After last month’s report on the greatest gelato maker in New York, turns out Meredith Kurtzman has decided not to retire after all: In an about-face, she’s helming the gelato and ice cream production at MilkMade, Diana Hardeman’s Carroll Gardens shop started in 2009 as a subscription service that became a full-fledged ice cream parlor in 2015. Following Hardeman’s return to work after a stroke, the shop is relaunching June 23.
Turns out, Kurtzman — who was hired to start today to “facilitate excellence” in carrying out Hardeman’s ideas — ended up at MilkMade after being connected by a mutual friend. The friend knew about Kurtzman’s leaving Al Di La Trattoria in Park Slope as well as Hardeman’s wanting to relaunch — and that Hardeman wasn’t up to the hours and demands of full-time ice cream making as she continues to recover.
With an eye on her health, the 30-something Hardeman wanted to build a stronger team, so she has paired Kurtzman to work with Taylor Barry in the kitchen and staffed up business and marketing, too.
What a boon for MilkMade. The 66 year-old Kurtzman, whose attention to the details of gelato-making prompted former employer Joe Bastianich to declare that she’s an artisan of the highest sort in his 2012 memoir Restaurant Man. “There’s nothing quite like it. No one in the United States of America is even fucking close,” he wrote.
Kurtzman, who worked at Otto Enoteca Pizzeria for a decade, put the place on the map as a gelato destination in the early 2000s. Fast-forward to the present, as she’d been getting up at 4:30 a.m. for work at Al Di La, which she left earlier this month.
For longtime fans, do not worry: MilkMade will continue with ice cream subscriptions, which are $35 a month for two pints, a note from the staff, two flavor-of-the-month magnets, and delivery; no flavors are ever repeated for members. MilkMade’s retail hours will be from Sunday to Thursday 1 to 10 p.m. and weekends until 11 p.m.