Food Jobs: Ice Cream Entrepreneur

Yes! — It is possible to spend hundreds of hours in the classroom and thousands of dollars as a student in a professional culinary school and, upon graduation, have not even the faintest glimmering of an idea about a future career.

Meet Ms. Puzzled.

I tried and tried to delve into the recesses of Ms. P’s heart to help her arrive at a possible career path. Not a flicker of interest in any of my ideas lit her fire. In despair, I suggested she take a look at the list of 150 professions at the beginning of my book, FOOD JOBS. I asked her to cross off every option that didn’t interest her.

When next we met, she declared: “Ice Cream!”

Hmmm! Have you noticed that when you go on vacation, there is always one store that has a line outside? It’s the ice cream shop.

The Soda Fountain by Norman Rockwell

Maybe it is nostalgia for a Norman Rockwell ice cream parlor with its green marble counter, the brass foot rail and two kids perched on swiveling stools sipping a soda with two straws. Maybe it’s a longing for homemade, hand churned ice cream. Maybe its simply almost everyone loves ice cream.

Here’s another fascinating fact: Each American consumes a yearly average of 23.2 quarts of ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, ices and other commercially produced frozen dairy products.

Ice cream worldwide sales are anticipated to reach $65 billion this year. The category is dominated by Nestlé which owns Haagen Dazs and Dreyers. Unilever owns Breyers and Ben & Jerry’s, and Baskin-Robbins is a unit of Dunkin Brands.

So Ms. P has decided to open a small ice cream shop at the seaside.

She did some research yet she is much more interested in Heston Blumenthal’s idea of bacon and egg ice cream. But what got her totally lit up was a web site posting about Chin Chin‘s that bills itself as Europe’s first nitro ice cream parlor, Chin Chin is half confectionery, half mad science lab.”

Now Ms. P is dreaming of  opening her own place; one that will combine the past and the future of ice cream, and a couple of eye-catching flavor names.

When it comes to food names, Ben & Jerry takes the prize for originality. The company employs a Primal Ice Cream Therapist whose task it is to dream up new flavors. This is no laughing matter.

When the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor was launched in 1991, it was a breakthrough in the ice cream business, and Wavy Gravy and Cherry Garcia launched the enterprise into the stratosphere which just proves what Ben & Jerry said all along: “The ‘90s are the ‘60s standing on your head and we are all the same person trying to shake hands with ourselves.”

The next step is to read The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Leibowitz.

Then, she must dream up a name for the business and speak to the bank. She could offer to the loan officer the  information that the average number of licks to polish off a single scoop ice cream cone is approximately 50. That should clinch the deal.

Finally I whispered a word of warning for Ms. P., who has morphed into Ms. Determined: when the tourists go home and the school bell rings and Jack Frost nips, it may be necessary to switch from Ice Cream to candy apples, hot cider and warm winter soups with homemade bread and hand churned butter.

Or she could locate her store in a location where the sun shines every day.

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