Marina and Ina
Amidst birdsong and lovely aromas (one of their demo kitchens was nearby) we (Paul and Marina) told them (Ina and Nikki) a bit about what we do at Yuppiechef, and vice versa.
The story behind the family-run Paarman empire is inspiring. Kicking off with a six-pupil cookery school in a converted garage back in the 80′s, the business and brand have gone consistently from strength to strength. With a twinkle in her eye, Ina described how she saw the potential for cooking to become a lifestyle a good while ago:
“Once upon a time, bicycles used to be the way poor people got to work. Now, cycling is a whole industry and people have to have all the toys. We thought, if we could do for cooking what they did with cycling...”
And boy, have they. The fledgling cookery school took off, and Ina was hard-pressed to meet the demand for lessons while she started working on her pilot range of products (the first of which was her famous Sea Salt Mix, based on her grandmother recipe). In 1990 Ina’s son, Graham, joined the business and Paarman Foods was born.
Graham revamped the packaging, relocated the business to factory premises and focussed on expanding the product range. It wasn’t long before the business managed to secure a foothold in the major retail multiples (like Pick ‘n Pay and Spar) and within a few years they were exporting to the UK and Australia. The quick version of the rest of the story, is that their products can now be found on shelves countrywide, and from chocolate cake mix to ready-mixed spices, have a remarkably loyal following.
Ina emphasized a desire to offer real value to people, and that looking after the community of Paarman product users is a key focus for them. Their free monthly newsletter - full to the brim with recipes, cooking tips, giveaways and new product info – is a perfect example of how they do this. Whatever the opposite of spam is, this newsletter would be that thing.
We are pleased as punch to be in touch with the people at Paarman foods and are looking forward to some epic brainstorming. As we said farewell, Ina slipped us some of the brand new stock concentrate sachets (chicken, beef and fish) which launched in South Africa two weeks ago:
The fish stock is the first of its kind in the country, and can be diluted to make a 250ml of stock or mixed (unconcentrated) with olive oil and rubbed onto fish for a delicious braai (more on them here). A fish braai to celebrate National Braai Day tomorrow, perhaps?
Happy long weekend, friends.