Rising Star Chef Chad Townsend of Millie's Homemade Ice Cream - Biography

Pittsburgh, PA

November 2016

Pennsylvania native and self-professed food science nerd, Chad Townsend got his start the way a lot of professional chefs do—as a teenager elbow deep in the humbling depths of a restaurant kitchen sink. From the dish pit to the Pitt and it’s restaurant scene, Townsend spent the next several years in some of Pittsburgh’s most influential kitchens, including Eleven and Salt of the Earth. Townsend also jumped the pond for a spell to work in the two star Michelin Yoann Conte restaurant on the shores of Lake Annecy, France.

Just when Townsend was ready to open up his own place, he and his wife (and now business partner) Lauren decided to finish up a date night with some supposedly artisan ice cream. The scoops fell way short of expectations and got his wheels turning. Looking for a way to keep himself busy before opening a restaurant, Townsend convinced his wife to invest in a professional ice cream machine—a piece of equipment that inspired endless creativity and the Townsends’ next business venture, Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream.

The couple set up a 1,200-square-foot, Department of Agriculture-certified production facility that supplies pints to local grocery stores and restaurants. Relying on his chef background, Townsend experiments with seasonal produce and exclusively uses Pennsylvania eggs and nonhomogenized milk to translate high-quality local ingredients into breathtaking scoops. In 2016, the Townsends opened their first brick and mortar on Highland Avenue and have plans to expand throughout the region. Later that year, they won a StarChefs Rust Belt Rising Star Award.