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Dec 4, 2012 3:02 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Business Debuts On National Reality TV Show

Dec 4, 2012 5:01 PM

Two ingredients, borrowed from her family history, led to the rise of Donna McCue’s fudge business—a grandmother’s recipe that she tweaked, and a childhood nickname, “fat ass,” that she branded.

Now, Ms. McCue hopes that Fat Ass Fudge, launched after a casual conversation with family members at her 60th birthday party about five years ago, will woo a national clientele after being featured on “Shark Tank,”: an ABC reality television show with investors who give lucky, creative startups significant financial backing. Ms. McCue was expected to appear on the show’s holiday special yesterday, Tuesday, December 4.

An avid viewer of “Shark Tank,” Ms. McCue made her pitch to be on the show last year and went through interviews with producers over the course of five months this year, she said. In July, she flew to Sony Pictures’ headquarters in California to film her pitch to a panel of investors featured on the show.

As of last week, she couldn’t say how the show turned out. She described the experience of filming as “unreal.”

“By the time I got on, I was raring to go,” said Ms. McCue. “And then the producer said give it all you got. Sort of like throwing you into a room of sharks.”

Still, while she observed other entrepreneurs “sweating and nervous,” she said she feels she managed to keep her cool and her sense of humor. She said she introduced herself as Donna McCue, president and founder of Fat Ass Fudge. She then paused dramatically and said, “and I want to give you a piece of my fat ass.”

“I was sassy,” she said. “I gave it right back.”

Fat Ass Fudge is sold at farmers’ markets and local businesses across the East End. Ms. McCue lives in Springs. The business name was trademarked in 2008, following a conversation with her older brother, Doug, at her 60th birthday, when he suggested she make a living off of selling the fudge. She joked that she would call it “fat ass”—the name he called her when they were kids growing up.

“What happened was I couldn’t get that name out of my head,” she said. “I kept thinking Fat Ass Fudge, Fat Ass Fudge. That was such a good name. It was like a light bulb went off. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”

She said she decided to “turn an insult into an empire,” after getting some startup money. She said she makes 10 different kinds of fudge using quality ingredients—things like organic sugar, vanilla bean and organic goat’s milk butter. Her website advertises that the product is gluten free and lactose free.

“I don’t cut any corners,” she said. “The best of the best. I believe if you’re going to indulge in decadence, you better have the best stuff.”

Cynthia Young, a fan of Ms. McCue’s fudge, spoke highly of Ms. McCue’s product on Monday.

“Her fudge is delicious,” she said. “It’s homemade. It’s handmade. It’s always fresh. The flavors are wonderful.”

Ms. Young also said she’s excited for Ms. McCue’s television debut.

“I can’t wait to see her because I know what a big personality she is,” she said. “And I’m sure she’s going to make an impression on the judges.”

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