Friday Foodie In Focus - Pepe Saya
Foodies Collective Store Admin
It's highly likely that you've heard of, or are already a fan of Pepe Saya's divine butter and dairy products, but have you ever wondered who the man is behind the picture on its highly visual & recognisable label?
This artistic drawing is of Pierre Issa, the founder & passionate butter eater behind Pepe Saya (although I must say Pierre looks a lot younger in real life).
Pierre's hand crafted cultured butter was the original and still is the hero product in the Pepe Saya range. Once a one man show, Pepe Saya now has 16 butter makers churning out 220,000kg of creamy goodness each year. Once you've had a taste of this butter it's hard turning back. It's no wonder why there is a loyal, even obsessive following (myself included).
What makes this butter so special you ask?
Well for starters it's made from 100% Australian cream, fresh from local farms where cows are pasture fed. Secondly, because it's cultured. The ‘culture’ is the good bacteria (lactobacillus) which is added to the cream, fermented for 24 hours and left to ripen over 3 weeks. The cultures eat the sugar (lactose) in the cream and turn it into lactic acid (souring the cream), which adds flavour to the butter and fills it up with probiotics so it’s better for you too! The sour cream is then churned until the butter is formed, which is then kneaded and handworked to remove water and achieve the perfect consistency that cultured butter is known for 👌🏽.
We were fortunate to interview Pierre and learn more about the Pepe Saya story. Read below:
What or Who inspired you to create Pepe Saya?
My family are big butter eaters, I remember when I was little my granddad used to spread butter like cheese on his bread. We grew up eating lurpak at home. I found it hard to find a good Australian-made artisan butter. So I tried to churn my own butter, and it was a challenge to make it taste the best. I wanted something very unique, letting people to have a great tasting Australian Butter that's full of tang and creaminess. The butter came about because of my passion for cream, I worked with a lot of cream products like custard and mousses. And just playing with cream all day long, I got interested in how cream could be stored and how to prolong the life of cream, and the obvious answer was butter.
How did you come up with the name Pepe Saya?
My Name is Pierre Issa. I named the product Pepe Saya - 'Pepe' being my nickname and 'Saya' an imaginary island oasis I escape to in my head.
What's your food philosophy?
When it comes to food, my philosophy is to enjoy a sustainable, fresh and seasonal food while knowing about the food you eat (where it comes from, who produces it down to understand the ingredients)
If I looked inside your fridge, what would I find?
All Pepe Saya products of course (Butter, creme fraiche, mascarpone, buttermilk & Ghee) and lots of fruit and Veggies.
If you could invite any celebrity/famous person over for dinner who would it be & why?
The Australian of the year would be my choice because they are very inspirational. (Pierre was recently Campbelltown's 2015 Australia Day Ambassador. As a Lebanon-born son of a Scots-Australian mum and Lebanese dad, Pierre is a shining example of Australia's multiculturalism)
Any new & exciting projects or products on the horizon?
I have five product lines, which I'm satisfied about at this stage, however I am working on a project with Qantas called 'Producer to Plane' where we're filming different Australian producers, which Qantas use their products in flight. Pepe Saya is now served on Qantas's first and business class on international flights. The video is set to be displayed during the meal time of each flight showcasing the producer's origin and what they produce, so customers have the best Australian experience on the best Australian airline.