A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

by Grace Bonney

Jeni meeting at desk
Two of my favorite things in life are family and ice cream. When I have a chance to combine the two, I’m a very happy camper. So today I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing a day in the life with the ever-impressive and always incredible, Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. We may not be related, but Jeni is part of my cherished book family over at Artisan Books. When I was working on our first book, my editor would show me copies of Jeni’s first book and I would immediately feel the need to go home and track down a pint of her incredible ice cream. After eating countless pints on my own, I got my parents hooked on her flavors and now my book family has melted together with my real family.

Jeni just released her second book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, and it is fantastic. If you have a sweet tooth, this book is going to be your best friend for a long time. From whiskey caramel and crunchy ice cream toppings to recipes for tarts, pies and and cakes, each of Jeni’s dessert recipes is simple, comforting and welcoming. Served a la mode or on their own, they’re is a great way to end a special meal. Jeni is about to embark on a 21-city book tour (!!) so I’m so grateful she was able to share a day in her (busy) life with us this week. Thanks so much to Jeni and everyone at Artisan- click here to pick up a copy of her new book! xo, grace

*If you need some more Jeni in your life, she was on-air last week on Julia’s radio show! Tune in here to listen.

Click through for the full post!

Meet Jeni Britton Bauer
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Job/Title: Founder/Chief Creative Officer/President, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Years Working: 18+
Favorite Thing About My Job: My favorite thing about my job is the constant motion forward. From day one we have always pushed ourselves—not to be better than the next best thing out there, but to be the best we can imagine. Our team is loaded with talent, hustle, and guts, and that’s why our ice creams are so good, and why we can pull off the things we do. Just a scrappy little ice cream company from the middle of Ohio.

Dining Room Table
Dining Room Table: “I usually spend about an hour in the morning working here at my dining room table. It’s the most civilized moment of the day and a time to transition from mom to Jeni.”

Jenis Wall 1
My Desk / Office Wall: “I’ll admit that I have a messy desk. Messy office. I want all inspiration out and visible. On one hand I can’t work when it’s too messy, but on the other I can’t think when it’s not. I like to stick something on my wall, and rip it off in a fit of inspiration later. Do I fill that hole with something else right away? No. Sometimes I think: ‘Aren’t creatives supposed to have the nicest offices?’ Well, in my case, the answer is no. It never will be. At home though, it’s the opposite.”

Clover Road Cream Cheese: “We are checking out their new packaging. Our sister company Eat Well distribution harnesses our growth to help emerging good-food producers. These gals used to work at our shops and they began making really tasty cream cheese. Now we distribute their products and we even designed new packaging for them. It’s the hardest part when you’re just starting out, so we enjoy helping these little ideas get off the ground.”

Testing Ice Creams: “We do this at least once a day. All gather around and debate ice cream flavors. Here we are tasting a round of holiday candidates. It’s our second tasting of the day. We all agreed that the ice cream sandwich there, is the best we’ve ever tasted!”

Mandy Note
“My friend Mandy Aftel is America’s premier supplier of essential oils and she is also one of the last remaining natural perfumers. She sent me this beautiful little gift in the mail. These are the kind of friends you want to have-kindred spirits. She always knows what I will respond to.”

“Our new portable shop! I saw it delivered out my office window. It’s all stainless and we are so thrilled with it. I just popped out to check it out. It’ll go into action immediately.”

Signing Books
Signing books: “We popped down to the Book Loft, one of our local booksellers, to sign their whole stock of books. And WOW, there were a lot of them!”

Short North Scoop Shop Wall
Stopped by our Short North Scoop Shop: “I did an interview with The Columbus Dispatch in our Short North Shop beneath our Wall of Random Inspiration which went up in each shop in support of our newest flavor – key lime buttermilk frozen yogurt. It’s shockingly tart and exceedingly dense with body for miles because of how the buttermilk and lime juice react with the cream. It’s really new to the ice cream world.”

Jeni meeting at desk
At the meeting table in Jeni’s office: “Participating in a meeting about The Midwest. We’re all inspired.”

