By Samantha Townsend
Seven years ago when Pierre Issa walked into hatted restaurants across Australia they were using imported butter – and it wasn’t acceptable.
“People coming from overseas were going to restaurants overlooking the iconic Australian Sydney Harbour and were eating butter from France, that didn’t make sense,” Mr Issa, who is known as Mr Pepe, said.
“It was just not right.”
So, the well-known butter maker behind Pepe Saya made it his mission to change the attitude of chefs.
Today nearly all of the top restaurants including Rockpool use Australian butter including his own. Pepe Saya butter alone is in more than 1000 restaurants Australia-wide.
“There has been a huge attitude change and there is no way a hatted restaurant would use imported butter now,” Mr Issa, said.
But he said there was still a “huge mountain to climb” for the rest for the food service sector in changing attitudes towards using Australian produce.
Mr Issa said 90 per cent of croissants sold in Australia were made using imported butters, which were “half the price if not a quarter in some cases”.
“Chefs look at the price of a product like ours and look at imported, which is cheaper,” he said.
“That’s just how big the mountain is.”
A core part of his business, has been built on the reputation on sourcing Australian products, which is why he only uses cream from small dairy producers.
“We try to connect people to Australian products, it’s a simple believe in our company,” he said.
“We tell that story and we do it well.”
The cream behind Pepe Saya
A majority of the Pepe Saya butter is made from cream produced by Country Valley Dairy, which is located in where they describe “God’s own country” at Picton south of Sydney.
The dairy runs about 145 head of cattle and the owners have built a processing plant right next to the dairy.
“We use small producers because you can access the farmer,” Mr Issa said.
“We can talk direct to the farmer about what they do and what they feed the cattle, which is important for our product and our customer.”
Mr Issa said his butter was only as good as the cream that they made it from, which was why they only sourced premium product.
“Milk to be called milk needs to have a minimum of 3.5 per cent fat, which is what a lot of the brands do,” he said.
“We buy from Country Valley and producers like them as they are not the standards 3.5 per cent, we get what comes out of the cow.”
Pepe Saya also sourced product from Hastings Valley Dairy, Allansford, Fleurieu Peninsula Milk Co and Norco.
Where to buy Pepe Saya butter
You can buy Pepe Saya butter online http://pepesaya.com.au or through selected stockists that can be found on the website.