The “frozen yogurt craze” pervades North America. But, Karan Gera offers an alternative – let’s call it a lassi pops intervention. Born in Delhi, India, Gera grew up on lassi. Years later, he owns a lassi pops business, driven by his belief that frozen yogurt is unhealthy. Why? First of all, “our bodies aren’t really designed to absorb cold yogurt,” and secondly, fruits and yogurts are incompatible foods. Enter lassi. A product of Ayurvedic medicine, lassi is yogurt fortified with herbs and spices that are said to help with digestion.
Whether or not you are a proponent of the benefits of lassi, you must admit that the Monsieur Singh lassi pops are über-tasty. And once you do, you’ll join the ranks of fans such as Martha Stewart.
Karan Gera is unlike many of the other chefs appearing in this series. Gera began his career as a brand strategist, not a chef. He worked for companies like BBDO and helped craft the images of brands including Pepsi and Gillette. He tells me “you have to be quite entrepreneurial to be a brand strategist.”
It’s all about “having the right idea” and opportunity struck for Gera when he “was doing a product for a yogurt company and the job was to create an innovation strategy for that brand” that included a new product. Gera’s idea was for the company to create products with lassi. He pitched the idea to his company contacts, but it didn’t make it through the corporate bureaucracy. Gera believed so strongly in his idea that he decided to create the company himself. He returned to India to learn about Ayurveda in Kapurthala, an area known as the “Paris of Punjab” for its former king who was a “big Francophile” and the French architecture that resulted from his reign. This brings us to the name Monsieur Singh; ‘monsieur’ reflects the Parisian influence of Kapurthala, while Singh is a common local last name.
Upon his return to New York, Gera started experimenting with yogurt combinations. He “worked a lot in [his] kitchen…for a few months.” When his friend opened a spice store in Westchester, New York he got the idea of creating an onsite lassi bar. His product is now also carried at Smorgasburg, an exclusive outdoor open market that accepts roughly five percent of vendor applicants. “The response was very good,” explains Gera, who provides Monsieur Singh to six of the eight Whole Foods markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s sold in pints and four unique flavours: mango, honey lemon, pineapple banana and strawberry chai.
It’s amazing to see an idea like Karan Gera’s lassi pops become a fantastic, strong brand. Gera is a New York success story, an example of the American Dream. And, we’re excited to watch his brand grow and thrive. Who knew success could taste this good?
Originally published on cuative.com. Photos Retrieved from Monsieur Singh.