Nikita Gruzdev is a self-taught ice cream expert and self-appointed brand ambassador for McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams (728 State St., (805) 324-4402; mcconnells.com). The 4-year-old fan, who’s also my son, jumped at the chance to interview Luis Bermudez, a seasoned McConnell’s scooper, about the sweet life of a professional ice cream man.
My favorite flavor is Golden State Vanilla. What’s your favorite? Mine has got to be the Eureka Lemon & Marionberries. It’s very citrusy and perfect on a hot summer day.
Do you ever ask to get paid in ice cream? During the training process, it’s the trade-off. You get a fair amount of ice cream. So if you’re interested, in the future, there’s a lot of ice cream in it for you.
How do you get a summer job here? We interview people, and we look at their personalities and work ethic. And, of course, they have to love ice cream.
Wow. Do you like doing dishes? We can probably work something out.
Are you nice to your chickens? I know that there are eggs in ice cream because I had an ice cream birthday party and my cousin Maddux couldn’t eat any because he’s allergic to eggs. Chickens love us. We are every chicken’s favorite ice cream. And, we do have a couple of ice creams that are technically sorbets, and they don’t have any eggs in them. So Maddux could definitely eat the Blackberry Lime Sorbet.
How long did you have to grow your muscles to scoop ice cream? It takes a good four years of playing sports in high school, so take advantage of that because that is where you get all the muscles.
When I grow up, I want to be either a fireman or an ice cream scooper. But, probably more a fireman. You can’t go wrong there. We both supply the community with a lot of good.
Not Just Ice Cream
After 65-plus years of making iconic ice cream, the McConnell’s team knows nothing goes better with the cold stuff than pie. So they now offer a variety of made-to-order seasonal baked goods and in-house sauces intended to further elevate their ice cream experience. Jordan Thomas, who helms the McConnell’s bakery, tells about some of her favorites.
Chocolate B-Day Cake: “I’m kind of a purist when it comes to chocolate cake, and this one is pretty killer,” said Thomas, whose simple chocolate buttercream-and-glaze frosting is a go-to for those seeking classic flavors.
Strawberry Rhubarb Milk Jam Ice Cream Pie: “I could eat this for breakfast,” said Thomas, of the salty pretzel crust with a fruit-and-ice-cream pie filling. “I like to use salts and savory nuts in my desserts to balance the sugar.”
Plum Clafoutis: “I don’t have a big sweet tooth,” admitted Thomas, discussing this French custard poured over tangy summer plums. “This has a wonderful tartness that goes well with ice cream.”
Lemon Olive Oil Cake: The lemon cake comes layered with salted-almond ice cream. “I have been playing with citrus a lot,” said Thomas, “but ice cream cakes are always a little tricky. Baking for frozen desserts is a game of its own.”