What’s your story?
Cooking has always been my escape. I used to work as a recruiter and when I was stressed out chasing my numbers, I turned to cooking. I would pick a very complicated recipe and lose myself out trying to make the dish taste great. This would have translated into the way how I create my flavours at Denzy Gelato, trying to push the boundaries and finding a balance between savoury and sweet. One day I just thought to myself, how wonderful would it be if I could cook for a living and that’s when I convinced my fiancée to take the leap of faith and chase my dreams.

What’s your story?
Cooking has always been my escape. I used to work as a recruiter and when I was stressed out chasing my numbers, I turned to cooking. I would pick a very complicated recipe and lose myself out trying to make the dish taste great. This would have translated into the way how I create my flavours at Denzy Gelato, trying to push the boundaries and finding a balance between savoury and sweet. One day I just thought to myself, how wonderful would it be if I could cook for a living and that’s when I convinced my fiancée to take the leap of faith and chase my dreams.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. What I really love about gelato is that it’s a blank canvas that really allows me to express myself and put myself in a cup. I went to Italy to learn how to make gelato and what I did was to combine my experience growing up in Singapore and my travel experiences. All in mind to share with my friends and customers my story in a cup or on a waffle.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
We are currently only in Singapore and this is where I grew up, I bleed Singapore and Bishan.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It was advice that I got from an older friend growing up as a teenager and that is to love myself and be confident. I took years to learn to love myself and not conform to what society dictates as the norm. It really changed my perspective in life. I will follow my heart no matter if the decision is more risky or unusual and I have no regrets.

Who inspires you?
My friend, Darren, who went into urban farming and I thought it was a really bold step, I really admired his courage back then when I was still working in the corporate world. Giving up the chase of material comfort and doing something that he is passionate about.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I learnt that business is not about rivalry but pushing each to bring out the best. I chanced upon newer gelaterias which were putting their own spin on some of the flavours that I sell at my shop. I found myself feeling happy rather than upset, as my creations were being used as a reference point by other business owners and it shows that such uncommon flavours are being accepted by consumers. I also learnt to stick with what I believed in, which is expressing myself in a cup of gelato, although I was always nervous at the start. That lesson was further reinforced after winning the Singapore Best Gelato award for my Pear, Ginger & Ginger Flower flavour.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
No, I never regret being myself. I am lucky I found certain success doing so.

How do you unwind?
I work 12-14 hours daily. If I ever do get a chance to catch a break, that is definitely to catch up on my social life and time with my family. Walking around in markets and supermarkets looking for new inspiration is also a way I unwind.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love Bali. Amazing food and culture and the people there are very warm. It is so vibrant and there is always something new to look to whenever I go back.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Steve Jobs. It really gave me a good insight into the mind of one of the great visionaries of our generation.

Shameless plug for your business:
Denzy Gelato won the Singapore Best Gelato award for our Pear, Ginger and Ginger Flower sorbet in the 6th month of opening. That really spurred us to continue working harder on the direction that we have set ourselves on and to bring to everyone even better products.

How can people connect with you?
Our shop is situated in the middle of a neighborhood heartland, so it has a nice cozy vibe. Neighbors and customers can simply walk into our shop and have a chat with me, I like to find out what opinions people have and get some inspiration. Otherwise, I could also be reached via email at [email protected] for any collaboration or services that they may require.

Twitter handle?
We aren’t on Twitter but our Instagram and Facebook handle is @Denzygelato

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of two best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum on Twitter and LinkedIn
Download free copies of his books at www.callumlaing.com