Can you stuff yourself silly with ice cream… and still improve your health and boost your immune system?

Apparently, you can.

Dashanta (Dash for short), the founder of Beriwell, has found a way to make healthy ice cream. He only uses natural ingredients with no artificial flavouring and additives, making his Superswirls dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan friendly.

His Acai soft serve, the first ever in Singapore, was made using acai berries from the Amazon, while the Coco Majik was made using blended Thai coconuts with coconut water and spirulina (the spirulina giving it its signature blue look.)

And, they taste delicious. Trust me, I’ve had them myself. Twice.

Curious to know how Beriwell has fared since they opened in early 2017, I reached out to Dash for a chat.

And this is what I learnt.

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A greater mission underlies Beriwell’s story

This was not Dash’s first foray into F&B. It was only 2 years ago that Dash was running a restaurant at South Bridge Road. He was doing well, but he wanted new challenges. Wanting to try to build something a little bit more casual and community-oriented, Dash jumped onto the acai bandwagon and set up Beriwell.

However, instead of making yet another acai bowl shop, he decided to develop something different.

A soft serve.

However, it would NOT be just any other soft serve, either. Ice cream shops, gelato parlours… they are everywhere. Even McDonald’s and Burger King has their own version of the soft serve.

Dash wanted something different, something better. He wanted to serve a greater purpose.

Both Dash and his business partner had experienced the tragedy of a family member suffering from and eventually passing on from cancer. He witnessed his uncle struggling to eat – the intense chemotherapy treatments had robbed him of his sense of taste – and everything he ate was bland and tasted the same.

It is one thing to make a healthy, delicious product – but what’s most important is how the customer feels after eating.

Influenced by what he saw, Dash wanted Beriwell to move in the health aspect of food. He wanted to produce great products that could not only help a sick person’s diet, but also to the families and loved ones who were looking after them.

Their menu looks simple – yet a lot of thought and experimentation has been put into it. Every single ingredient that makes up the Beriwell’s signature smoothie and soft serve was chosen for a reason.

For example, turmeric. Usually found in curry, turmeric is a superfood with tons of health benefits (e.g anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-fighting, reduced risk of heart disease, improved brain function etc.) But, like cinnamon, turmeric tastes disgusting when taken alone.

No one in their right mind will take a spoonful of turmeric powder just for the health benefits. It has to be palatable. It has to be delicious.

So, Dash sneaked turmeric into his smoothie.

Turmeric

It worked. None of his beta testers could taste the turmeric in his smoothie. They only knew when Dash let the cat out of the bag.

With that comes the question.

How does Dash invent his unique creations, add in the healthy elements, and yet still know that it would be a hit with his customers? How does Dash “taste-test” his food items? And how does he know what to create?

The “Minimum Viable Technique” Behind Beriwell’s Greatest Creations

Many people think that creative dishes are due to the head chef’s brilliant bursts of genius.

How food is invented – dancing.

While there is some truth to that, it is also difficult to ascertain which dish will be a hit with their customers. A dish that the chef thinks is delicious is pointless; his customers must agree with him.

Well, Dash has a “secret technique” he uses to find out.

I call it the “Menu Test”.

Essentially, to test whether a new idea has roots, he simply writes down the idea on the Beriwell menu. He describes what it’ll look like, what it’ll taste like and gives it a name.

If you are in Singapore, drop by @beriwell and order some of their swirl!

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Then, when a customer enters Beriwell, he gives the menu to them as per usual. Sometimes a customer is there for his famous acai soft serve. That is cool – Beriwell operates as usual.

Sometimes, a customer wants to try something new. They see the new item on the menu and order it.

Dash simply treats it like a customized order and creates it on the spot.

Then, he observes their reaction. How are they reacting to the new menu item. Is it good, or bad? Are they wrinkling their faces in disgust, or do they look like they’re having the time of their life?

To get even more intimate feedback, Dash personally walks up, introduces himself and asks them for their comments. Do they like it? What do they think of it? What suggestions do they have?

And this is his “experiment.” With their feedback, he knows whether to chuck away the idea, or to improve it further.

There was once where he added honey as a topping of choice to their menu. When he looked at the expressions of the customers who ordered it, he knew immediately it was not going to work.

Honey was added to the menu in the morning, and by 3 pm, it was off.

And, that’s how Beriwell validates their newest creations.

What’s next for Beriwell?

The first thing Dash wants to do is to continue to expand their menu. They currently only have seven menu items – two Superswirl flavours and five smoothies. 

But that’s not enough. At least for Dash.

His plan is to continue to experiment in a deliberate, controlled way and create unique, healthy flavours that everyone loves.

And trying new things is part of it.

Once their operations have stabilized, Dash’s dream is to to get relevant communities to participate and hold their events at Beriwell.

Dash is clear about his mission – he wants Beriwell to be at the forefront of health. He wants Beriwell to be synonymous with health.

Together with his health-consious friends and partners, Dash wants everyone to know that delicious and healthy food is possible.

Posted by Si Quan Ong

Si Quan is CandyBar's Content Marketing Manager. He is also the co-founder of BreakDance Decoded, an online breakdance training company. He loves standup comedy, and has a dream to visit at least 100 countries in his lifetime.