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EMDH, Dining Commons celebrate April Fool’s Day with a creative ice cream treat

by Alice

Illinois State University’s dining centers and Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality (EMDH) marked April Fools’ Day with a delightful twist, demonstrating that ice cream can be a canvas for creativity and culinary innovation.

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Dubbed “This is NO Joke!”, the event orchestrated by Samantha Schultz, EMDH’s assistant director of marketing and communications, and Morgan Tarmann, a registered dietitian nutritionist, showcased an array of unconventional ice cream toppings that left students and staff pleasantly surprised.

As co-chairs of the dining special events committee for EMDH, Schultz and Tarmann spearheaded initiatives aimed at infusing excitement and variety into the dining experience for meal plan holders and guests.

Scheduled on April Fools’ Day, “This is NO Joke!” was anything but a typical prank; rather, it served as a platform for embracing novelty and pushing the boundaries of flavor combinations.

Inspiration for the event stemmed from EMDH’s executive chef, Matt Horton, who drew inspiration from viral videos featuring daring culinary experiments, particularly those involving peculiar ice cream toppings.

With a plethora of options to consider, the team meticulously curated toppings commonly found in the dining centers. After rigorous testing, a trio of bold choices emerged: Mike’s Hot Honey with chili crisp, balsamic vinegar glaze, and Hot Cheetos, all served atop velvety vanilla ice cream.

“This gave students an opportunity to sample unique flavor profiles and experiment with ingredients they may not typically encounter,” remarked Tarmann.

Schultz emphasized the event’s aim to break the monotony of everyday dining and introduce students to novel culinary experiences. “Most people cannot say they have tried ice cream topped with Hot Cheetos until this,” she remarked.

By listing the avant-garde toppings on menu boards and including them in the online menu database NetNutrition, the organizers ensured transparency and encouraged adventurous palates.

Far from being a mere prank, “This is NO Joke!” sought to challenge preconceived notions about ice cream while fostering a positive and memorable food experience for participants. “Instead of it being a joke or pranking people into trying gross food, it is quite the opposite,” Schultz affirmed. “The combinations taste pretty good together, so we were bringing a positive food experience to April Fools’ Day.”

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