Ben Mims, Ice Cream Champion

Metromix.com

Seeking refuge from the 91 degree heat, New Yorkers from all boroughs filed into Brooklyn venue The Bell House last Sunday to enjoy an exotic range of homemade ice cream flavors as part of the Ice Cream Takedown, hosted by culinary challenge impresario Matt Timms. Twenty competitors lined the edge of the stage, their chilly creations in front of them, alternately plating frantically and explaining to the hungry masses what they had to offer. On the line: a variety of high-end kitchenware and, more importantly, the coveted title of Ice Cream Takedown Champion.

Among the competitors was one of our own, SAVEUR's associate food editor Ben Mims. Up against flavors as creative as Absinthe Chocolate Chip, Dirty Chai (a spiced ice cream spiked with espresso), and Caprese Freezee (a basil-tomato-mascarpone creation), Ben was serving a treat he named 'Pavlovian Response': fresh vanilla ice cream swirled with lemon curd and served over crushed coconut meringue, garnished with kiwi and strawberry.

While the frozen caprese salad took home the People's Choice award, it was Ben's icy riff on the classic pavlova that captivated the judges, and he landed first place. As the newly crowned champion, he brought home several new kitchen appliances - including, thoughtfully, an ice cream maker.

For more photos from the Ice Cream Takedown, check out the gallery on Metromix »