, in the Mission since 2008.
Folks line up by the dozens to taste from Humphry Slocombe’s ever-changing rotation of 12 daily flavors—the chef has churned out some 200 original recipes to date, including the longtime favorite, Secret Breakfast, made with Jim Beam and cornflakes. Despite his highfalutin pedigree (Boulevard and Coi), Godby’s creative process has its kernel in trashy pop culture—his Coke and red wine Jesus Juice is an homage to Michael Jackson. Sprinkle in toppings of semantics (Pepper and Mint Chip), seasonal ingredients (Miso Peach), and flavor combinations never before frozen (pine nuts and rosemary in Rosemary’s Baby), and you have something devilishly new. And the sinfulness is catching: Thanks in part to a recent “Lickstarter” campaign, Vahey and Godby will open their second shop, in the Ferry Building, next month.
“When we started, I bought the smallest, cheapest ice cream maker I could find,” Godby recalls. “I thought, ‘How many people are really going to want this stuff?’” As it turns out, lots. With expansion on the front burner, it seems only fitting that the Slocombe boys would again champion the meal that originally launched them to fame. Their latest flavor, Jam and Toast—brown butter ice cream with a swirl of homemade blackberry jam and a crumble of brioche—seems destined to become a cult classic. But for these ice cream guys, who have a cookbook already under their belts and almost 300,000 Twitter followers, it’s all in a day’s work. The secret, according to Godby? “It just has to taste good.”