FOUNDER & OWNER,
BREAD & BUTTER
Isabel Pasch may not be a trained baker or pastry chef but a lifetime of varied curiosities, studies, and experiences around the world has culminated in running her own chain of popular Auckland eateries and stores - Bread & Butter (Bakery & Café) in Grey Lynn, Ponsonby Central and Whangaparaoa.
Baking has always been a way of life for Isabel. Born and raised in Germany, she has fond childhood memories of her family catching up over cake and coffee in her grandmother’s kitchen. She and her sister would also make cakes, biscuits, and slices with their mother whenever the opportunity arose, but it was bread that was always Isabel’s favourite.
Isabel also had a fascination with science and became interested in how things worked at a molecular level, which is how she ended up studying general biology and then microbiology at university. Hoping to study marine microbiology away from Germany, Isabel remembered her uncle talking about a tiny country in the Pacific where he had once studied, which is how she ended up hopping on a plane to Auckland in 1999.
It was there that Isabel met her Kiwi husband and soon embarked on more travel and study overseas. The couple eventually returned to New Zealand again, this time with two sons in tow. By now, Isabel had completed further study in science journalism, but she figured there wasn’t much demand for science journalists in New Zealand. So, it was time to find a new job.
And that’s when Isabel’s childhood love for baking blossomed into a whole new career. Living in New Zealand, she desperately missed the “real bread” that was ubiquitous in day-to-day German life, so she decided to make it and share it with her fellow Aucklanders.
Isabel first spent several months working in Berlin with a friend in their large organic bakery, learning as much as she could about bread, rolls, cakes, and how to run a shop and kitchen. She then dived headfirst into running her own business, finding a small French bakery for sale in Ellerslie, Auckland, which she rebranded as Paris Berlin Organic Bakery.
After a couple of years on a very steep learning curve there, Isabel harnessed the help of her husband and some newly acquired business partners to open her first Bread & Butter Bakery in 2013. She has since opened two other Auckland branches of the business.
Isabel believes bread is a wonderful, ancient food and says a good wholemeal sourdough can offer plenty of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins when it’s made right. This is why Bread & Butter Bakery focuses on traditional, slow sourdough fermentation and organic ingredients. The bakery also aims to make its handmade breads, pastries, cakes, and savouries with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.
Isabel is passionate about good, nourishing bread and has spent the past eight years sharing that with her customers. She says most people’s daily bread is mass produced with little real nutritional value, so she’s on a mission to educate as many Kiwis as possible about what’s in their bread. She also wants to make sure really good bread is accessible and available to as many people as possible.
Over the past eight years of baking, selling, and talking about bread, Isabel realised how little people know about it. She says the origin, science and benefits of real bread have been overtaken by growing fears of grains and gluten, so she has sought to address that both through her business and her blog, Bread Politics.
Isabel had no idea she would ever run a bakery but making bread has turned out to be the perfect synergy of her passions, history, and expertise. And when she’s not baking bread, she’s busy promoting the benefits of local food, community, and sustainability. She’s currently on the Board of Trustees for the Kelmarna Gardens, an organic community garden in Auckland, and is a stallholder representative on the Grey Lynn Farmers Market Committee, a community owned non-profit organisation that runs the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.
Isabel lives in Mt Eden with her husband and two sons. She cycle commutes to Bread & Butter Bakery, Café & HQ in Grey Lynn most days, spends her spare time running, going for bush walks, swimming in the ocean, snowboarding, meditating and is currently a
Student of Te Reo Maori.
Discover new ways to future-proof your business in this panel discussion. Presented by the Restaurant Association, this is a seminar all hospitality businesses can't afford to miss. Panelists include; Bart Littlejohn owner of Sails Restaurant, Isabel Pasch founder of Bread & Butter and David Meagher.