When you think of ice cream what comes to mind? Is it going out with your friends on a hot summer day? Or does it take you back to your childhood and if you were good, you headed over to your favourite ice cream spot to be rewarded on your Good Behaviour?
That’s the inspiration behind Toronto’s newest ice cream spot, Good Behaviour. Owners Michael Lam and Eric Chow’s journey into the ice cream world was unique, they truly had to start from the ground up and learn everything new. Their journey embodies change and hard work, but most importantly the meaning of friendship and having fun because at the end of the day, it’s all about the ice cream.
Michael Lam & Eric Chow
Michael and Eric first met in 2019 at the opening of Ascari on King West. At this fine dining Italian spot, Michael was the opening Chef de Cuisine and Eric was the opening General Manager. It was a very large operation and as you can imagine, they came from high-stress roles and constantly under the industry’ pressure. Michael knew how to run the kitchen, while Eric knew how to manage a team, so amidst of all the pandemic lockdowns, they started thinking about opening up their own ice cream spot back in December 2020.
At that point Eric had been managing restaurants for almost 15 years and Michael had been a Chef de Cuisine in other popular Toronto restaurants, but also in New York and Australia. Its safe to say their foot was well in the door in Toronto’s restaurant industry, so when they first told some of their colleagues about the news, there was suspicion.
“When some of our friends and people we worked with asked what we were going to do, it was a shock. It was great that we both had all this experience, but people would kinda scratch their head and like ‘oh…you guys are doing ice cream’,” Michael said.
Why Now? – Understanding The Switch
Even though people had their doubts about Michael and Eric’s plan, they already had it mapped out in their mind. They wanted to do ice cream for a few reasons. First, they knew that coming out of the pandemic a lot of people would be looking for treats that are less then $10, less than 10 minutes to get and less than 10 bites. If you’re having a bad day, ice cream cheers you up and that’s something Michael and Eric always stood by.
“If you’re having a bad day you can go get ice cream. If you’re having a great day you can still go get ice cream. 99% of the people leaving an ice cream spot are always happy, and we wanted to bring that to our spot,” Michael said.
They also wanted to find a product that complimented other industry people they knew. They enjoyed partnering up with other food spots that which both of their products can go hand and hand and at the end of the day, compliment one another. Ice cream goes well with almost everything but not everyone is willing to go through the process, but luckily we got Michael and Eric. And in the spring of this year, Good Behaviour came to life!
“I thought that there was a flaw in both the market and with ice cream itself. The reason I say this is because if you think about your favourite food, there’s usually layers of flavour and contrast of texture. But with ice cream, its just all one flavour and texture. We recognized that flaw and we’re planning with textures like adding crumbs to our ice creams. Its really a game changer,” Michael said.
The Good Behaviour Ice Cream Donut
Both Michael and Eric have mastered the art of creating the perfect ice cream donut sandwich. They use a special press that keeps the ice cream cold on the inside and the donut toasted on the outside. Its nothing I’ve ever experienced before and as I got the chance to try it, I understood the rave.
“We’ve seen ice cream donuts before in the city but nothing like this. We make donuts fresh in the morning, we cut them in half and then we allow the customer choose which ice cream flavour they’d like in the donut. Once we choose that flavour, we take that donut sandwich in our press for 30 seconds and it gives a hot and cold element to your desert. We then take that donut out of the press, glaze it and top it with out signature toppings,” Michael said.
There was a lot of time and dedication put into developing the perfect donut recipe. Michael and Eric said that in one week they tested nine different recipes, each batch containing twelve donuts. They were definitely donuted out! But after a few weeks of recipe tasting, they ended up with this one. Its not too sweet, its fluffy and just enough crunch to bring that texture element back into the ice cream sandwich. Michael said he had to play around with coating the donut with sugar. If there was too much sugar it would be overly sweet, but now they’ve perfected it by sugaring only one side of the donut.
Ice Cream Flavours
They both spend a lot of time in their test kitchen playing around with new and unique ice cream flavours. Although some of them don’t leave the shop, the ones that do knock it out of the park. Ice cream flavours should always bring back a nostalgic feel and for Michael and Eric they have memories of their own.
Michael says he’s favourite flavour is always changing but somehow he’ll never stop loving piña colada. He says its the perfect ice cream for after dinner and it brings back all those vacation feels.
Eric says his favourite flavour is their HK Milk Tea. For him, it brings him back to his childhood and his dad treating him to Milk Tea. He also loves the Torta Della Nonna flavour, he says the flavours of lemon, almond and ricotta are truly outstanding.
Other Flavours Include:
- Strawberry Cheesecake – POPULAR
- Passionfruit Sorbet (Vegan)
- Chocolate Moose Track
- Afternoon Tea
- Cinnamon Toast Cereal – POPULAR
Current Locations & The Future
Good Behaviour is currently location at 146 Christie Street, walking distance from Christie Pits Park, in Kensington Market at 189 Augusta Avenue and at 50 Bloor St. West. All locations are different, yet the same. At the Christie location you see a lot families coming by after dinner and on the weekend. In Kensington, it’s a wildcard because there’s so many people coming in and out of that neighbourhood!
The future is bright for Good Behaviour and they couldn’t have done it without the help of their friends and industry partners. They’re using ice cream as a learning experience for challenges and food ventures they’ve never dealt with before. They’re also leaving management positions and appreciating all things that come with owning a business.
“Its nice that we’re starting to establish some credibility for our Good Behaviour brand and I would love to be recognized for one of the best ice cream places in the city. Best is such a vague term and there’s so many people in the city doing great things but it would be great to be among some of the best,” Michael said.
Good Behaviour just finished their time at the Social Blend in Midtown, but by the beginning of August their permanent home is set to open around Geary and Westmoreland Avenue.
“That one is not a pop-up, its our permeant home. In that space we’ll be able to create our ice cream bases in the back and then we’ll be able to sell it to our customers in the front. Its a two in one which is awesome,” Michael said.
Ice cream flavours like peach cobbler and Mexican corn are in the works at Good Behaviour, and Michael vouches for ice cream being a blank canvas; the sky is the limit and you don’t want to stop there!
Feature Image: Good Behaviour