Meet Dylan LeMay.
This week, I’d like to introduce you to Dylan LeMay. If you, like me, are a fan of Rich Roll roll on Episodes with Adam Skolnick, you’ll instantly recognize Dylan as “the ice cream guy.” Why is he called the ice cream man? Well, Dylan has been in the ice cream business for half his life. He started at Cold Stone Creamery, where he quickly worked his way up to store manager. Then, during quarantine, she started posting videos of herself scooping ice cream and decorating ice cream cakes while chatting about this and that, but rarely showing her face. And his videos almost always go viral, garnering millions of views—each.
I know what you’re thinking – what’s the big deal about ice cream? That’s all. The ice cream, by itself, isn’t really a big deal. But somehow, the 26-year-old has amassed a community that is more than 15 million strong. How did he do it? In this week’s podcast, I peel back the layers in hopes of uncovering the secret behind Dylan’s massive success. But before checking out our conversation, I wanted to share a little story about why i am Personally think Dylan is so awesome.
catch me when i fall
Last summer, just a few days after my dog Rudy died, I went to NYC for a night to celebrate the grand opening of my friend’s ice cream shop. Dylan had been toiling for months to open Catch’N by summer, signing a lease on a storefront in Noho, meeting with vendors and suppliers around the country, sourcing solid non-dairy milk for his vegan flavors, and finally landing his position as store manager at Cold Stone Creamery. He owns the shop counter to train his team to serve ice cream the same way he’s been doing it for half his life. But instead of scooping ice cream from a bucket, Catch’n’s glass display is lined with chocolate-coated spheres of ice cream and Oreo cookies, dried strawberries, cereal and other nostalgic goodies. After giving me a hello hug, Dylan invited me behind the counter to learn how to press the heavy steel scoopers until my ball of vegan ice cream crumbled, and how to mix it all together until the ice cream was pliable and pliable before freezing. It folds neatly into a small, biodegradable cup.
Even as I smiled for the camera and dove enthusiastically into making my ice cream for Dylan, I carried a hot coal inside me, threatening to burn a hole in my chest. The wound of my dog’s death was still raw, shaking, but it was Dylan’s day and I wanted to be there for him. When I saw Dylan’s mash ice cream balls, wiping crumbs off his brand new counter, greeting fans, doing interviews with the press, and Wrapping his skinny arms around friends who came to say “hi” while his mom and dad calmly made sure the scoopers were cleaned and dried, the supplies were tucked away, everything was where it was supposed to be so their 25-year-old son could be the star that his investors knew him to be. Dependent on, I took my spoonful of ice cream, letting it slowly melt on my tongue, hoping its cool softness would reach my toes. I thought about a quote I read from one of my favorite authors:
All this love has to be prone. Love anything, and your heart will surely be damaged and possibly broken. If you want to ensure it remains intact, you must give it to someone and nothing, not even an animal. You must carefully wrap it up with hobbies and little luxuries and avoidance of routine and trappings and then close it in the coffin or coffin of your own selfishness. And that means that, in the long run, the alternative to tragedy, or at least to the threat of tragedy, is damnation, because in that casket – safe in the dark, still and free – it will go bad; Not broken, but finally unbreakable, impenetrable, resistant to all good and pleasure…. – CS Lewis
Rejection, whether from your parents, your boyfriend, or the girl you meet for coffee at the vegan croissant shop—all hurt. But sometimes, we protect ourselves not only from the sting of rejection, but from all the messiness of it. If only all our relationships could be as tidy as my color-coded sock drawer, as spotless as Dylan’s new countertop. But life doesn’t work like that. Often, even after the fire is extinguished, we are left with ashes to clean up. And as scary as it might be to open the door to those ruins, I’m not sure I want to try and find out what happens to me if I go it alone.
That night, Dylan met us all at a bar to celebrate the launch of his dream. He looked not so much at the chaser of dreams, but at the very last centimeter of his lamp, like a candle. He was quiet amid the celebrations, and I wished he could immediately return to my Chicago home, where he often crashed during his business trips. Often, we’d stay up into the wee hours, and he’d listen to all my worries spill out of me like jelly beans – quitting my partner’s job, going full-time as a content creator, or “living the dream,” as he often called it. When my book came out a few years ago, he came to the launch and called it my “book wedding” with a smile I’ll never forget.
Later, we left the bar early with a mutual friend. During the walk, we took a selfie together, and there was something about the act – not taking a picture to commemorate the opening of an ice cream shop, but the joy of being with people who could translate our fatigue, anxiety and yes, even our sadness, as skillfully as possible. Plus native speakers—which let me lean back as far as I needed to.
Because I knew I wouldn’t fall.
Episode 38: Getting Vulnerable with Dylan LeMay
This week’s recipe inspo.
If you’re not already following the Korean Vegan YouTube channel, there’s a brand new recipe! This is my favorite red sauce and the pasta I love to make with it. Check it out and add it to this week’s dinner plans—you won’t regret it!
Korean Vegan Collective
In addition to the thousands of customizable plant-based recipes on The Korean Vegan Collective (all with a complete nutritional breakdown), I’m regularly adding exclusive articles and videos to help you live your best plant-based life! Here are a few recent additions that may interest you:
- Where to Eat in NYC – Anthony and I were in New York last month and were once again blown away by the incredible and growing wealth of plant-based foods there. Here are some of our favorites.
- Let’s make leftovers from breakfast wraps in my fridge – We eat a lot of burritos in our house! Here’s a short tutorial video with this specific recipe, as well as some tips for preparing burritos in general.
- Sugar! – a deep dive into the sometimes misunderstood world of macronutrients, complete with links to recipe recommendations and information on how to go “low carb” in the collective.
Updates and random stuff.
- What I see. Not surprisingly, we’re still knee deep black listBut while Anthony is too busy watching TV with me, I turn to a well-written, well-acted and very funny Korean drama: Diary of a Prosecutor. I really liked the main actor my master, and so, his slightly lisp-y description of life as a Korean prosecutor in a small, rural town has been a delight to follow. If you’re trying to watch something that doesn’t make you want to hate the world (ie glory), this is for you!
- Vegan handbags. A lot of you seem really interested in the vegan cheese company, Climax Bio, which I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, so I thought I’d introduce you to another vegan goodie – this one from the fashion world. I had the chance to meet Remy, @veggiekins, and Freja NYC – a vegan handbag company started just a few years ago. Their vegan leather is soft and supple and their handbags are elegant and well designed. If you need gift ideas, I highly recommend you check them out!
- Vegan Women’s Summit. I’m thrilled to be invited back to the Vegan Women’s Summit this spring! It will be in New York City from May 18-20 and tickets are going fast! The Vegan Space has an incredible lineup of amazing female activists and entrepreneurs, so if you’re in the area or even willing to travel for it, get your tickets now!!
It’s all a wrap!! See you next week!