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Meet Suzanne Schaffner of EscoGelato in Escondido

Today we’d like to introduce you to Suzanne Schaffner.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
EscoGelato opened 6 years ago and it was a dream come true. I love to cook for others, to garden, to travel… and eat! I grew up in Escondido, went away to school at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and after graduation I lived and worked in Europe and that is when my passion for gelato and regional food truly blossomed. I dreamed of creating that same cafe culture in my own hometown where I could serve the same wholesome, good quality, casual treats that I came to love while living above a Gelateria. We make traditional Italian gelato with a distinct Escondido/North County influence. I’m passionate about celebrating the local produce we grow in our area and it is my hope that this love if felt when enjoying any of the food we prepare.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Certainly, there have been struggles, but I’m the kind of person who quickly forgets the hard stuff. When I opened the shop I had no formal kitchen training, no experience in management, let alone what it take to start a business from scratch. I’m thankful for all the experience I had working for a small family owned businesses in the past. They showed me that if you are truly dedicated you can make your dreams a reality and do something you really love.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about EscoGelato – what should we know?
We serve traditional gelato and sorbet, panini and salads, espresso drinks and baked goods. While the gelato is traditional in the way that it is prepared and in texture (of which I am obsessed with), we like to experiment with interesting flavors: apricot goat cheese, honey lavender, sour cream brown sugar, strawberry basil, etc. I’m most proud of the integrity of the food we prepare and the community we have built with our staff, local farmers and artisans, and our customers. It never gets old to watch someone take that first bite of gelato and see that happy look in their eyes.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had so much help! My mentor Maria from Seattle (introduced to me by another vendor for which I am forever grateful). She is a powerhouse and so very generous with her time. Local farmers Jack, Sandra, Noel, Alysha, and Chris. My family – countless hours supporting me while I did this crazy thing. My previous bosses, I’m so thankful for all the lessons they taught me. It’s only now that I understand how hard they had to work the achieve what they did. But, most of all my staff… they work so incredibly hard, with passion, they keep me laughing, and the keep us all pushing to do the best we can.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Kelly Suan, Kehani Geronilla

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