Celebs get enshrined in ice cream on ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Clash of the Cones’

'Ben & Jerry's: Clash of the Cones' - Celeb-inspired ice creams mark Food Network competition

“Ben & Jerry’s Clash of the Cones”

Anyone with an interest in making ice cream would do well to check out a novel competition series upcoming on Food Network and discovery+.

In “Ben & Jerry’s: Clash of the Cones,” premiering Monday, Aug. 16, the finer points of making the cool treat are bandied about in detail as contestants are tasked with making new and innovative flavors of ice cream that capture the essence of a celebrity, be they actor Kevin Bacon or rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, based on direction given by the celeb themselves. So while a celebrity may say they like chocolate, blueberries, marshmallow and strawberries, combining all that in one ice cream and making it flavorful and delicious can be a monumental challenge.

The winner receives a $20,000 grand prize and the opportunity to have their ice cream sampled by fans at an event in their hometown.

Filmed this past spring at a specially constructed ice cream lab at the Ben & Jerry’s facility in Waterbury, Vt., the show is hosted by Molly Yeh (“Girl Meets Farm”) with the creations judged by Jet and Ali Tila (“Guy’s Grocery Games”) as well as Ben & Jerry’s flavor guru Chris Rivard.

“It’s actually a lot of challenges in one,” Jet Tila explains. “(It’s) abstract in that this flavor has never existed. You have to get the personality of every single celebrity, which must be stressful, and you also kind of have to live up to, beyond Ben & Jerry’s, just deliciousness, fun, craveable. And then within the realm of Ben & Jerry’s, the swirls, crunches. So I think it’s a very fun challenge for an experienced ice cream maker.”

And for the judges, there are specific criteria to consider.

“You want to look at the texture,” Ali Tila explains. “That’s one of the big things. It shouldn’t be gummy. It should be scoopable, it shouldn’t be icy, things like that. And they’re technically able to create a good base ice cream. And then on top of that, there are a lot of mix-ins. Ben & Jerry’s is really big on chunks and swirls and stuff like that, so we want to make sure that their inclusions in the ice cream were also well-executed, they’re not too hard. … And if they haven’t mastered any of those types of techniques, that’s going to show in a competition like this.”

And the concoctions can even cross into the sweet-and-savory realm. But as to whether Kevin Bacon’s ice cream included a certain salt-cured pork product, Jet Tila wasn’t saying.

“I remember eating bacon in one of the challenges,” he allows with a laugh, “and I remember a lot of judges were split on whether they should or shouldn’t have and they went for it anyway. And you know, high risk/high reward but it also means there are some high failures. So we did eat bacon somewhere in the show.”

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