With shop openings these past few months in Atlanta, Nashville, and Chicago, we’ve met a lot of great people who’ve come out to check out the new digs for the first time and sample the ice cream. But in Chicago, we met a super fan named Eric Duncan. See him shaking Jeni’s hand? Eric, a freelance designer with some dandy Instagram action, left his day job at noon that day in September and became the first person in line shortly thereafter. Look—here’s his proof:
When the doors opened at 7 p.m., Eric received his limited-edition poster, met Jeni (see photo above), and sampled pretty much everything. And get this, now he works for Team Jeni’s as an ambassador/scooper in our Southport/Chicago scoop shop. Eric recently fielded a few questions about what inspired his love for Jeni’s.
How long have you known about Jeni’s, when did you first have a taste, and what flavor did you have?
Literally 90% of anything I know about food I learned from my good friend, Pat. By day he’s a Finish Engineer for a cycling company (where we were colleagues and quickly became friends); by night, he’s a highly skilled culinarian, food and drink enthusiast, traveler, reader, art lover—just a well-cultured dude. And, as I mentioned, the source of much of my food-related knowledge. Three or four years ago, Pat gifted me a pint of Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows and a pint of Brown Butter Almond Brittle. In hindsight, it was one of those the-first-one’s-free moments, and I’ve been a big fan ever since.
Why have you been so into Jeni’s?
I guess it’s obvious to acknowledge the quality and diversity of Jeni’s Ice Creams; it’s what first struck me, and what continues to impress me. Jeni’s makes a hell of a product that is both interesting, and uniquely flavorful.
Why were you so moved by the ice cream to stand in line for so long? How long were you in line, by the way?
Well, a little luck played into this whole thing. I assumed people were camping out for the opening, so I was determined to get in line as early as my day job would allow. We’re offered half-day Fridays from May through September, so I left the office at noon and made it to the store a short time later. To my delight, I was the first to arrive, so I texted my friends the good (or dubious) news, and waited for everyone to show up.
What flavors did you have that night?
LOLOL ALL OF THEM? You can be sure that I was fat-shaming myself for the next week! When offered unlimited Jeni’s ice cream, my behavior can very charitably be described as “unladylike”.
How many pints of Jeni’s Ice Cream do you currently have in your freezer?
A SHAMEFUL AMOUNT.
Where is the limited edition poster that you received now hanging?
I actually gifted it to a friend in Houston, and I assume it is being stored safely while he prepares to move to Asia.
How long have you been in Chicago?
I was born and raised in Houston, and went to school in West Texas. The rest of my family lives in N.Y.C./N.J., though, so I’ve always been an East Coast kinda girl. I moved to Chicago five years ago for a job in cycling (I now work in tennis), and I’ve enjoyed my career so much that I’ve stuck around despite Chicago’s winters.
Why did you want to work for Jeni’s? And what is your favorite part about the job?
Well I guess for anyone who’s a fan of anything, having the chance to work with that organization in any capacity would be a dream situation. Most people probably say to themselves, “Oh I wish I could do X, Y, and Z.” I’m very lucky to have a full-time job that I love, but food and dessert are strong passions of mine. And so my X, Y, and Z would have been hanging out at my favorite bakery, talking about pear tarts, and snacking on sweets all day. And then, my favorite ice cream maker came to town . . .”
Chicago’s Eric Duncan, one of our newest members of Team Jeni’s. Find him behind the dipping cabinet in our Southport scoop shop.