Midwest Inspiration Wall 2
Mood Wall: “And here is the Midwest inspiration wall.”

Baby Legs: “One of many Freestyles you can make with my new book which is all about taking one item from one chapter and recombining with other elements from the book to make new and distinct things. It’s 21st century thinking for a cookbook – entirely do-able at home, but the book has an enormous potential “between the pages”. We are doing super short videos and directions for new things like coconut cream cake and frozen boston cream pie on our website — these recipes are in the book, but you have to put some thought into them. These are baby legs, two of the cakes in the book baked in corn molds and then filled with the marshmallow filling. So delicious. It’s all about not putting too much opinion or emotion into my book so that the recipes in the book can inform styles and preferences in any community, in any setting and morph into anything. It’s not limited to my brand or ideas. You are free to shapeshift at will.”

Giacometti: “Here is an idea! Mr. Wexner is offering his collection of art to The Wexner Center for The Arts which will go on view in Columbus in September 2014. It’s going to be a huge international sensation because there are incredible works of art by Giacometti, Picasso and others that the public will probably not have access to again. I thought if the Wexner family can display their art collection at The Wexner Center for The Arts, I could display some of my “art” at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. So, we are doing edible Gia*cone*metti sculptures and displaying them in glass / plexi boxes. All in good fun in support of an incredible family, institution and exhibition.” (The idea is not complete, this is my sketch to illustrate the idea to the team. The last “Let’s DO THIS” moment of the day.)

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  • I heart Jeni. We plan whole birthday parties around her recipes. The kids dig it, but the parents are the most excited.

    We drove an hour out of our vacation route (one way) to stop in one of her Columbus scoop shops – on the launch day for the Loveless Biscuit with Peaches that completely rocked my world. I bought her second book for that recipe!

  • I love Jeni’s ice cream. My husband and relatives are from Columbus so I love stopping by her ice cream shops. Plus her’s is the only ice cream recipe I’ll make at home. I love it! Made the lemon flavor last week in fact!

  • Love Jeni’s and also drove out of our way to stop in one of her shops~ Cheers! I also bought online for the first time. Can’t wait to see the order. Hugs Beth

  • We decided to move to Columbus from Portland, OR while sitting in Jeni’s in the Short North back in 2010. The flavors and atmosphere blew us away, and a nice chat with two guys on their first date made us think that Columbus had a lot to offer. Jeni’s is a gem! Thanks for the peek, D*S!

  • Jeni’s is the best!! We had the pleasure of meeting her at the opening party in Charleston! She’s a very sweet, hard working mama! The new location is beautiful and the book is awesome too!

  • Jeni’s ice cream is amazing., especially salty caramel. Or Queen City Cayenne. Or roasted sweet corn with a second scoop of a berry flavor. I’m lucky enough to visit Columbus a few times a year, and was super-excited when they had a stand at Farm-Aid in Hershey a couple years ago. I’m sure the pop-up will get quite a workout!

  • I met Jeni at a small book signing here in CA a couple of years ago. She is incredibly down-to-earth and so sweet. I can sense just by reading her books how passionate she is about her craft. I’m enjoying her second book and can’t wait to make the mochi cake!

  • I was recently in Chicago, and made sure to visit Jeni’s! The key lime fro-yo was seriously incredible. Needless to say, loved learning a little more about Jeni + her awesome team!

  • Oh I am a huge fan of Jeni’s ice creams; they are simply yummilicious. You know I bought that book (Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts) and even tried some of the desserts but the taste wasn’t similar; though it was good. May be it is the magic of hands or something trained art. Thanks for sharing this :)

  • I have a brand-spanking-new ice cream maker and with it bought Jeni’s first book…roasted strawberry buttermilk is up for later today! So good, so good.

  • I am embarrassed to say that until this moment I thought this ice cream was made by Jenny Craig! The logos are so similar that I never even noticed the different spelling. I’ve thought it odd that people are raving about diet ice cream : ) Now I’ll have to try it!

  • Jeni’s is my favorite, so jealous the ice cream tasters! Hoping to meet her at a book signing in Chicago this weekend.