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Competitive Home Cooks Chill Out At The Ice Cream Takedown

Amateur ice cream makers gathered at The Bell House on Sunday to see whose creation was the coolest.

There's an old saying that goes, "if you can't take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen." It would appear that whoever coined the phrase has never tried churning ice cream. 

While the rest of Brooklyn was sweating it out in 90-degree temperatures on Sunday, a group of home cooks gathered at The to serve up mini scoops of fantastical frozen flavors to a crowd of strangers and professional judges for a chance to win money, prizes, and a bevy of bragging rights. 

The Ice Cream Takedown on July 8 was the latest in a series of amateur cookoffs criss-crossing the country organized by actor, producer and Brooklynite Matt Timms. Since 2003, Timms has been inviting home cooks to flaunt their foods at Takedowns with themes ranging from chili to fondue to cookies or bacon. Prizes are award both by professional judges and popular vote.

For most competitors, it was the first time they had ever competed in a cookoff.

"We like to make ice cream a lot at home, and it was my boyfriend's idea to create a Baklava flavor," said one cook named Christy, whose layered combination of honey ice cream, phyllo dough, pistachio and honey ribbon garnered an honorable mention from the judges, who deemed it a "labor of love."

Other competitors, like Greg Erskine, had previously taken home honors at a chili cookoff at Williamsburg's Barcade and was trying his culinary hand at chocolate malted ice cream for a new challenge.

For judge Jenny Dundas, owner of  the event was an opportunity to meet with other ice cream enthusiasts.

"Everything we've tasted today has been totally awesome," she said. "People really came up with some interesting flavors."

Including the winning concoction "Belgian Supreme" by Susan Palmer, aka The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, who will have three gallons of her creation churned at the new 100% certified organic Blue Marble ice cream plant in Sunset Park.

But the People's Choice winner, Jill Strominger, was just as enthusiastic to receive a couple of kitchen electronics and the applause of the crowd for her "Sundae Fundae."

"This was a blast!" she said before carrying away her Cuisinart ice cream machine.

An arctic blast, as it were.

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