Meet the Founder: Nancy Silverton of Nancy’s Fancy Gelato
For more than a quarter century, Nancy Silverton has rightfully been regarded as culinary royalty. After studying at Le Cordon Bleu in London and serving as the head pastry chef at Spago, Nancy opened LA’s iconic La Brea Bakery. Today, her signature creations are beloved in 17 different countries around the globe.
Still, Nancy was passionate, ambitious, and hungry for more. In 2015, after revolutionizing the artisan baking industry, she launched Nancy’s Fancy to bring authentic Italian gelato and sorbetto stateside. Thanks to Nancy’s dedication, we get to enjoy impossibly creamy Italian gelato in the comfort of our own homes – no passport required.
Recently, Nancy took time out of her busy schedule to give us the scoop on her journey and share her advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
01 Why did you start Nancy’s Fancy?
When I opened La Brea Bakery in 1989, really good, authentic bread wasn’t available for people to purchase in the supermarket or anywhere else. I felt that way about gelato as well, and that’s what led me to start Nancy’s Fancy.
Italy’s gelato is completely different from the ice cream you usually see in the supermarket. In Italy, the flavors are so intense and immediate in your mouth, and here, a lot of supermarket ice cream tastes mostly “sweet” and “cold.” It’s a totally different experience.
Italy’s gelato is intense – it’s made every day with really fresh high-quality ingredients. Gelato also has a warmer frozen temperature than ice cream, because it is made with milk, rather than higher-fat cream. That warmer temperature allows it to hit your taste buds faster. It’s a combination of art and science. I thought that once people were exposed to a truly high-quality gelato product, they would not want to go back to ice cream.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
Finding consistent high-quality ingredients. Because we aren’t producing new flavors for a gelateria every day, it’s important to develop flavors that we can produce year-round and still be excellent. For example, it would be very hard for us to source amazing peaches all year, but we can always find amazing bananas – hence my Roasted Banana Gelato with Bourbon & Pecan Praline.
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Love what you do and don’t give up. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep going. It certainly hasn’t been a directly upward path for me, and I’ve hit lots of obstacles along the way. But, because I am so obsessive about flavor and food, I always want to keep progressing and improving. I became a chef because I loved cooking and always found more to love about it. I never really expected to be here…I got here because I loved the journey.
04 What’s on the horizon for Nancy’s Fancy?
We are always working on new flavors, and I’m really excited about two new vegan flavors that we are about to launch. It was important to me to make them all-natural and still as amazing as our existing gelati and sorbetti. I think even non-vegans are going to really love them.
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
It might sound clichéd, but it really is my passion for food that drives and inspires me. I always want anything I create to be as absolutely flavorful as it can be.
On that note, you really should try my gelato!