Sachie is the chef and owner of Sachie’s Kitchen, which she began with her husband and business partner Nick Siu eight years ago. Sachie chatted with the team about bringing authentic Asian flavours to Kiwis and the excitement of building on her initial success.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
"Coming from Japan and having travelled the world experiencing new cultures and flavours, I am a huge fan of pan-Asian cuisine, and it was my dream to bring authentic Asian food and flavours to New Zealanders. To our delight, the cooking school has been hugely popular and is now Australasia’s largest and most award-winning cooking school, and more than 50,000 Kiwis have experienced one of our cooking classes. We’ve also launched our own TV show Sachie’s Kitchen, which is syndicated to over 35 countries, and a cookbook of the same name, which is sold in New Zealand, Australia, UK and the USA. More than anything, I want to bring traditional and delicious Asian cuisine to the homes of people New Zealand wide, but being based in Auckland has made this a challenge. To combat this, we embarked on the creation of a range of pan-Asian Meal Kits, which have just launched in supermarkets. Our aim is to give people the ability to replicate tastes that represent authentic Asian cuisine and take the difficulty out of sourcing hard to find ingredients; as well as just making cooking fun and simple no matter where customers live in New Zealand. Each of our meal kits includes all the base ingredients you need, including pastes, sauces, herbs and spices and noodles or rice, with only a couple of additional perishable ingredients required to create an Authentic Asian meal at home. They are the perfect solution for time-poor families and New Zealanders looking for an easy, quick weeknight meal that’s also nutritious and flavoursome. We launched just a handful of weeks ago, and it’s gone great! We’ve had heaps of amazing comments from customers and in the media around the tastes and convenience of the kits, and we are excited to build on this initial success."
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
"We wanted to create a pan-Asian offering that reflects a variety of cultures and cuisines and so have Pad Thai, Thai Red Curry, Japanese Teriyaki Chicken, Malaysian Laksa, Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken, Summer Rolls, and Indonesian Beef Rendang Meal Kits in the range. Our kits are the only ones in the market that cover this range, and they represent classic Asian favourites that people know and love as well as some of our personal favourites.
We pride ourselves on the authenticity of our flavours and so highlight our product tastes as being “Authentic Asian” rather than being “Asian Inspired”. We prepare the pastes locally ourselves, and we source some of the more exotic authentic herbs and spices directly from Asia, as we want to ensure that the kits provide the best of both worlds by using traditional, authentic ingredients as well as taking advantage of New Zealand’s fresh produce.
A huge benefit for customers is that our Lemongrass Chicken, Pad Thai, Summer Roll, Thai Red Curry and Teriyaki Chicken kits are all gluten-free, and you can see instructional videos on how to make them at www.youtube.com/sachieskitchen."
Has there been any recent company news?
"We have just been launched into Foodstuffs and can be found at 101 New World stores in the North Island. We are in a number of Pak ‘n Saves but are working on further distribution."
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
"We can see that there is a huge gap and category growth in Authentic Asian food brands that can be easily identified and trusted by Kiwis. Our goal is to become a category champion that appeals to both Kiwis and Asians alike; similar to the Old El Paso Mexican range. We’re definitely looking at expanding our Meal Kit range, but also to create new product lines which represent our Essential Range and after that eventually consider exporting overseas."
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
"We are currently ranged in all New Worlds in the North Island and some Pak ‘n Saves. We are continuing to work with more Pak ‘n Saves and aim to be in the South Island as soon as we can, as we’ve had many enquiries from customers via email and on our Facebook page asking for our product.
We’d also like to be ranged in Fresh Choices and Countdowns. Currently, we’re positioned in mainstream grocery, and our goal is to be the Asian equivalent of the great work the El Paso team have done in the Mexican category."