UDairy sundae takes home Food Network gold
While being filmed for the new Food Network show, “Eating America with Anthony Anderson,” the UDairy Creamery shattered all preconceived notions of traditional ice cream sundae-making.
Featured in the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival on June 29 in Wilmington, the university’s creamery beat out 10 other contenders to take home the title of “Best Sundae on Sunday.” The episode showcasing the creamery’s monster of a dessert will air on Sept. 15 at 10:30 p.m.
After registering UDairy for the ice cream festival for the fourth year, creamery manager Melinda Litvinas and assistant manager Jennifer Rodammer were contacted by the festival promoters about the Food Network’s interest in filming the festival and featuring a segment on “Eating America.”
The show, which first premiered on July 28, highlights food festivals across the country.
Although UDairy Creamery’s participation in the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival was nothing new for Litvinas and Rodammer, the national exposure took them out of their element.
“Of course we said yes, because the Food Network is awesome,” Rodammer says.
After committing to the show, Litvinas was put in touch with the producers, who held preliminary interviews first and later conducted more in-depth interviews with the vendors to learn more about the backstory of each location.
The UDairy Creamery was one of three creameries selected to be featured in its own segment. A camera crew filmed the front of the store, the back where production occurs as well as throughout South Campus.
“Our biggest push was the whole student-run business,” Rodammer says. “It’s very unique. You don’t see that anywhere else.”
Senior Peter Milliken was one of the students present during filming.
“It was a good time,” Milliken says. “I think everyone was a little on edge about it, but in a funny way, because we weren’t sure if wanted to joke around and do the stuff we normally do in the back or if we wanted to try and make it more serious. And everyone’s trying to avoid spilling things, and it’s just funny.”
Due to limited space, the creamery does not typically make sundaes for customers, but the challenge to create a noteworthy and delicious dessert for the competition seemed to pose no problem for the team. Through collaboration with the student employees and management, the UDairy team created a decadent sundae with a carnival theme.
The finished product, aptly named “The Rockwood Carnival Cardiac Craze” left nothing to be desired among sweet-toothed customers. Funnel cake formed the foundation of the sundae, followed by three flavors of ice cream—“Junk in the Tree Trunk,” “Caramel Corn” and “Nanner Nutter.” The sundae was then loaded with salted caramel, homemade caramel corn with bacon, candied apples, Oreo whipped cream and topped off with a fried Oreo instead of a maraschino cherry.
“For us to make sundaes was definitely a unique experience,” Litvinas says. “They want things to be exciting and extreme and pretty intense, so we took everything they had to say to heart. It paid off though.”
Five taste-testing judges deemed UDairy the winning creamery. Litvinas and Rodammer were awarded a “Best Sundae on Sunday” trophy, which is now on display at the creamery.
Litvinas called the win “unexpected” seeing as ten creameries were vying for the trophy.
Milliken was surprised by the creamery’s win as well.
“I just didn’t expect anything like that—that we could win it,” he says. “I just thought that would be too good to be true.”
Although “Eating America” host and actor Anthony Anderson was not present for the actual judging of the sundae, Litvinas and Rodammer conducted a demonstration with him and showed him how to make the dessert.
“He liked that we were very young and that we were very friendly and willing to crack jokes and just make it fun,” Rodammer says.
The producers of the show also took notice of the UDairy team’s sense of humor and willingness to crack jokes, Rodammer says.
Because the university’s creamery supports a non-competitive outlook against other local creameries, this is a first “win” and moment of national recognition for the business.
“[We’re] non-profit, so we don’t seek out business,” Litvinas says. “We don’t advertise or market outside of the university. We never have.”
Latvinas says to receive national publicity is huge for the creamery, especially since the show highlights the student-oriented aspect of UDairy.
The winning sundae has already been made into a single ice cream flavor option, available on the creamery’s menu. It includes an apple base, funnel cake pieces, caramel corn, bacon and an Oreo swirl.
“I don’t know what our plan is for next year as far as the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival,” Rodammer says. “I have a feeling the Food Network thing won’t happen again. They might make it an annual thing, though, and if that’s the case, I’m sure we will compete.”