Chef Fany Gerson©Courtesy/Chef Gerson
Latina Spotlight

Fany Gerson, the Latina Chef behind Fan-Fan Doughnuts, the artisanal doughnut shop taking Brooklyn by storm

Inspired by Mexican and global flavors, these sweet treats have people standing in long lines outside the shop and going crazy on social media!

Fan-Fan Doughnuts is taking social media and Brooklyn by storm. Having celebrated its second anniversary, this Latina woman-owned artisanal doughnut shop has some of the most delicious and unique flavors you likely won’t encounter anywhere else. Customers and chefs alike can’t get enough of them, posting daily photos of the delicious handmade doughnuts and standing in long lines outside the shop, both of which are testaments that these treats are truly a sensation.

Chef, cookbook author, entrepreneur, and James Beard Award nominee Fany Gerson is the Latina powerhouse behind Fan-Fan Doughnuts. She was born and raised in Mexico, where she attended cooking school before moving to New York and enrolling at The Culinary Institute of America. After finishing her studies at the institute, she interned and worked as a chef and pastry chef in high-end New York City restaurants.

Chef Fany Gerson©Courtesy/Chef Gerson

Chef Gerson is inspired and passionate about her heritage, culture and showcasing Mexican flavors. In 2010, she started “Newyorkina,” a business that sells paletas (Mexican-style popsicles). She also has written two Mexican-inspired cookbooks: My Sweet Mexico, a 2011 James Beard nominee for best cookbooks in the Baking and Desserts category, and Paletas, a cookbook of unique Mexican-inspired ice pop recipes. Gerson has also been featured in elite publications such as Saveur Magazine, Fine Cooking, and the New York Times and has had her doughnuts featured in events all over New York City.

Book by Fany Gerson©Courtesy
Chef Fany Gerson has published multiple cookbooks

Now, the Latina chef has a local shop that is well regarded and loved! The shop’s unique Latin-inspired doughnuts such as the Mexican Cinnamon, the Guava & Cheese, the Churro & Chocolate and the Yuzu Meringue really stand out against traditional doughnut offerings. They also have Holiday and seasonal unique doughnut flavors, with customers eagerly awaiting Chef Gerson’s new flavor combinations.

“All flavors come from natural fruits. We even make our own sprinkles such as with dragon fruit powder and mango turmeric, and we even make our own Mexican cinnamon that we grind in the shop. All natural.”
Fan Fan doughnut flavors©Courtesy
Super delish Latin-inspired Fan Fan doughnut flavors

For Thanksgiving, Chef Gerson recently collaborated with Celebrity Chef and TV host Tom Colicchio on a seasonal doughnuts box. The limited-edition box included exciting flavors such as Roasted Sweet Potato with Marshmallow Meringue, Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle, and a “Pecan Pie”, a la mode doughnut.

Chef Fany Gerson with American celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio©Courtesy/Chef Gerson
Chef Fany Gerson with American celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio
“I want my customers to feel like a community when they come to the store. I even resource and collaborate with local chefs to support small businesses, support other small businesses and chef entrepreneurs. It also makes me feel like more of a community when I collaborate.”

In a sit-down with Chef Gerson, she revealed that she wanted to create “a very personal and authentic experience” with Fan-Fan Doughnuts, something that “makes people happy.” From the open kitchen concept, where customers can see the doughnut shop workers behind the scenes, to the Latin music playing inside, and the colorful and unique designs of the doughnuts, Chef Gerson wants her customers to “feel the Latin culture.”

HOLA! USA’s Food Contributor, Christina Roman, had the chance to ask Chef Gerson a few questions about how her Latin background contributed to her culinary success and authentic sweet creations.

What was your inspiration for creating Fan Fan Doughnuts?

In general pastry, sweets “make people happy”. The doughnut canvas shows different (global) flavors of the world and my Mexican culture. Desserts are also more celebratory: Ex: Birthdays, celebrations, friends coming over, for Sunday treats. If you are having a bad day, sweets makes people happy. For a moment everything is okay once you have a treat.

Fan Fan doughnut, La Donna©Courtesy/Chef Gerson
The Chef wrote on her Instagram: “Capturing the sweetness and colors of La Donna, one of our classic doughnuts.”

How do you come up with all of your unique and delicious flavor profiles?

Strength is imagination. Editing is my problem because I have so many ideas lol. Inspiration is all around. Nostalgic. I miss home. I also get inspired by what is in season. I can even be having a conversation with someone, go to a museum, going to a restaurant, and getting inspired. It’s also about self-discovery. There is always inspiration all around. I keep it as authentic as possible and not be like anyone else.

How has your Mexican culture influenced these creations?

Mexican culture and I love vibrancy, we crave it. I love colors and bright things. Our sister company makes our own churros. We make our own fresh Mexican cinnamon that we grind daily. Even in our dough itself, we make Mexican cinnamon tea and use the tea as part of the dough ingredients. We make our own Mexican chocolate glazes. Use vibrant colors. Our doughnuts are affordable but look luxury.

Chef Fany Gerson©Courtesy/Chef Gerson

Are there any particular doughnut(s) that were inspired by your Mexican culture or family?

Our glistening La Donna doughnut was inspired by my grandma who was an elegant and beautiful woman growing up. The pop of fuschia color represents her bold and strong personality. And the raspberry black currant and crispy meringue represents the elegant woman that she was.

I previously created a special doughnut for my dad papa bear. He lives in Mexico. He likes candy. And he loves Tootsie Rolls. And one time he said he bought a few Tootsie Rolls and he bought shelves full of Tootsie Rolls so I created a doughnut after him and his love of Tootsie Rolls.

Fan Fan doughnut©Courtesy/Chef Gerson
“The colorful doughnut Madre Tierra made with white chocolate pistachio buttercream and edible flowers”

Why is it so important to you to show your customers and the world these Mexican flavors?

Being away from Mexico brought me to it. New perspective. I have incredible pride from where I come from. I love my Mexican culture. I spend a lot of time doing research on Mexican culture. I review different cookbooks. I wanted to show my Mexican culture in a positive way.

My son was born here and he inspires me for everything I do. And I want him to be proud of his Mexican culture and me and everything that I do.

Any general words of advice for other Latinas and/or female entrepreneurs that want to start a food business?

Woman are much stronger than we are often taught to believe. Shut the noise tap within. If you are passionate about something that you want to pursue, you will regret not trying than it not working out. There is no failure when it comes to learning. You got this.

The unique and tasty flavors of Chef Gerson’s doughnut creations showcase her passion, Mexican roots and global inspirations.

The shop is located in Brooklyn, so look it up and stop by for a tasty latin-inspired sweet! They bake daily small batches, so it’s all fresh and delish!

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