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Getting the scoop on 'The Apprentice'

By JANET KEELER
Published September 23, 2004

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As a marketing tactic, ice cream flavors developed by tycoon wanna-bes on The Apprentice are winners.

As ice creams, we expect them to have the longevity of most reality show contestants, 15 minutes, 30 tops. Who was the fourth-place finisher on American Idol 2? How about the third guy kicked off Survivor in the Australian Outback?

After an informal taste test of Vanilla Dream Donut and Red Velvet ice cream, we think the Donald might have a twofer in the boardroom.

We'd fire them both.

The doughnut ice cream left a bitter aftertaste, something we expect Fort Lauderdale attorney Bradford Cohen experienced after being tossed from the show for being stupid. Red Velvet fared better, but us folks in the South know red velvet as dense chocolate cake with gobs of red food coloring and cloying cream-cheese frosting. This ice cream is white chocolate with raspberry, but we didn't taste much chocolate.

On the show, host Donald Trump commissioned two teams - the male-dominated Mosaic and the mostly female Apex - to develop a flavor and sell it. The team that sold the most ice cream won the challenge.

The guys didn't get much past breakfast, settling on ice cream with chunks of doughnuts in the mix. The women took longer, foreshadowing their miserable experience selling samples in Times Square. (How can you lose an ice cream cart?) After lengthy brainstorming, they settled on red velvet though most of them didn't have an idea about how it would taste.

The guys won the challenge, but it was likely the uniforms - colorful bow ties and shorts - and aggressive hustle that put them on top rather than the ice cream. We didn't see any buyers asking for seconds.

Until oblivion, Vanilla Dream Donut and Red Velvet ice cream will make lots of quick money for Ciao Bella Gelato, the Irvington, N.J., company that starred in last week's episode. By Friday noon, the day after the episode, the novelty flavors had sold out in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other big-market ice cream shops that sell Ciao Bella. (There are no Tampa Bay area stores or restaurants that carry Ciao Bella, according to Maria Fazio of AJE Gourmet Products, the company's Florida distributor.)

Ciao Bella also reported a brisk mail-order business. Order online at www.ciaobellagelato.com or by calling (973 373-3510. Expect to pay handsomely. Though the ice cream sells for $4.95 a pint retail, you'll have to buy the four-pint Ivy League package for $36.95, which gives you the two Apprentice flavors plus espresso and pistachio. Overnight shipping in dry ice is another 50-plus bucks. By the way, we liked the company-developed flavors.)

The company will make the Apprentice flavors for as long as people want to spend money on them.

FW Pearce, Ciao Bella CEO, says the segment was filmed in May at the New Jersey plant. "They took over the factory for a day," he says. "Hundreds of them."

On the show, the Mosaic men cleaned out two doughnut shops, leaving viewers to wonder what ice cream might taste like with maple icing, sprinkles and lemon cream in it. In real-world reality, the ice cream was made only with chopped glazed doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts, Pearce says. He was the head chef for Mosaic and, though he may be biased, says he liked that team's ice cream best.

"Personally, I didn't like the raspberry," he says.

The Apprentice teams aren't done fooling around with flavor. Tonight they will be asked to come up with new toothpaste tastes for Crest.

How about Crow and Humble Pie?

- Janet K. Keeler can be reached at 727 893-8586 or krieta@sptimes.com

ON TV

The Apprentice, 9 p.m. tonight, WTVT-Ch. 13. The episode repeats 8 p.m. Saturday.

[Last modified September 22, 2004, 15:09:54]


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