Chef Liz Rogers has been busy for as long as she can remember.
Lots of people say that sort of thing to make themselves seem important, but most of them didn’t grow up as, “the oldest of four [and] the only girl. I have three brothers, and my mom was a welder. She was a single parent, so I cooked for my brothers all the time.”
Her mother was at work most of the time, so the task of feeding everyone inevitably fell to Rogers: “I would cook breakfast in the morning. I had to come home and cook dinner right after track practice… I was an athlete in school, and I also played in the orchestra.”
Some kids would have found this amount of responsibility daunting, but Rogers says that cooking never felt like a chore to her. She’s worked in restaurants ever since, and despite some significant bumps along the way, now her ice cream brand, Creamalicious, is available nationwide.
Inspired by the Southern desserts she grew up with, Creamalicious has flavors like Porchlight Peach Cobbler, Granma Gigi’s Sweet Potato Pie, and Slap Yo Mama Banana Pudding. Hence, Rogers feels her ice cream eliminates a classic dinner party problem, since “Ice cream brings people together. When you have this big meal, everybody wants dessert, but they can never decide if they want a piece of pie or a scoop of ice cream. So I’m saying you don’t have to choose. You can have the best of both worlds, you can have it all.”
Rogers also feels that her ice cream tells an important story, since she’s one of the few Black women in the country to own a national ice cream brand.
The flavors she’s chosen are close to her heart because they’re delicious and she grew up with them, but it’s not lost on her that: “The red velvet cake was a celebration cake that African Americans ate when they received their freedom. You have the peace and quiet cake, which is a Southern vanilla bean cake that was considered a peace offering cake that they ate after dinner where they went in the parlor and they shared a cup of tea and a slice of white cake. It’s like, you’re my friend, let’s share this piece of cake.”
Not all of the flavors have quite as much historical resonance for Rogers, but they’re all personal. The brown sugar bourbon flavor is inspired by the idea that everyone, “has an uncle Charles, he’s the coolest guy in the world. When he comes over he’s probably got a little fat belly and his grin, and he always has his flask of liquor. He’s dancing and he’s always sipping on something.”
Rogers is amazed to find herself here, and has had to push through a lot of fear and break more than a few barriers to make it happen. “As a small business, and a minority business, we don’t get those opportunities a lot… Oftentimes you’re prejudged, and you have to go in and really prove yourself in hopes that someone will actually taste your product and work with you.. I believe that there’s a dream in every scoop.”
That dream isn’t necessarily hers, since Rogers noted that the more successful she becomes, the more likely it is that someone else like her could find similar fortune.
“I had a lot of people tell me don’t call Walmart and ask them can you be in their stores. They’re going to tell you no. I said, ‘Exactly, all they can do is tell me no. They can’t kill me.’ And they said yes because I have a good product.”
That tenacious spirit of wanting to “win the championship ring” is only going to keep Rogers knocking on doors. She feels honored to represent her heritage on supermarket shelves across the country, and many of her customers feel the same. People often reach out to Rogers with stories, and: “This one guy wrote to me, and his dad was in hospice and asked for a pint of my sweet potato pie. He said that that was the last thing he wanted to eat… [Creamalicious] means something to people.”
And if she has her way, it’ll mean something to you too very soon.