Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavor Creator || Job Goals

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavor Creator || Job Goals


– One more bite for the camera.
– One more bite of coffee fudge. My name is Eric Fredette. I am
a Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Guru, and I have the best job in the
whole world. I was working previously at
the manufacturer of cookie dough pieces for cookie dough
ice cream, so I had met the entire team here. And then when
a position opened up I called and said, “Hey. Let’s make
ice cream.” Everyone asks the same questions
when you tell them that you make ice cream for a living: “Which
flavors do you make?” and “Where is it? Do you have some
in the freezer right now?” And I don’t usually, so… I go to the grocery store and I
look in the freezer case and I go, “That one’s mine, that
one’s mine, that one’s mine, that one’s mine…” Rockin’ Blondies, Peanut Butter
Half Baked, Peanuts and Popcorn. PB and J, I thought was amazing.
People didn’t get it. The Brownie Batter Core was
mine. Chocolate Therapy… If you like chocolate, that is
your flavor. I’m in trouble all the time when
friends come over and there’s no ice cream. So, a typical day: first thing
in the morning, 9am, you are sitting in the cutting room,
tasting ice cream. No coffee, you want a clean palate for
that. Some mornings, very early, you could be on the factory
floor testing something new or making a new item for the
first time. Then, usually coffee. Getting ingredients out, setting
up machines, and then usually afternoons, back to either
meetings or I usually like to make ice cream in the afternoon. All right, we’re going to get
some mix and we’re goin’ to
get started. So today, we have this awesome
breakfast stout and we’re goin’ add enough to flavor the mix. I would like a little more beer
flavor. So, we’re going to use this
bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup. This is the point of no return.
Once the ice cream is out, we can’t put it back in. It’s nice to come in and be
able to make something that no one potentially will
ever see. The best moment ever. I don’t tell people what I’m
working on. I don’t even tell my wife what I’m working on
‘cause she’s been known to spill the beans at gatherings. Um, so, I just don’t tell her
anymore. I bring home all the new stuff and it’s
like a surprise when I bring it home, so it’s
much better that way. So, we are at the Downtown Scoop
Shop. It’s our flagship store in Burlington, Vermont. It’s always fun to come down
and see our consumers pick something that potentially I
have made and the joy on their face when they get
the first lick on their cone. This is Truffle Kerfuffle. The salted ganache swirl
cuts the sweetness and the pecans are also salted so
you get that salty-sweet balance and the vanilla
ice cream. I talk a lot, but I developed
the flavor so I get to talk about it. Spoons are right here. I’m one of eight children, so
there was always meals for 10 on the table that needed to be
made, so I started cooking very early. I guess I was encouraged,
almost, to play with my food. I feel the things that I liked
at as a child I still love because they’re nostalgic. They
bring back good memories. It evokes an emotional
response, usually. I remember my first ice cream
project when I first started. First day, the director comes
out, is like, “We’re going to start a line of low fat
ice creams, and you’re going to make
those happen. It was epic. It was like so much
fun for me, and it’s pretty much been the same for the next
21 years. We have a full-on flavor
graveyard at the Waterbury site. I do have flavors that are in
the graveyard, and we put one to rest last summer, I think it
was. I made Rainforest Crunch, which
was a beloved flavor that is in the graveyard. And I got to
preside over the ceremony as the clergy. We had mourners
and everything. I’m constantly looking at
several food blogs in my inbox every day. The magazines
at the checkout at the grocery store. New restaurant openings.
The things that I see as edgy and new, I definitely try to
adopt and figure out a way to make it work. Everybody has an idea. We get
some of our best ideas from people just off the cuff saying,
“This would be really cool in ice cream.” Chunky Monkey.
Chubby Hubby. Cherry Garcia. All fan write-ins, so we
want your ideas. They’re great. There are definitely some
flavors that I thought would be amazing that didn’t really
work out. Peanuts and popcorn is probably
a really good example. So, caramel corn and toffee
peanuts, right, like Cracker Jacks. After a couple weeks and
popcorn gets soggy, not so good. You can tell if someone really
loves what they do by what they produce. And when you love it,
no matter what it is… drawing, art, just anything… If you
love it, you can tell by the finished product. I do make the best ice
cream in the world, there’s no doubt about it. My job is my therapy. And I do need a lot of therapy
some days.

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