Our person in spotlight this week brings up the topic of true callings. Or better yet, true callings that lead way to other true callings.
For close to twenty-five years, Salli Wason has been rocking out with her heart (and many times her person) cloaked in denim and leather. Wason has shredded the most recent years with hard rock and metal bands Sinferno, Man-Witch and Hatchetface & the Vipers. All along the way during the day, she’s been working with food at restaurants, catering companies and bakeries.
In 2009, she joined the vintage heavy metal outfit, Hessian. Not content with playing just at Geno’s, the band would go on to tour around the U.S. and overseas. Wason had a good run with Hessian. Then in 2016, she swapped the devil horns for waffle cones. She stepped aside from the band and launched a quickly well loved local business, Rosanna’s Ice Cream. Wason will meet you all the way; her business delivers! Ice cream delivery? Life is good!
How did Rosanna’s come together?
I fell into ice cream more or less by accident. Courtney MacIsaac, my boss at The Maine Lobster Bake Company got a case of heavy cream in an order by accident. She couldn't use it, so she offered it to me to see if I could do anything with it. I did some reading and some experimenting (I absolutely LOVE the scientific part of this job!).
Within a couple of weeks, I had ironed out a lot of issues and began producing some interesting and highly edible semifreddo (an Italian dessert that most closely resembles a frozen mousse). Then, someone was kind enough to lend me a Cuisinart ice cream maker and I reformulated my ideas to work with that. I was able to make about three pints a day. After a month or two, I outgrew that machine and upgraded to a sweet little Italian number that turns out about ten pints an hour.
You’re a TOTO fan as much as a metal fan. Otherwise it might have been called Melissa’s? (Sorry non-metal fans. Mercyful Fate reference there). Nice to see you keep the music touch.
Just before I decided to go legit, my boyfriend Tim and I who are both massive TOTO fans saw them play at Town Hall in Manhattan and got to meet them. They were so sweet and cool. It was such an overwhelmingly positive experience. The nebulous idea I had about naming my little company Rosanna's after the TOTO song was cemented.
But what would Lemmy think?
Lemmy surely had a bit of a sweet tooth with all those Jack & Cokes! I should totally make a Lemmy ice cream.
Love it! I’d suggest coffee (looking) with a dash of cola flavor and just two raisinettes on top close together! Maybe add a coupon for a free pack of smokes.
Did the boom in the local food/restaurant scene inspire or encourage you at all?
I can't say that it had any effect on my decision to start making ice cream, although it has raised public interest in such things I'm sure, and increased the resources for people like me to get off the ground. I make ice cream because people love ice cream, and bringing amazing ice cream right to peoples' doors is fun! Nobody comes to the door with a scowl.
How do you operate the business right now?
It’s just me down at Fork Food Lab in Bayside. I post what I've made on the Rosanna's Ice Cream Facebook page. Then, at night I switch gears and start answering texts and phone call orders. At , I start delivering and stay open to orders until . Summer, my oldest daughter is helping me with my social media marketing and presence. Sasha, my youngest, is starting this week as a production assistant and second delivery driver. Thank goodness for my girls! The plan, after all, was to build this into a family business.
Are you more of a sweet tooth or a full on foodie?
I would consider myself mainly a sweet tooth or perhaps a SugarWitch, as Tim calls me.
What flavors do you offer?
I have about thirty (not all available regularly). Top sellers lately: Chocolate-dipped Strawberry (strawberry ice cream with a fudge ripple), Crunchy Frog, for Monty Python fans! (peanut butter ice cream with house made peanut butter cups and chocolate covered pretzels), Thai Iced Tea and Grape Nut. I try to keep at least one vegan option on hand each week.
What’s the most heavy metal ice cream flavor overall?
Holy cow, I'd have to say the most metal of ice cream flavors would have to be the black licorice ice creams I encountered in Scandinavia when I was touring over there.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far Salli?
Time and money. I'm bootstrapping the entire affair. I’ve sold a bunch of guitars and gear to help get Rosanna's off the ground. I have a GoFundMe campaign going to try to raise enough capital to keep me rolling until it starts sustaining itself. We can't make enough to appease the customers in the time we have allotted, and we keep selling out!
Is your vision to eventually go as big as possible or stay regionally strong?
I would love to stay regionally strong, have an ice cream truck and maybe a storefront at some point. I want to build this into something with real staying power, like Garside's in Saco who've been there for 50 years! I want my great grandkids to keep making Rosanna's Ice Cream and enjoy the legacy.
And of course we gotta know, what’s your all-time favorite flavor?
Since I was a little kid, Cookies n Cream!
Visit and order from Rosanna’s on Facebook /rosannasicecream