Recognise this man?
You may not now, but you certainly can’t forget that bright-orange logo in the background, much less his famous self-created rum rum raisin and mao shan wang durian ice cream.
Yes, he is Mr David Yim – the brains behind U.d.d.e.r.s – the premium ice cream parlour that has within a short span of 2.5 years, expanded from one humble location to four. Who would have believed that an ordinary school teacher like him would have risen the social udders, oops, I mean ladders, to receive the Emerging Enterprise Award in 2010 for his ice cream venture? Not that being a teacher means anything bad (I was a teacher for several years myself) – but the complete change of environment and focus – that certainly takes calculated deliberation and a fair amount of guts.
Armed with a plan to conquer the world, he is a man driven by foresight and a deep understanding of the F&B industry, having first experimented with ice cream making using liquid nitrogen in his own home for four whole months. Necessary precautions were taken, of course, but if you understand the nature of liquid nitrogen.. one can never be cautious enough. So, word of caution here – don’t try this at home unless you’ve been a science teacher and know your compounds well.
After two enjoyable hours of just chatting about his expansive plan of world conquest, I began to understand that there was more to this man who named his upstart after a part of a cow. So, why “U.d.d.e.r.s”?, I asked.
His creamy creations are as fun as he is in person. David is affectionately referred to as the Chief Milkman and clearly well-loved by his staff. They were so enthralled by the fact that their boss was being interviewed and when told to pack some sample tasters for us, did so with such enthusiasm you couldn’t help but feel that there’s a mini-him in every single one of them. True to his core, two of his managers are in fact ex-students.
Anyways, what’s so unique about the ice cream at U.d.d.e.r.s and how does he get so many refreshing ideas for flavours? Well, he did the number one thing any marketeer would do: He asks his customers.
From the blackboard of suggested flavours that came with the customers’ votes, David then shortlists the ones he considers worth experimenting with and painstakingly creates as many as 20 variations before actually finding the right flavour and putting on as much as 7 kg just to do the taste-tests! That’s the extent David would go to ensure that what you get at U.d.d.e.r.s is well, udderly the best!
“We use only the freshest ingredients,” assures David, “and that’s why you pay a premium for our ice cream”.
Truth is, after having tried his mao shan wang durian ice cream, I really couldn’t tell the ice cream from the fruit nor the fruit from the ice cream. That’s how full-flavoured and well-textured his ice cream truly is. And the rum rum raisin? You just can’t believe how well soaked in rum the raisins are. Absolutely delish. You should also try the awesomely chocolate if you’re a big fan of cocoa. Overall, every scoop of U.d.d.e.r.s ice cream is indeed well-worth your dough and many more return visits. For more information on the flavours available, do refer to their website: http://www.udders.com.sg/our_flavours
R&D forms a huge part of what this 39-year-old self-made entrepreneur does besides running from outlet to outlet to oversee operations. In fact, he’s already thinking of collaborations with other F&B outlets to produce yet more flavours and grades of premium ice cream that will help him maintain the competitive edge and a healthy bottomline in a sector that has the real potential for thinning. The perennial question for him really is: Now what? In his world of easily available technology and knowledge, good products are easily replicated and improved upon, hence his need to constantly ‘mooove’.
Well, I’m certainly glad I was able to catch this busy man for an interview. For more on the hilarious exchange we had, tune into Symphony 92.4FM on My Favourite Things to catch the Chief Milkman himself, Mr David Yim, on his creamy exploits, his takes on good ice cream, and wonderful advice for keeping your ice cream fresh and yummy!