An icecream dream job

SWEET TREAT: James Oliver is the owner of Holy Moly Ice Cream.
SWEET TREAT: James Oliver is the owner of Holy Moly Ice Cream.

James Oliver is living most people's childhood dream - he owns an icecream factory.

At just 26 the general manager of Holy Moly Ice Cream has already been in business for five years. It started in 2007 when he set out to find a hole in New Zealand's icecream market.

"I decided New Zealanders didn't know a lot about gelato so I went to Italy to learn how to make it," he says.

On his return he created the Zest brand which supplies gelato to top restaurants around the country.

He grew up in Mt Eden and his mother is a pastry chef.

"I've been making desserts and cooking from when I was knee-high.

"It was great growing up, especially when mum was trying out new things. It was a regular occurrence when I was five or six to have 10 or so friends around the kitchen table while she laid out lemon meringue pies and chocolate cakes for us to devour."

Last year he launched his second brand, Holy Moly Ice Cream.

The Penrose-based company makes premium icecream which is sold in supermarkets.

Although his methods and recipes are closely guarded, the production is less about science than it is about ingredients.

"When it comes to icecream it's about a formula. Once you've got a formula you can take it away.

"New Zealanders definitely expect a much creamier product than you would sell in Europe or Asia."

Holy Moly Ice Cream employs around 10 staff and Mr Oliver is responsible for just about every aspect of the business.

"As a general manager you do everything. If a light bulb needs changing you do it, but at the same time you're out there meeting with the customers, and if they need a hand in production you do that as well."

Being the new kid on the block isn't easy.

"Our biggest challenge is Fonterra's involvement in the dairy industry. It's hard to compete when you're a small business, we are fighting them in the supermarkets."

Mr Oliver hopes to start selling Holy Moly Ice Cream overseas in the next couple of years.

The Kaukapakapa resident has a surprisingly slender physique for someone who spends his days around so many sweet treats.

"I do love icecream, you couldn't do the job if you didn't.

"You just have to do a lot of exercise. We joke around here that we should weigh the employees when they start to see how they go," he says.


Some of the crazy flavours James Oliver and his team have come up with are:

● Chocked orange – a mix of orange icecream, chocolate ripple and smashed jaffas

● Doh-Nuts – this vanilla icecream is packed with doughnut bits, caramel ripple and roasted peanuts

● Meringue A'Tang – the Kiwi themed vanilla icecream is full of lemon ripple, pie crumble and smashed pavlova.

East And Bays Courier