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In the end, Rabia Kamara went with her gut. It was the right move. Kamara, a VCU alum and local ice cream entrepreneur, won “Ben & Jerry’s Clash of the Cones” in a dramatic finale on Food Network last night.

After creating custom flavors on the show for the likes of Kevin Bacon and Ludacris, and winning three of the competition’s four previous challenges, Kamara was still a “ball of nerves” going into the series finale, knowing everything that was at stake.

“It was really important to me going into the last week that I really just trusted my gut,” said Kamara, founder of Richmond-based Ruby Scoops ice cream parlor. “I knew what felt right. And by doing that, I just felt really secure in my decision to make the flavor that I made,” a combination of chocolate brownies, toffee blondies, vanilla and dulce de leche.

In the premiere season of “Clash of the Cones,” six ice cream makers from across the country vied for the opportunity to create a unique flavor for the venerable Ben & Jerry’s. The show was filmed earlier this summer in Vermont.

Kamara’s victories during the season included a win in the “Ice Cream Yum Yum” challenge to create a flavor for Ludacris. That victory proved particularly powerful for Kamara.

“He’s one of my favorite people ever,” she said. “So that one was just true, genuine excitement. And I feel like that really showed through what I created because it was really important to me that he ate my ice cream. Honestly, I can’t imagine how this competition would have gone if I lost that week.”

In the finale, Kamara and her remaining competitors created flavors for Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s famous founders. When they announced Kamara as the winner, she was overcome with emotion. The victory comes with a prize of $20,000.

“I’ve been making ice cream for eight years. I’ve been running this business for six and it’s hard,” she said. “Entrepreneurship is hard. Ice cream is probably the easiest part of it. But, you know, there were days where I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue doing this.

“And so [winning] has really been a reminder that I’m on the right track and I chose the right thing to do with my life. And that feels great because it’s hard to work for yourself and it’s hard to build a brand from scratch. So, to be able to go on TV and do things where I really shine, not just cooking, but just being able to be myself and not having to apologize for that and being able to win and like being my true self, it just makes everything feel like what I’ve been doing for the past almost decade has really been worth it.”


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