Isabel Pasch is a founder of Bread & Butter Bakery, with a popular stall at Grey Lynn Farmers Market.
What is your favourite city in Germany?
Berlin! It is so dense and random. People feel free to be whatever they want and whoever they are. There is always something crazy going on and you never know who you might meet.
What brought you to New Zealand?
I came here to study microbiology. I did my thesis on bacteria found in the guts of Silver Drummers and Butterfish, caught in the Hauraki Gulf. My supervisor had seen the fish eating algae off rocks and we had a theory, which turned out to be true, that gut bacteria were helping fish digest the algae.
What had you stay in New Zealand?
I met my Kiwi husband at University here. Now we have two young boys, ten and thirteen, and we are here to stay.
Do you miss science?
I use it all the time! It helps me critique the ingredients that we use in the bakery. And it has made me determined to use as many organic ingredients as possible.
Why is it so important to use organic ingredients?
Knowing how beneficial our natural gut bacteria are, I avoid anything with preservatives. By definition, preservatives kill all bacteria indiscriminately. I also avoid all emulsifiers because they can bind to the gut lining, making us vulnerable to other undesirable chemicals. In the last 50 years, our lives have become saturated with thousands of chemicals that our bodies were never designed to cope with. We can never completely avoid those chemicals, but I do what I can to minimise them for my family and my customers.
So your products use organic ingredients?
All our bread ingredients are organic. We only use organic flour, sugar and dried fruit (non-suflurised). The main ingredient that we struggle to buy organic, in commercial quantities, is butter and milk.
And you are part of the Auckland Organics Collective too?
Yes, I enjoy collaborating with like-minded businesses. We are currently getting ready for Organics Week . We are very excited about spreading the word and encouraging people to choose organic options.
I hear that you are starting a blog too.
Yes (breadpolitics.com) - It is my personal attempt to educate people and let them know what is really in their food. I want to start a conversation with the food community.
And you are on the committee that runs Grey Lynn Farmers Market
I enjoy being on the committee. We have a fabulous group of dedicated and talented volunteers. One of my favourite things is organising the annual Christmas celebrations. Christmas was always an important part of her family traditions in Germany. It is a great time to bring the community together, we share stollen and Hakanoa ginger beer with market customers and tell the story of how it came to be associated with German Christmas.
And somehow with all this going on, your bike is still your preferred transport mode?
I have always biked. Since I was a young child, my parents made me bike everywhere. So when I came to New Zealand, I bought a bike within my first week. It’s a very reliable way of getting about. I know that it will take me 17 minutes to get home from work. The car can take anywhere from 10 to 30 min. Usually, the bike is quicker and I arrive home in a better mood having burnt-off the stress of the day.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to cycle around Auckland?
I recommend either a nice light road bike like mine or an electric bike - to help with the hills.
As published in Ponsonby News : March 2019