Don’t just call founder and CEO Liz Rogers’ product ice cream. “Creamalicious is a two-in-one dessert creation, which actually started from a pastry line,” states the executive chef. “And since ice cream is the world’s number one dessert, I thought it would be great if I could get it to really taste like a sweet potato pie or a peach cobbler, but in an ice cream form. So Creamalicious pairs freshly baked pastries with premium homemade ice cream,” she says with pride. “Instead of just saying ‘delicious,’ I came up with creamalicious because it’s one of the creamiest super-premium ice creams. It’s more than a dessert; it’s an experience.”
Rogers started making Creamalicious 13 years ago at her Cincinnati restaurant, Mahogany’s at the Banks. “Most restaurants have a scoop of ice cream on their dessert list, but I wanted my customers to have something more creative that was more of an experience,” the Ohio native explains. “I would serve it in an actual [pie] crust bowl and people would say, ‘This tastes just like sweet potato pie!’ So people were always amazed that the ice cream tasted just like what flavor it said it was,” she laughs.
The Creamalicious brand has seven flavors of artisan ice cream, with the most popular being Slap Yo’ Mama Banana Pudding, Aunt Poonie’s Caramel Pound Cake, Porch Light Peach Cobbler and Thick As Thieves Pecan Pie.
Executive Advertiser to Executive Chef
Rogers owned an advertising agency for ten years, but she always had a passion for culinary arts. The self-taught executive chef didn’t go to culinary school, but she has trained people who have gone to some of the top culinary schools in the country.
“And that’s been super amazing because they got to learn from me and I got to learn from them,” she notes. When she started her first restaurant, it wasn’t just for her, it was also for her mother. “She was a single mother of four kids and the only woman welder at her workplace,” states Rogers. “I was so proud of her. But it was always her dream to own a restaurant, so I wanted her to be able to live her dreams vicariously through me,” she emotes. In fact, Rogers got her southern pastry recipes from her mother, aunt and grandmother.
Sadly, her first restaurant had to close. “Mahogany’s at the Banks was the first African American-owned restaurant in a multi-million dollar development in Cincinnati’s history,” the restaurateur says with pride. “But I ended up losing that restaurant because of the adversity and political climate,” she laments.
“I lost everything! But that’s part of my story because I worked hard and never gave up, and I got it all back,” she says with pride.
And boy did she! After making the artisan ice cream herself for years, she found a good food scientist and manufacturer to develop the formulas for the recipes. And in 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Creamalicious launched nationwide and is now in 3500 stores, including Walmart, Target and Kroger. “I actually realized how big this was when I went into the stores and saw Creamalicous on the shelves and saw people buying it,” exclaims Rogers. And she says it was a blessing that her mother got to see it before she passed away.
Artisan Ice Creams to Artisan Creamers
Rogers says Creamalicious is artisan ice cream, which has to do with creativity and innovation, something she believes was lacking in the ice cream industry. And she took her creativity and innovation a step further by creating a line of Creamalicious coffee creamers.
“I was already working with cream, and I thought that my ice cream flavors would be really good in a cup of coffee,” explains Rogers. “It’s like having a scoop of ice cream in your coffee. And people drink coffee every day, so it’s a good industry to get into,” she adds.
The coffee creamers launched at 1300 stores nationwide this past January with two signature flavors – Bay’bee Lis’sen White Chocolate Blondie and Uncle Charles Brown Suga Bourbon Cake. Fans have even used them in hot chocolate and milkshakes, as well as recipes for French toast and cinnamon rolls. “There was no African American presence in the coffee creamer category and there never has been, so I wanted to make history as the first,” boasts Rogers.
In fact, the CEO has made history as the number one African American- and female-owned ice cream and coffee creamer manufacturer worldwide. “One of the reasons I started Creamalicious is because there was no African American presence in mass production on the store shelves,” Rogers notes. “A lot of small business ice cream makers want an opportunity to be on the store shelves, and I have an opportunity to open up doors for the underdog, like myself.”
She adds with pride, “Being the first is a big deal! And I hope it will change things in the industry and inspire others to go for their dreams.”
Creamalicious Dreams and Dreamers
Even with the glass ceiling she’s broken in the frozen dessert and coffee creamer categories, Rogers still has more dreams for her company. One of those dreams is to have Oprah, who is an ice cream lover, try a pint of Creamalicious. But instead of wasting time waiting for that call, she’s planning her next move. “We have ice cream sandwiches coming out, as well as new flavors like Strawberry Crunch and Lemon Supreme,” the executive chef confides. “We’re also trying to get our vegan line launched next year.”
Rogers also has plans to open what she calls “family desserteries” across the country. “They would be very culinary inspired and more of an experience,” she describes. “If you were to walk into one of our desserteries, you’d see a fireplace and beautiful, comfy furniture and gourmet coffee and you’d be able to create your own dessert experience.”
The CEO is already making plans to open her first dessertery in Atlanta. “I envision it being super comfortable where you can bring your laptop and maybe write a few chapters in your book while listening to jazz or a live violinist or something like that,” she visualizes.
The executive chef never gave up her dream of owning another restaurant. Her second Cincinnati restaurant, Wing Champ, is doing great and she has plans to open Ida Mae’s Juke Joint, named for her grandmother, later this summer.
“The food will be French and southern-inspired fusion, and it will focus heavily on entertainment and music,” she notes. As for the Creamalicious brand, the tagline is “There is a Dream in Every Scoop.” Rogers explains, “Every pint holds three scoops and every scoop represents the dream that I had not just for myself and my family, but for the world.”
In fact, she calls her fans and followers, many who are entrepreneurs themselves, “Dreamers.” “People like me are dreamers and visionaries, and people don’t always support us or believe in our dreams,” laments Rogers. “I’m trying to change that narrative by being a blessing to help others realize their dreams. We all dream of using our gifts to make the world a better place.”
To find a location near you that sells Creamalicious artisan ice cream, or to order it online, visit the website. To see what executive chef Liz Rogers is creating next with her products and restaurants, visit her Facebook and two Instagram (Instagram) pages.