By now, Rabia Kamara’s story is familiar to many.
The 2010 Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business graduate went on to attend culinary school before eventually opening her own ice cream shop, Ruby Scoops, in Richmond. Earlier this year, she won the Food Network’s inaugural season of “Ben & Jerry’s: Clash of the Cones,” which pitted six ice cream confectioners from across the country in a contest to impress Ben & Jerry’s ice cream co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.
Kamara makes it all look effortless. But there was no fairy godmother making everything magically happen. It took a tremendous amount of work to traverse the rocky road to success.
Growing up, Kamara was passionate about the culinary arts, but never saw anyone in the industry who resembled her that she could look up to.
“I don’t know who I would say my role models are culinary-wise,” she said.
But she had plenty of strong women in her life who modeled how to blaze trails. Her maternal grandmother, Suzanne, moved to the United States from Africa in the 1960s with a suitcase in one hand and a 2-year-old in the other. She earned enough money to bring the rest of her family here.
“She decided she needed to do what was best for her family,” Kamara said. “I had people in my life that are very persevering and determined and I realized that that is a quality I myself have as well.”