Ann Yik Seow Hwa is a zoology grad from 1998 and turned ice-cream maker who set up the The Ice Cream Gallery in 2005. How did she learn to do that? Well for the core aspect of making ice cream, she actually apprenticed with an ice-cream maker, working for free in payment for learning the tools of the trade. I marvelled at her entrepreneurship then, and now!
She makes local-flavoured ice-cream and opened her third shop in Tanjong Katong last year (see blog posts at Singapore Actually and Alex.Is).
I must confess I have not actually been to any of the shops but as a good friend and voracious ice-cream eater, I was roped in for feedback about flavours when she started out. She experimented with flavours once she bought her first set of equipment and did it all at home. I did a detailed review as you might expect, of a variety of flavours and remember that her durian ice-cream surprised me then. Only a moderate appreciator of durian, I was blown away by the taste and was an immediate fan.
After her shop opened in 2005, we circulated a list of flavours to department staff and the orders came in fast and furious, even before anyone had tasted any of the ice cream! It included unheard of things at the time like teh tarik but people were game. Seow Hwa could not cope with that sort of volume as her ice cream was home made. Even now, it’s made on site and not stock-piled so freshness is a guarantee. Anyway, with that great reception, it was clear it would sell!
Seow Hwa was relatively early on the scene of local flavous which up to then, I had only thought to get at Happy Kappy, a restaurant of local flavours in Bukit Timah Plaza. This was a regular hangout after forest guiding walks from MacRitchie to Bukit Timah in the 90’s which continued as briskwalks well into the next decade.
Over the years, it has been nice to see her efforts featured from time to time. The year she opened, her shop was featured in 8 Days. I posted this image in my old blog:
Earlier this year, Ann was seen in a Channel 5 magazine show (“Small & Beautif”?) demonstrating ice-cream making bemusedly in her droll way to the energetic presenters. One of them mimics a Japanese tourist, for some reason and the while episode was amusing.
In the Sunday Times yesterday (01 Apr 2012), I see her soursop ice cream has come out tops! It’s nice to see her thrive and keep to her instincts of freshness and flavourful ice-cream after seven years. It’s about time I visit!