Orit Tucker, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Taster of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, where she has been working for over 20 years, is already accustomed to the responses she receives when she talks about her work. “People are jealous, just jealous, when they hear what I’m doing,” she says. “They’re also sure that in my freezer there is only ice cream, and that’s true.”
While we all spend the summer months with ice cream in hand, trying new flavors or sticking to the old flavors, there are those who like Tucker, have tasted this ice cream countless times to make sure the sweetness is right, that the nuts are not too big or small, and that the chocolate melts exactly according to protocol. And they also get paid for it.
“It starts with tasting the natural ingredients that make up ice cream: cream, nuts, chocolate, caramel and more,” says Tucker. “The second stage of tasting happens during the ice cream production process, where you taste the fresh ice cream produced in the factory in the industrial area in Beer Tuvia. The most fun is the final product, which combines all the different flavors I taste every day. Now, for example, we went with vegan ice cream ‘Caramel “Sutra, so there was a set of tastings. Another new flavor came out called Gimme S’more, an ice cream based on marshmallows with lots of toppings like cookie crumbs and pieces of fudge.”
Although the company’s ice creams are made according to an exact American recipe, Tucker says they still have to be tasted all the time. “There are a lot of things that can only be tasted,” she explains, “such as if there is suddenly an inappropriate taste in ice cream. We have already figured out that we sculpted and re-prepared it.”
Do new flavors excite you?
“It’s the most fun in the world, and I say it after over 20 years in the field. Every morning I get up and know that only good and sweet things are waiting for me. The new flavors are the most fun, but there are also the existing and old flavors, which also continue to taste all Every time you have the renewed fun of tasting the ‘cookie dough’ or ‘chunky monkey’ ice cream (vanilla, walnuts, chocolate fudge and banana – ashes). It never got tired. It’s fun that never ends. “
Are you not afraid of gaining weight?
“I just taste, I do not eat (laughs), and of course I have other teams that do it. For me it is a teaspoon and a trash can, but I do not count how many such teaspoons I taste a day.”
As part of her work, Tucker is sometimes called by people who miss one taste or another that is no longer produced. “We have the ‘Cemetery for Tastes’ project, where we cherish our favorite flavors that are no longer there,” she says. “Every year we live a taste that no longer exists. We ask customers what flavor they would like, and according to the majority answers they decide what to revive. This year, for example, the taste ‘Cherry Garcia’ returned – cherry ice cream with cherries and chocolate.”
The shoemaker is barefoot
“I taste a lot of ice cream, I estimate that about a pound a day,” he also says Yoav Goldberg, Director and Chief Taster of the Legenda Ice Cream Network, which has 21 branches across the country. “Some days I get ‘poisoning’ of ice cream, but to my great joy I do not gain weight. It’s probably genes I got from my grandfather. It starts with the first stage where you want to choose the taste, whether it’s ideas that come from your head, ideas you see in other worlds. On the taste, then on the ingredients, and then you start making the night of the ice cream you want to make. “
When does the sense of taste enter the picture?
“I taste the batter itself, I see that it suits the taste we want. In apropo ice cream, for example, one of the ingredients is apropo. So I want to make sure that the apropo flavor is not too strong or too anemic. I and the chain’s owner, Dudu Mina, check this before The process of scalding (freezing – ES) and also during the process. On average it can take a month until we reach the desired taste because it is important for us to reach the right texture and the right flavors. We also pilot for a period of time to see consumer responses. We have over 80 flavors online. We produce the desired flavor, then send the recipe to each branch, and they produce it there. I also go through the branches to taste the ice cream and make sure everything is in order. “
Did you also get to disapprove of flavors?
“Obviously. Even in the simplest taste it takes time to get to the right taste and texture. For example, we now made a popcorn flavor. We had a problem with the texture, which was too hard, was not as good as we wanted. So we canceled and did it again. “Caramel tastes too strong, and we had to get the right combination of sweet and salty.”
Goldberg admits that he has no ice cream at home. “The shoemaker goes barefoot,” he notes. “One of the things that excites him is the fact that” I was the first to taste the ice cream, that I was part of the process of making that ice cream. Sometimes, as mentioned, it takes a very long time to get to the desired taste. When it succeeds, it’s exciting and satisfying. “
From idea to reality
“New flavors can come from several directions,” he says Dennis Gutkin, The technologist, development manager and responsible for tasting the new flavors in the ANITA Group, which includes the Golda chain with 90 branches nationwide, and the ANITA brand, which includes four branches in Israel and eight branches in New York, Australia, Puerto Rico and Barcelona. “For example, we may come across a new raw material that we have not messed with, and we want to produce something with it, such as macadamia nut or pretzel. It can come from popular overseas trends like spirulina or unicorn ice cream, which has several colors in one texture; Or from different inspirations, etc. “
Tell about the process.
“Usually when you make a taste of ice cream, you make it in several versions with different doses. For example nuts in one dose or another, or one size or another, or a salty nut, natural or caramelized, this or that added sugar. So do a taste test that I participate in. Together with everyone who is at that moment: if the taste test is done at the branch, then the workers taste; if at the factory, then everyone who is there tastes. In the end we choose the elements that were more successful, and then produce the final version, which I also taste and confirm “.
On a tasting day, according to Gotkin, it easily reaches a pound-tasting. “We can damage the taste after a day, on the other hand it is possible to reach the desired taste after a lot of trying, and it can last even months,” he says. “In short, there’s not a day that I do not eat ice cream.”
Out of work are you able to taste ice cream?
“Yeah. Everywhere I see a new taste I don’t know, I have to see what it’s about.”
What is expected this summer?
“We continue with the salty and surprising ice cream, such as mascarpone cheese with hyssop crackers. We also really like the nostalgic and childish trend and try to find an interpretation for past snacks. We made, for example, an ice cream coating that tastes like old red bamba, but instead has a crunchy texture. “It comes in a smooth and rich creamy texture. You get the familiar taste, but in a completely different texture.”
How does it feel to be the first to taste the new flavors?
“It’s the greatest fun there is. It’s something I’ve been doing all my life. I love ice cream and I like to see an idea crystallize into reality. It’s a great satisfaction.”
Source: Maariv.co.il – כלכלה בארץ by www.maariv.co.il.
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