Hit the ‘like’ button: Facebook chef visits creamery to learn ice cream making

Amy Duke
March 10, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As an executive pastry sous chef at Facebook’s New York City location, George McKirdy enjoys trying new recipes to tempt employees’ taste buds.

Last year, for instance, McKirdy and his colleagues made gelato, which proved to be a hit with the social media company’s East Coast workforce. Now the team is looking to open a larger-scale ice cream production facility to serve its West Coast offices. To learn more about how to set up this type of operation, they turned to the experts at the Penn State Berkey Creamery.

“One of my managers encouraged me to check out Penn State’s creamery because it is one of the best in the country,” said McKirdy, who is part of the Facebook culinary management team that oversees pastry teams in five eastern states.

Tom Davis, creamery manager, was glad to help and recently gave McKirdy a behind-the-scenes look at how the creamery makes its ice cream, from cow to cone. He explained the various pieces of equipment needed for production, including pasteurizers, homogenizers, mixers and, of course, freezers. McKirdy also sampled a few of the creamery’s most popular flavors, including Happy Happy Joy Joy.

“We are always happy to share our knowledge with people in the industry to help improve ice cream making,” said Davis, who pointed to online learning and in-person workshops hosted by the Department of Food Science in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The most popular of these offerings is the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course, a week-long course in ice cream science that is offered annually in January, with about 130 visitors from all over the world attending more than 20 workshops on specialized areas of ice cream technology — including flavoring, refrigeration, freezing and hardening techniques, and the manufacture of frozen yogurt and novelty frozen desserts.

Since the beginning, the course has attracted more than 4,500 participants from every state in the nation and every continent except Antarctica. McKirdy hopes to advance his knowledge by attending the next ice cream short course.

Penn State’s Berkey Creamery, the largest university creamery in the United States, produces ice cream, cheese, milk, yogurt, sour cream and a variety of other products, such as juices, lemonade and iced teas, made for sale and distribution to the University community.

Cows from Penn State’s dairy herd provide milk for the creamery’s fresh dairy products, averaging about four days from “cow to cone.” For more information, visit https://creamery.psu.edu.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 04, 2020