The preparation of gelato of all flavors is the passion of Kenneth Aguayo, a 28-year-old young man who stands out for his ability to prepare this dessert with goat’s milk and who has found his entrepreneurial space on the land of Junqueño.
From Hacienda Dos Aromas, this young man from Cagüeño works on his project called Goatlato, an exquisite product with about 20 flavors, where he experiments with new proposals, combines flavors and creates balanced and delicious recipes to satisfy his customers. It is precisely this part of the business that is most important to this young entrepreneur, whose flavors range from mango, coconut, passion fruit, praline, Snickers, Rocky Road, stracciatella (Italian version of chocolate chips) to red velvet cheesecake, taro , strawberry, pistachio.
This also includes the house specialties: goat’s milk cheesecake and chocolate brownie. But Aguayo is also notable for the fact that some chefs place special orders with unusual flavors.
“Right now we make 20 flavors all the time, but the flavors are endless. Whatever a chef or anyone wants to request, we work on it. That’s the part I like the most about my job, being told to create strange flavors because it gives me the opportunity to try it myself and learn a little more,” said the expert who created the flavors of lychee mentioned (Japanese fruit) and with olive oil, like the strangest gelatos he’s ever had to make.
During his creation process, Kenneth consults with several other chefs to whom he presents his creations in order to receive criticism and recommendations. “If it has a strange taste, I throw a small party to try it out, and I have a list of chefs I trust. They try to tell me methods that I can improve, or they tell me to remove something or other tricks that you don’t know, and little by little I perfect the recipe until it is balanced,” admits the young man .
However, the foundation of Kenneth’s knowledge comes from his studies in Italy, where he studied five years ago to learn the art of gelato. “I studied at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners (ICIF), which generally offers various cooking courses, but the course I took was making gelato. It was a three month course and I learned other things because they also taught me how to bake. For the last month I worked in a “patisserie” in Sicily, then I came to Puerto Rico,” Aguayo explained.
When he arrived on the island, he needed time to start entrepreneurship, but thanks to the financial support provided to him amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to give a boost to his business idea for 2021.
“It was much more complicated than I thought because in Italy you learn how to build your business, but not how to start small. When I saw that the equipment was very expensive, I said, “God knows when I’ll be able to do this.” But then I realized that I could start small, bought a few homemade ice cream makers and started at home. I made a lot of ice cream with these small machines until I was able to save up and buy the slightly larger machine,” he said.
The opportunity has come
However, Kenneth’s work caught the attention of the owners of Hacienda Dos Aromas, who saw him constantly searching their farm for the raw material for his gelato: goat’s milk. In this way, the doors were opened for him to undertake a more formal venture into the farm’s kitchen in February this year.
“When I met Alberto Roque, the owner of Hacienda Dos Aromas, he gave me the opportunity to come here to make my product. It was a very big opportunity. There’s a bit of fear because I was the only one who wanted to start from here, but the project is growing, I’m doing very well and I really like it because opportunities arise and opportunities are missing. That makes me think that this could be something very big,” Aguayo admitted.
For his part, Roque confirms that he recognized Aguayo’s desire to move forward and decided to help him. So he opened the doors of his kitchen to prepare the product and added gelato tasting to the “tour” offered by his agritourism farm.
“We saw him coming to get goat milk and I became interested in what was going on in his shop. I saw the skills he had and that he was missing that little push for his business to create space to make his ice cream. I offered him to work in my kitchen, which is certified, and told him he wouldn’t have to pay rent or anything like that. I told him: ‘When you are well enough to negotiate with us, tell me: ‘Roque, we do business’,” mentioned the owner, highlighting the impact of the product.
“His gelato is a brutal product that attracts people. There are people who come here just to buy the ice cream. He makes every flavor we ask for and since he arrived he has been selling about six or seven times what he was selling,” Roque pointed out.
Now Kenneth’s goal is to purchase a larger machine to increase his production capacity and distribute it to other locations as well as serve his product to guests in a store. “Currently we only sell and deliver them from here (Hacienda Dos Aromas in Juncos), but I would like to have more outlets in the metro area so that more people can get the product. Ultimately, I want to set up my store so that people can enjoy the full experience because gelato is a product that is meant to be eaten immediately because its texture is smoother and creamier. If I sell it in pints, you can’t enjoy the gelato experience 100%. “I want the store to be such that people eat the way they should,” concluded the businessman.