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'Sweet Cornell' ice cream evokes sesquicentennial

judges taste ice cream
Lindsay France/University Photography
Judging the ice creams for the sesquicentennial, from left, Steve Miller, Kathryn Boor, Olga Padilla-Zakour, Isaac Kramnick and Tim Andon listen to team presentations at the PepsiCo Auditorium in Stocking Hall, Dec. 2.
students present
Lindsay France/University Photography
Students in Food Science 1101 provide background details for the judges on their apple and maple flavored ice cream.

Inspired by the charm of swaying corn growing on an upstate farm and recalling 150 years of agricultural science, students in Food Science 1101 developed an ice cream worthy of Cornell’s sesquicentennial: Sweet Cornell.

With a base of light, sweet corn-flavor ice cream and a hint of salted caramel, the ice cream’s complex taste profile was admired by the judges. “Sweet Cornell was a sophisticated flavor, and it was very unexpected,” said judge Tim Andon ’06, business development manager for TIC Gums, in White Marsh, Maryland. “This flavor was very much on trend, mixing sweet and savory into a high-end, boutique-style ice cream. It works very well.”

In the latest rendition of a tasty tradition, 97 students in Cornell’s introductory food science course split into eight teams for a final course project to create the official Cornell sesquicentennial ice cream. Sweet Cornell will be introduced in the spring 2015 semester at sesquicentennial events, the Dairy Bar, the New York City campuses and at graduation in May.

Joe Wilensky/Cornell Chronicle
Students calibrate their flavors in the pilot plant in Stocking Hall, as they prepare ice cream for the Food Science 1101 final semester project.

Beyond making ice cream, the students grasp the complexity of making a tasty frozen treat, hone their marketing and teamwork skills, and practice their presentation competence. In the class, taught by senior lecturer Alicia Orta-Ramirez, the students heard Rob Ralyea, senior extension associate, explain how to make ice cream; Corey Earle, associate director of student programs, provide Cornell’s history and ideas for ice cream themes; and Andon lecture on marketing and what appeals to consumers.

Two other teams featured apple and champagne flavors in their ice cream, while another paired apple and maple, and another team used peppermint. Because the sesquicentennial flavor was destined for individual cups – to be served at events – teams could not use variegates (swirls) or inclusions (pieces).

Said Orta-Ramirez about the winner: “This flavor was a pleasant surprise. With the corn and salted caramel combination, the Sweet Cornell team really took steps further to think about intricate, novel flavors.”

The Sweet Cornell team included Daniel Caticha ’15, Jenny Chen ’18, Lauren Clark ’17, Ciara Cox ’18, Richard DelPlato ’17, J.J. Erpaiboon ’18, Erynn Johnson ’15, Cameron Krane ’17, Hoggie Kwon ’18, Elana Soclof ’18, Elizabeth Strods ’16 and Aziza Taylor ’18.

Joining Andon in the judging were Isaac Kramnick, the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government and Sesquicentennial Steering Committee member; Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Olga Padilla-Zakour, professor and chair of the Department of Food Science; and Steve Miller, senior executive chef of Cornell Dining.

Media Contact

Melissa Osgood