This story was updated at 10:38 p.m. on September 8, 2021, to include comments from Rabia Kamara
Rabia Kamara, a native of Silver Spring and owner of an ice cream parlor in Richmond, Va., Won the grand prize of $ 20,000 in a reality show contest Monday night.
Kamara was one of three finalists who appeared on Monday night’s episode of The Food Network’s “Ben & Jerry’s Clash of the Cones”. The show features ice cream “masters” competing for a prize of $ 20,000 and a featured spot at a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop store or event in the winner’s hometown.
Kamara, 32, started her business, Ruby Scoops Ice Cream & Sweets, more than six years ago as a small business in Washington, DC’s Union Kitchen, according to her LinkedIn profile. Previously, she attended Montgomery County’s culinary institution, L’Académie de Cuisine, which has since closed.
Kamara told Bethesda Beat on Wednesday that she became interested in cooking around the age of 8, when her mother gave her a cookbook from Ms. Field.
Kamara, who is black, said working with celebrity chef Carla Hall, who is also black, early in her career was an inspiration.
“She was the first person I saw on TV who looked like me cooking, so it definitely played a role in my decision to pursue this career,” she said.
Kamara has worked at a number of DC area restaurants including 8407 Kitchen Bar, Addie’s, Blacksalt, and Republic Takoma, some of which have since closed. It was when she was a pastry chef at Republic that Kamara wanted to get into ice cream as a business.
“There was a family that had two daughters to whom we served ice cream, three scoops per serving,” she said.
Each of the girls was supposed to get a scoop, Kamara said. But it didn’t work that way.
“One of the little girls was distracted by something and the other ate both of their ice creams, which caused her to collapse, which reminded me of those times in my childhood. At that point, I decided that I wanted to be a part of those moments for the families to come for a long time, ”she said.
Since November 2020, Kamara has been operating its physical store in Richmond, which has been successful, she said on Wednesday.
In April, she interviewed The Food Network for a spot on “Clash of the Cones” and was accepted within a week. Filming took place at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont the following month, she said.
Kamara said one of her favorite things to do on the show was ‘resuscitating’ a flavor of Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard – a term referring to flavors no longer served by the company, which have become ‘dearly stripped’. “.
“It was cool because there were all six of us [contestants] and we got to see how everyone was approaching ice cream, ”she said.
In the final, the three remaining competitors each created their own flavor.
Kamara’s winning entry on “Clash of the Cones” was “Bia’s Black Joy Sundae”, consisting of malty salty Dulce de Leche, vanilla with dark chocolate brownie chunks, blondie brownie chunks and “caramel d ‘seafood seasoning,’ according to the Food Network blog. .
Kamara explained on Wednesday that the flavor was meant to represent her identity, both as a person of color and as a Marylander.
“Growing up as a black person in this country, I experienced a lot of joy, but also a lot of pain because of the way this country was set up so that we weren’t necessarily successful. So a big part of the reason I make ice cream is to make sweet memories through sweet treats, but it’s especially important that people who look like me can experience a few moments of joy and peace with the ice cream, ”she said.
The Old Bay flavored caramel represented the Maryland aspect of the sundae, Kamara said.
The winning ice cream entrepreneur believes there is something about dessert that is universally part of the human experience.
“Ice cream is forever and we get hooked on it from a young age,” she said.
Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]