Ice cream scientist Maya Warren brings expertise to Smize at Tyra Banks


When Tyra Banks decided to open her Smize ice cream parlor in Santa Monica, she went to an “aerated dessert consultant” for advice. Fortunately, Dr. Maya Warren, an ice cream scientist, has just finished her work as a consultant for Cold Stone Creamery’s international operations.

America’s Next Top Model creator and entrepreneur came up with the Smize concept, but Warren took over product development, refined flavors and helped create the signature Smize surprise Banks asked for – a cookie dough truffle at the bottom of each container. What exactly does an ice cream specialist do? “I can be an extension of your taste buds, but on a technical level,” explains Warren.

“Tyra and I are both obsessed with frozen custard,” she says. Frozen custard is eggier and denser than ice cream, with at least 1.4% egg yolk and 14% milk fat in the mixture. “We like a dense product; we’re both drawn to more fat, ”says Warren.

Smize currently offers seven flavors and Warren’s next assignment is perfecting an often-requested dairy-free ice cream. She experiments with oat milk and coconut oil and is looking for the magical combination that gives her “that creamy mouthfeel”.

Warren fell in love with ice cream while working on her food science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her studies, the multi-talented scientist looked for other challenges and tried her hand at “The Amazing Race” with her laboratory partner. The couple traveled from New York to Scotland, Sicily, Morocco, Malta, Singapore, the Philippines and beyond in just three weeks, winning the reality series’ 25th season. “We knew that there had never been two female food scientists,” she says, but she is particularly proud of the fact that “we were able to inspire people to see scientists differently”.

What is your favorite ice cream from the wall? How about roasted beets – Warren adds honey and pistachios to the roasted roots, and toppings goat cheese and honey for a gourmet alternative.

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