D.C. pastry chef Paula Velez has worked on some pretty cool projects lately, whether it’s a baker’s anti-racism sale sold around the world or a popular Dominican donut shop. But Kith/Kin’s former executive pastry chef and recent attempts at James Beard Award nominee have left her a fridge full of ice cream. Velez has just teamed up with Häagen-Dazs to create their own sundae, which is available this summer in stores across the United States.
“I’m basically an ice cream shop right now,” she joked with Eater about the design process for her Häagen-Dazs creation. “They sent out highly classified unnamed vats [the brand’s] City Sweets Group. I had to taste and review them all.”
Talk about a sweet party. Phillies finds her childhood spent eating PB&J sandwiches for lunch as a child in a New York City public school, providing accommodations for small pints of Häagen-Dazs in a bodega. Her sundae begins with a base of salted peanut butter chocolate ice cream, then adds crackers, a spoonful of jam, and slices of banana.
After the past two years of uncertainty, “people just need a little joy and nostalgia and that whimsical feeling,” she explained of her creation of the dessert. “People just want to feel like we felt like kids.”
As part of Velez’s partnership with Häagen-Dazs stores, an amount equal to 10 percent of PB&J Sundae’s proceeds during the promotional period (until August 31) will go to the DC nonprofit Dreaming Out Loud, which supports underrepresented food entrepreneurs and increases access to healthy food. Velez first met Dreaming Out Loud founder Christopher Bradshaw on panel with José Andrés and World Central Kitchen.
The capital-based chef has an association with Häagen-Dazs: both Feliz and the founders of the ice cream brand from the Bronx. Prior to this project, Velez did not know the relationship of ice cream to her neighborhood.
“It makes so much sense,” she says, “we are literally all Häagen-Dazs fanatics in the Bronx.”
Velez is amazed at the scope of this project, with people from all over the country posting pictures of her face in ice cream parlors. Local Häagen-Dazs stores are located in Tysons, Pentagon City, Chinatown and Georgetown.
“It’s really cool to see that. I get tagged in so many things, I’m like ‘You’re kidding.’” “I love doing community work and baking and figuring out how I’m going to do another popup, and somehow I’ve done a nationwide popup with Häagen-Dazs.”