Apprenticeship at PSU: Ice cream, a good cause and life lessons

By BEA LEWIS
Sunday News Correspondent
December 08. 2017 5:53PM
The Dairy Delights - Molly Daigle of West Hartford, Conn., Libby Belanger of Norway, Maine, Megan Brooks of Scarborough, Maine, and Lynnette Faure of Frelinghuysen, N.J. - were the overall winners in the Plymouth State / Common Man Apprentice Program's ice cream taste-off. (Bea Lewis/Sunday News Correspondent)

PLYMOUTH - Ice cream and charitable giving proved to be a good mix last Thursday when hundreds of people packed the Common Man Inn to sample 14 flavors of the frozen confection made by Plymouth State University students.

This year's challenge for students in the PSU/Common Man Apprentice Program was to create an alluring flavor for children, and given the theme, the winning team was given the honor of donating $1,000 to their favorite children's charity.

Fourteen teams comprised 72 students including business majors in the university's Innovation and Entrepreneurship cluster, but also included majors from across other clusters including mathematics, criminal justice, communications studies, adventure education, health education, tourism management and psychology.

The Dairy Delights team was the overall winner on the strength of its crowd-pleasing flavor "Bake Sale," comprised of cookie batter and brownie bits. The team selected the New Hampshire Children's Trust, whose mission is to eliminate child abuse and neglect, as the recipient of the $1,000 prize.

The People's Choice Award winner was "Rocky Blue," a fudge swirl and Oreo blend, crafted by the White Mountain Scoops.

"It's my favorite food group," said Kathleen Sabens of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., as she ate ice cream at the event. She and her husband, Kai, were staying at the inn celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary so they decided to join in the fun and sample the ice cream.

Brianna Warnick of Derry, and Dustin Connors, of Natick, Mass., two of the PSU students on the team that made the "Sweet Dream" ice cream the Sabens were enjoying, said they taste-tested their first batch at the Plymouth Youth Center.

As their chosen charity was Special Olympics, they invited Special Olympians to the event to sample their blue concoction that contained fudge brownies, chocolate pretzels and cake batter.

Trisha Bradbury, 11, of Gilmanton, said her favorite flavor was "Bake Sale," while her friend, Anna Brownlee, 11, of Belmont, favored "Fluffernutter Swirl."

Jake Manning of Dedham, Mass., a senior marketing major at PSU donned a Hawaiian shirt and leis to help showcase his team's entry, "Under The Sea" - a white ice cream base with crushed Oreos, cookie dough and a chocolate swirl.

"It's the first time we've had the experience of putting what we learned into action," Manning said.

Ken Hudson of Lisbon, a business administration major at PSU was busy scooping out samples of his team's "Birthday Bash."

"It's been a lot of fun. Once we got the concept of the birthday idea it was a breeze and we really ran with it."

The apprentice program starts with team formation and then involves going through all of the phases of product development, market research, branding, packaging, and promotion. The project provides the context for applying the soft skills of management including team building, communication, managing diversity, sharing leadership, performance management, motivation, and more, according to Dr. Bonnie Bechard who teaches Organizational Behavior classes.

En route to the Thursday's public tasting event, students gave a formal boardroom presentation to a panel of professional judges. Teams were also judged on their packaging, promotion and booth display.

Thursday's tasting wasn't limited to just ice cream however, as culinary professionals from the Common Man Family of Restaurants had sampling tables offering up menu items ranging from loaded cornbread to Tuscan chicken legs.

For the pros, the highlight of the night was an "Iron Chef"-style contest in which competitors had to create first an appetizer and then an entrée using secrets ingredients that were then judged on color, flavor and nutritional value. Chefs were given just 20 minutes to create each dish in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Chef Tony Moretto of the Tilt'n Diner in Tilton, was the winner.
Chef Bobby Welch, executive chef of the diner division of the Common Man Family of Restaurants, left, stands with Chef Tony Moretto of the Tilt'n Diner in Tilton, who won the Iron Chef competition. (Erica Auciello Murphy/Common Man)


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