If you’re dreaming of becoming an ice cream maker or an ice cream shop owner, what would that dream look like?
“Mine was to have a small ice cream shop exactly like my most favourite childhood ice creamery, French Riviera in Sydney, Australia,” muses ice cream lover Mia Kusen.
“After all these years, it still exists and is owned by Jean-Paul, who is the nicest ice cream maker I have ever known. He always gave us generous scoops of ice cream and let us taste whatever we wanted.
“Now to think back on it, my dream was more about being like him – someone very happy, friendly and generous, who had a passion for making delicious ice cream from scratch and who everybody loved,” she realises.
“My parents would take us there as a treat and we would buy takeaway boxes for special occasions. It would take us more than 45 minutes to drive there, but it didn’t matter.
“I take my kids there now whenever we go back for holidays. It’s a really happy place and very nostalgic.”
The real thing is better
But Mia doesn’t have to wonder about what it feels like to be an ice cream maker or an ice cream shop owner. Well, not anymore, because she’s living the dream herself.
And everything she’s been going through as the owner and founder of Mrs. Plump’s – her ice cream shop in Singapore – does live up to the images and feelings she had in her head.
“Yes, the feeling somewhat matches in that I get pure joy from being the ‘ice cream lady’,” she admits.
“Every time I see a happy face when serving ice cream, I think of Jean-Paul. I hope that my shop is a happy place that children will also remember fondly when they grow up.”
But Mrs. Plump’s isn’t just any ice cream shop. It prides itself on using healthy and natural ingredients such as kale, chia seeds, dates, blueberries, strawberries and acai berries.
They have Superfood, Keto and Cheatday ranges, and make popsicles aside from ice cream too. Chocolate Kale is their bestseller, but they also have flavours such as Banana Dates, Strawberry Yoghurt, Vanilla Chia and Cinnamon Coconut.
The Cheatday range, in particular, is “naughtier than our healthier Superfood and Keto ranges”, teases Mia.
“This range was created for customers who wanted something more indulgent,” she explains. “Cheatday flavours change every fortnight and are sweeter than our signature healthier ranges. They are, however, still made up of all-natural ingredients.”
A day in the life
Listening to Mia, you’d be tempted to open an ice cream shop of your own. 😊
“Ice cream makes people happy. I love making people happy and feel a wonderful sense of fulfilment when I see them enjoy our ice cream,” she maintains.
“People tell me what they like about our ice cream, and are always giving us feedback on what they want. We started off with the Superfood range, but then created the popsicles when people requested for a dairy-free, vegan range. Our strawberry popsicles now sell just as well as our signature Chocolate Kale ice cream.
“Then we were asked by more health-conscious customers for a low-carb alternative, which led to the birth of our Keto range, which has been extremely popular,” she adds.
“Taking our customers’ feedback seriously forces us to be more creative and imaginative in finding an ice cream solution to address their concerns.”
Pushing the boundaries
That means endlessly experimenting with flavours – fun. 👏
“Experimenting with new flavours is my favourite part of the job,” Mia reveals.
“We have been churning our signature Superfood flavours for around three years now, so as much as we love them, it’s exciting when we are working on something new.”
And it’s not as easy as it looks. 😉
“It’s very easy to lose control of an experiment, so we do make sure we do enough planning, research and calculations beforehand,” she remarks.
“We are very lucky to know a food scientist, who is able to guide and advise us on our desired flavour combinations.”
There’s always a next time
What’s important is to just keep going, urges Mia. “It’s disappointing when things don’t go the way we planned, but it makes us more determined to get it right the next round.”
Without this mindset, can you imagine Chocolate Kale not being “born”? 😊 It’s an unusual and lovely flavour combination that works.
So if you love to experiment with flavours like Mia (and hopefully come up with a unique one of your own), you can try her process here.
#1 Spend time to plan and research flavour combinations
“I have over 100 ice cream recipe books that I love to read for inspiration.”
#2 Record the details of every tasting
“To look back on if improvements are required,” she continues.
“I would taste-test with another member of my team, and together we would discuss and record our findings.”
#3 Obtain feedback from your target market
“Our Chocolate Kale ice cream was created for my fussy, non-veggie-eating sons,” Mia confesses.
“At the end of the day, they had to love it.”
#4 Use quality ingredients
“I really believe that the taste of our ice cream is highly attributable to the quality of the ingredients we use.”
#5 Don’t give up
“Up until now, we are still perfecting all our recipes,” she stresses.
“I think to produce something really wonderful, your heart and soul needs to have gone into it 100 per cent. The more you experiment and try, the closer to perfect it will become. To give up would be a waste of that time experimenting previously.
“With the massive impact COVID has had on our business, there have indeed been times when I have felt like giving up,” she relates.
“Then I think of my children and our regular customers, and I realise that I have to keep going – otherwise this whole journey would have been a waste.”
This tells us one thing
You can expect something new from Mia soon. 😉
She laughs. “We are currently working on a new range that’s pretty crazy, and nothing close currently exists in Singapore,” she announces.
“As it’s such a big project, we hope to launch it by the end of this year. Hint: It involves a hell of a lot more vegetables than kale.”
We can’t wait. Or maybe we can – because in the meantime, we can experiment with different flavours and flavour combinations too.
What kind of ice cream do you think you’ll make? 🍨
For more on Mrs. Plump’s, check out their site, Facebook and Instagram. Their shop is at imPAct@Hong Lim Green, 20 Upper Pickering Street, #01-01, Singapore 058284. You can order for delivery or pick-up. They also accept ice cream orders for events.