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Student teams create unique ice cream flavors in popular food science course

The annual competition blends food science and creativity

Eight student teams in Food Science 1101 created their own ice cream flavors for a melt-in-your-mouth final project. Channi Sacks, 5, savors the sweet job of judging student ice creams from the Food Science 1101 class.

Astronomy meets gastronomy in an annual ritual for the Food Science 1101 introductory course, where eight student teams created and scooped ice cream Nov. 30 for a melt-in-your-mouth final project. Judges scrutinized and savored the flavors to pick the winner: Cosmos, a sweet purple nod to late Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan.

For this year’s assignment, the theme was “Your Inner Child,” with the ice creams geared toward kids. In addition to the grown-up judges, Gavin Sacks, the professor of food science who teaches the class, brought in authentic kids to serve on the panel.

And the children, ages 5 to 9, didn’t hold back. When served with the first team’s ice cream – Cosmos, the eventual winner – Iona Fellman, 9, remarked, “It’s edible, I hope.” It was edible: Cosmos featured açai flavoring, red and blue dye, coconut flakes, a milk chocolate swirl and edible star sprinkles.

While Cosmos won the judging, Party Animal ice cream won the Kids’ Choice Award. The exceptionally pink Party Animal featured birthday cake batter flavoring, frosted animal cookies and rainbow sprinkles.

When the Party Animal team finished its presentation, the group offered to answer questions from the judges. Toby Hazlitt, 7, raised his hand: “Do you know exactly how many sprinkles you put in?”

Ice cream aficionado Iona Fellman, 9, enjoys one of the flavors. Photo by Robert Barker.

Other teams offered Cinnamon Crunch Time, Peanut Butter Monkey Bars, Big Red Banana Split, I Scream for Breakfast, Hot Lava Monster and An Apple a Day.

The Cosmos group originally considered peanut butter and jelly flavors, “but we figured the peanut butter flavor may be too strong,” said team member Jacob Warfield ’20. The team opted for a space theme and sought a flavor that could lend itself to purple coloring, he said. Team members Melissa Page ’20 and Sage Lochhead ’20 thought açai – a berry that finishes like a chocolate – would be interesting.

In addition to Lochhead, Page and Warfield, Cosmos team members were Nisheel Amin ’21, Harry Fink ’21, Wesley Jacobsson ’21, Isabelle Leonard ’21, Isabelle Li ’21 and Anjali Saini ’21.

Party Animal team members were Emily Ablin ’18, Christine Altomare ‘21, Joyce Cao ’18, Kalen Chang ’20, Leah Forrest ’18, Lucia Gomez ’18, Renee Lee ‘21, Elisabeth Silletto ‘21, Nika Ostovar Sirjani ‘19, and Jane Wei ’18.

Other kid judges were Mikkel Nugen, 5; Katie Hazlitt, 5; Cypress O’Brien, 5, and Channi Sacks, 5.

Undaunted by collegiate pressure, Katie Hazlitt, 5, provides her professional opinion while judging an ice cream flavor. Photo by Robert Barker.

The grown-up judges were Julie Goddard ’99, Ph.D. ’08, associate professor of food science; Shanna Moore, Ph.D. ’04; Sam Nugen, M.S. ’99, Ph.D. ’08, associate professor of food science; Heather Scott, plant science; Justine Vanden Heuvel, associate professor of plant science; and Joe Regenstein, emeritus professor of food science.

Within the next month, Cosmos ice cream will be presented to Senior Executive Chef Steve Miller, director of Cornell’s culinary operations, and members of his Cornell Dining team. Following Miller’s approval, Cosmos will be ready for Cornell Dairy production, where it will be available at the Dairy Bar and at other campus dining locations. It will be served at Slope Day.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.