Cesar Aldrete is ready for the Ben & Jerry’s: Clash of the Cones challenge, interview

Portrait of contestant Cesar Aldrete, as seen on Ben and Jerry’s The Cold Wars, Season 1. Photo provided by Food Network
Portrait of contestant Cesar Aldrete, as seen on Ben and Jerry’s The Cold Wars, Season 1. Photo provided by Food Network /

Ready for a new Food Network competition show? The new Ben & Jerry’s: Clash of the Cones asks celebrated pastry chefs to be a scoop above the rest. While there might be a few mix-ins that will push the flavor boundaries, these ice cream creations will have everyone re-thinking what is in the cone. Cesar Aldrete is ready to take on this challenge.

As one of the chefs on Ben & Jerry’s: Clash of the Cones, Cesar Aldrete is up for the sweet challenge. With this impressive culinary resume, Aldrete believes that his background will help him churn a winning combination on the Food Network competition.

During a recent conversation, Aldrete revealed that his time working at Daniel, the highly regarded, Michelin Star rated restaurant was “key to his career as a pastry chef.” In addition, working with pastry chefs, Sandro Micheli and Ghaya Oliveira, gave him the experience and tools to increase his knowledge, appreciation and willingness to push the boundaries of what pastry can be.

For Aldrete, it was about an “appreciation for the art of pastry.” For him, “everyday was a challenge for myself to be cleaner, faster, better. Whether I was working service, scooping Ice cream quenelles for up to 300 covers a night or working in the production making the elements that later would compose the plated desserts for service,” all of those items made his attention to his craft more pronounced.

Although this Food Network competition isn’t necessarily about the perfectly plated dessert, that knowledge is the tasty foundation for creating that epic ice cream flavor. While Ben & Jerry’s is known for the perfect texture-filled bite of ice cream, creating that impeccable mouth feel isn’t child’s play.

For Aldrete, his creations come in various forms. He said, “it depends. Sometimes those flavors come from nostalgia, like flavors from my childhood like, Mango Sorbet and Chamoy or Mamey Ice Cream. Other flavors are about having fun, like a creamy vanilla Ice Cream with funfetti cake chunks,” which is like bringing back a happy childhood moment.

Even though there is a little fun in all those scoops, the truth is that the visual is important, too. If that first look doesn’t entice someone to take a bite, the idea is lost.

Aldrete said, “as a Pastry Chef and food stylist I take pride on the look of my ice cream. For example, if the ice cream has chunks or a swirl, I like for them to be seen in the scoop. I also like to make toppings that complement the flavors in the ice cream. It is about telling a story behind that flavor inspiration. ‘Cute & Tasty’ are the words that I aim for when someone tries my ice cream.”

While this Ben & Jerry’s Clash of the Cones is about exploring new flavors and combinations, there is a balance to the bite. Although Aldrete believes that “dessert lovers are curious and have high expectations,” it can make them “a hard crowd to please.”

Since everyone has that “one creamery that we remember with love,” it is more than just another piling another scoop in the bowl. While it is a challenge, it is one that Aldrete is ready to accept.

Even though flavors evolve, Aldrete believes that “the blend of sweet and savory can be part of the grocery store shelves, as long as the flavors are well balanced.” That combination is more prevalent. Whether it is potato chips, butter cracker or something else, there are plenty of ideas to be put into the mix.

Cesar Aldrete on Ben & Jerry's Clash of the Cones
Contestant Cesar Aldrete during the Mini Scoop Challenge, as seen on Ben and Jerry’s The Cold Wars, Season 1. Photo provided by Food Network /

At the same time, global flavors are joining the conversation. Personally, Aldrete appreciates that a variety of Mexican ingredients or flavors can be incorporated into ice cream. A few flavors that he loves are “corn, rice horchata and cotija cheese” in desserts.

More specifically, he encourages people to try chamoy, especially as a topping for fruit sorbets. Aldrete describes the flavor as “a sauce made commonly with dry peppers, hibiscus and dried fruits. It’s a bit spicy, tangy and sweet.”

Although there might not be a chamoy flavored ice cream on the shelf, Aldrete did share a special ice cream flavor that he enjoys. He said, “ he one I can’t miss every time I visit Chihuahua is pine nuts ice cream. Chihuahua is a big producer of nuts and I always say that fresh ingredients make the best ice cream.”

Whether or not pine nuts ice cream could be a new flavor on the grocery store shelf remains to be seen, Still, Aldrete has a few tips for people who are making ice cream at home.

He said, “the most important part is to give the process the time needed and be patient in every step.” From letting the flavors develop through the freezing process to letting it temper before enjoying it, the long process is worth the wait.

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Watch Cesar Aldrete and the other chefs on Food Network’s Ben & Jerry’s Clash of the Cones. New episodes air on Monday nights at 9 p.m.