New Safe-to-Eat Cookie Dough food truck co-founded by Shoreline native

Friday, May 17, 2019

Ivana Orlovic (left), 23, and William Hubbell (right), 23, pose in front of their safe-to-eat raw cookie company’s food truck, Sugar + Spoon, on Apr. 12, 2019. The truck is parked in front of Westlake Center in Downtown Seattle daily, except when attending special events listed on their calendar. (Photo by Alexandra Polk)

By Alexandra Polk

What started out as a simple school assignment transformed itself into a worthwhile and tasty business endeavor for Sugar + Spoon co-founders Ivana Orlovic and William Hubbell.

Before this safe-to-eat cookie dough truck made its official debut in October 2018, University of Washington alumni Orlovic and Shoreline native Hubbell, both 23, viewed Sugar + Spoon as a fun school project for their “Creating a Company” business course at UW. It was not until their pop-up shops started gaining major traction that they saw a profitable future for the edible cookie dough company.

“The success of [the pop up shops] kind of made us think like, we want to keep doing this,” said Hubbell. “We would spend time between classes during our last quarter of school, writing our business plan and figuring out how we wanted to get our cookie dough and turn it into a legit company in Seattle.”

Hubbell and Orlovic graduated in 2018 and spent a majority of their time that summer at Hubbell’s home in Shoreline fully committing themselves to building their ready-to-eat cookie dough brand. They attribute large amounts of their success to family members back in Shoreline and their endless support.

“It's really hard to hear ‘no’ over and over again,” said Orlovic. “When you want people to believe in you or make the path easier for you, but usually there are a bunch of people trying to make the path harder. So you have to have a lot of resilience.”

Customers wait in line to order cookie dough scoops, ice cream, milk shots and more at the Sugar + Spoon truck parked in Downtown Seattle on a Friday afternoon. Sugar + Spoon offer temporary seasonal cookie dough flavors to their menu that customers can buy while supplies last. (Photo by Alexandra Polk)

Raw cookie dough is somewhat of a forbidden fruit for those addicted to the blend of sugary ingredients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration bluntly states it is unsafe to consume raw cookie dough, cake batter, or any other products that require baking.

Normal inedible cookie dough contains flour, a raw agricultural product that has not been cooked in order to kill germs like E. Coli. Eating the raw eggs in cookie dough also puts consumers at risk for Salmonella, a harmful bacteria that leads to infection.

A major E. Coli outbreak occurred in the United States in 2016, across 24 states. After the FDA, CDC and state officials investigated, they found that the source was most likely the raw flour produced at General Mills’ Kansas City facility. As normalized as eating raw cookie is, consuming the raw ingredients can lead to serious illnesses.

So instead of these ingredients, Orlovic and Hubbell use heat-treated flour, a flour that gets exposed to high temperatures, ranging from 210 degrees to 230 degrees, for at least 60 minutes. The FDA says that edible cookie dough should not be made at home regardless of the type of flour, and to instead buy it commercially.

Manufacturers like Sugar + Spoon are allowed to sell their cookie dough as long as the flour is treated and the eggs are pasteurized or substituted. Therefore, when Orlovic and Hubbell brought their eggless and heat treated flour filled cookie dough scoops to Seattle, the desserts were well received, and their hard work paid off.

The employees also enjoy coming along for the ride.

“It is super fun. I really love this job,” said 19-year-old Madison Johnstone, one of Sugar + Spoon’s food truck employees. Johnstone has enjoyed working with the new company since joining the team in late February.

Madison Johnstone, 19, poses at the Sugar + Spoon window where she takes and prepares customers orders. Johnstone began working for Sugar + Spoon in late February and enjoys the fun and upbeat atmosphere of the truck. (Photo by Alexandra Polk)

Multiple customers had praise for the truck’s creativity and now considers it their raw cookie dough replacement.

“The Oreo one is my favorite,” said Sugar + Spoon customer Asha Abdulle, 22. “It combines my two favorite things: Oreos and cookie dough.”

Sugar + Spoon puts its own spin on the average ice cream truck and brings the cookie dough to you. Although Sugar + Spoon does not regularly set up shop in Shoreline, they have done multiple private events and catering jobs in the area for places like King’s Senior High School and organizations like the global non-profit, Young Life.

At the Young Life event in Shoreline, Hubbell and Orlovic served their classic cookie dough flavors. The business duo makes it a point to bring their business back to Shoreline despite having yet to find a local spot to park the food truck.

Food trucks require ample amounts of licenses, permits and health code regulations in order to safely sell food to customers. With Sugar + Spoon being a new company, Hubbell and Orlovic made it a priority to find a location with heavy foot traffic, and food truck availability.

Still, the two entrepreneurs visualize a bountiful future for their cookie dough company.

“Sugar + Spoon will not just be a food truck,” said Hubbell. “We have huge plans for the future for bringing our cookie dough to Seattle and even across the nation or maybe even the world someday. This is just our first stepping stone.”


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