I got fired. No really, that was the beginning of the journey. At the time, after the 15 minutes I cried, before pulling up my boot straps, it was unimaginable. I mean, not completely unimaginable. But everything happens for a reason. I strongly believe that with bad comes good, but I had no idea it was going to be this good...and delicious.
I started a process development consulting company and worked with a dear friend consulting at large companies on their process and product development activities. It was a great next step, but I was unfulfilled. I was no longer rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty. I needed something more.
A client trip came up out of the blue. It was a one-off project that was right up my alley. I was to fly to Idaho to help her evaluate a process and the problems they were running up against to determine a solution. Our flight was delayed and I was rerouted. On this plane I opened the on flight magazine and there it was. A colorful article on the "creamery scene" popping up on the West Coast. All the greats were featured. I could not contain my excitement. I have always wanted to use my degree to work in the food industry, strictly because I have a major sweet tooth and would be more than happy to get bonuses via sweet treats, but my path had not veered this way ...yet. I couldn't wait to get home, dust off the ice cream attachment that came with my kitchen aid mixer I got years before from my family as a wedding gift, and get to work.
And that was the beginning to our current narrative. No training, no prior knowledge of ice cream making, no recipes handed down. Just a lab notebook (for documenting my process development) and a calculator. I often have people tell me how different my world now must be versus where I started out my career. That couldn't be further from the truth. I use the same principles day in and day out in the kitchen as I did as an engineer. I manage production, develop processes, improve on processes, react to changes in materials, develop solutions for changes in materials, the list goes on. The product is different, not the process. I strongly believe having no prior training has provided me with no preconceived rules to ice cream making, which allows me to push the boundaries on how we make our ice cream today.
So that is the long hard truth to the beginning. No roses and unicorns. Hard work, bumps, bruises, and ice cream.