Secret Scoop Thai Gelato was born out of a love for dessert and a desire to stay healthy. Secret Scoop was founded in 2012 by head chef, architect/UX designer and winner of the SHAPE Makeover Award in Thailand,Funn Fisher.
Funn has had a long professional career in design across the U.S., Asia, and the Middle East. After settling in San Francisco, Funn created her own gelato recipes from all natural and exotic ingredients with a goal of providing a healthier choice for gelato/sorbet lovers. She keeps the sugar and fat levels low while delivering rich flavors of exotic ingredients .
Creating Secret Scoop has been rewarding for Funn because she gets to create delicious, health conscious frozen dessert and utilize her design skills to create visually appealing desserts and parties.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself:
I moved to the US in 2008 to earn my Master’s Degree in Urban Design at UC Berkeley. Prior to my arrival in the US, I was an architect with a strong design skill set but I did not have any entrepreneurial experience. Living in the US has made me become more flexible and independent and has taught me how to adjust to a new environment. I am currently using my design skills to improve online environments as a UI/UX designer as well as designing my gelato recipes and dessert parties!
2. What prompted you to start Secret Scoop? How did you get started with it?
I am a big fan of frozen desserts, such as gelato, ice cream and sorbet. However, I think the portion sizes in the US are quite large and eating those products gives me a lot of guilt. The most popular frozen desserts are often too sweet and too rich for me, so I learned to make gelato on my own and added hints of nostalgic flavors and ingredients from Thailand. I shared my homemade gelato with my friends. The loved it and immediately started buying it.
Since then, my Thai gelato has been receiving great feedback. In 2012, I founded Secret Scoop as a proper business by providing catering and delivery services and took a Business Planning Class at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco. The class sparked a number of business thoughts.
I’ve found that the greater the effort I put into the business, the greater the growth curve for the business. And, like everyone said, you are not going to believe how many people are willing to help you once you get started. In 2014, Secret Scoop was selected to participate in several public events and concerts of varying sizes in San Francisco. We have worked with numerous restaurants, caterers and event planning companies, as well as helped plan events for a variety of firms here in San Francisco.
3. Tell us about the health and environmentally friendly aspect of your gelato business. How have customers reacted to this?
I have always felt that everyone should be cognizant of eating healthy. I also feel that we should have good choices in what we eat. I have spent a lot of time working to make my gelato tasty without forcing our customers to over consume fat and sugar. Secret Scoop is lighter in calories and fat and contains the healthiest ingredients you will find in a frozen dessert.
I care about our customers’ health as I care about my own health and the health of my loved one. I don’t feel guilty in serving my Thai gelato to kids and seniors because I know Secret Scoop’s ingredients, which lack artificial ingredients and high levels of sugar, will not harm them and, hopefully will inspire them to continue to eat healthy. Moreover, all serving containers and utensils are made of compostable materials to minimize our environmental impact.
4. You have some incredibly unique gelato flavors. Tell us some of the most unique flavors, where they come from and which are the most popular.
We have made several few exotic flavors. My best sellers are:
Chocolate Lemongrass Gelato – a Secret Scoop original
Roasted Coconut Gelato – a coconut milk base with shredded coconut roasted in Thai Style
Strawberry Lavender Gelato – an exclusive fragrance of lavender in a delicate strawberry base
Thai Iced Tea Gelato – a remarkably aromatic Thai Tea flavor
Passion Fruit Sorbet – a refreshing tropical flavor for any occasion
Raspberry Basil Sorbet – a flavorful raspberry with a hint of Thai basil
5. Which flavor is your favorite and why?
Chocolate Lemongrass is my flavor as it is a Secret Scoop original and a nice balance of a traditional and popular ice cream flavor infused with a very Thai herbal flavor. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about this flavor that it is “refreshing and fragrant”. You can only get Chocolate Lemongrass from Secret Scoop!
6. What three things do you like most about living in the US?
Adapt – I have had to adapt to a new culture with new people and new environments after leaving my comfort zone in my homeland.
Apply – I learned to apply my existing skill sets to new fields after switching my scope from designing buildings to designing web based environments and now to a food business!
Appreciate – the US is a very big country and far away from Thailand. Living here has made me appreciate the time I get to spend with family and friends back home. I spend every moment with them meaningfully and value our time together.
7. Name three ways in which the US is different to your home country.
a. There is more diversity here. The majority of people living in my hometown of Bangkok are people with a similar background, same cultural norms, a similar level of education, whereas here I know many people from various backgrounds and nationalities. It has really widened my perspective.
b. Living patterns in Asia are different than here. In Thailand, we usually live with our parents after college and often after we get married, as we value the warmth of having everyone under the same roof. Also, we feel that we can pay back our parents by taking care of them when they get old.
c. Thailand has a “food-based” culture. Of course, food is popular around the world, but high-quality street food can be found throughout Thailand, which is not really the case here. Food trucks have recently become popular in American cities, which is a fun option from dining in a restaurant or cooking at home. But we have been eating street food in Thailand for decades, if not centuries. I also miss how people in Thailand always ask “Have you eaten?” and offer you food if you have not. It is a lovely sign of Thai hospitality to ensure that their guests are well fed.
8. Could you provide a dessert recipe for our readers that includes gelato from Secret Scoop?
Here is one of our best sellers, especially for a warm day in San Francisco: Passion Fruit Sorbet.
2 cups of passion fruit pulp
4 cups water
1.25 cups brown sugar
0.25 cups pectin
A pinch of salt
It’s very easy to make. Just cook/boil everything together, churn the mix in a fridge for 30-45 minutes then run it in your ice cream machine and enjoy your passion fruit sorbet at home!
Writing by Sandhya Jaishankar and Funn Fisher.
Photography courtesy of Funn Fisher, Zita Zalai, Christina Hitchcock Photography and Natasha (Gillett Photography).