We had a quick chat to Sam to get all the cheesy details.
You took over the Pork Ewe Deli business in 2016 from Shannon, have you changed it in any way?
No not really, we haven’t made any changes, the model works and I don’t think we really intend to either, it’s a brand that everyone loves, we may tweak
a few things here and there but at the moment there aren't any plans to change anything.
Cooks Hill has been needing a good Charcuterie since forever, have you always had your eye on Darby St?
We weren’t really looking to expand, we’ve only been in the business for a short while but the opportunity presented itself and we thought we’d be crazy
not to, in for a penny in for a pound [laughs] and I am so glad we did. It’s been so well received, particularly from the locals that use the street
as their shopping area, they are so excited.
Where does your love of Cheese and all things Deli come from?
I’ve been in and around hospitality my whole working life, and I am a food tragic, I am sure I was a bit of a pest to Shannon. We used to work together
at Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley, and I always used to be in the Mayfield store. In the last 12 – 18 months we’d been saying let’s do something
together and then Shannon said one day ‘hey do you know of anyone that would like to buy the business?’ and I was like um yes!. I guess it’s a
little bit serendipity.
I don’t really come from a food background, I’ve worked in the wine industry for a long time and my husband's a hotelier and all of our travels revolve
around food and drink so having a business like Pork Ewe is a very natural fit for me. Even though it’s a lot of hard work it doesn’t feel like
work, I just love the interaction with the customers.
Is your Mayfield store different in any way to the Darby St one?
Not really they are both the same concept so stock pretty much the same range, from time to time we’ll swap products in and out, the space is a little
bit smaller in terms of fridge capacity, so Darby St really is the little baby sister.
Do you plan on introducing the foodie events to Darby St?
This is probably the one thing we have changed, we’ve increased the
number of events at the Mayfield store since I came on board. Given the space in Darby St it won’t really be possible to do events in there but I’ve
been chatting to some of the other business owners in the street who are keen to work together, so we might potentially be doing a few things elsewhere
on Darby St which is really exciting.
Coming into the warmer weather are there any cheese or products that you would recommend?
Spring is all about the picnic gifts, but
cheese and meat are always the focus. One of the big things that we have introduced here is bread, which we don’t do as much of in Mayfield, and everyone
is loving that. We also have some fantastic bits and pieces coming in like smoked olives, local smoked octopus and horseradish and single origin chocolate
which is just delicious. The other really popular thing at the moment
are the Cheese towers for birthdays and weddings and the grazing tables are also really popular for parties and functions.
I do also plan on stocking a very select range of homewares, it won’t be a big range, but I would like to stock some beautiful French linen and European
What could we find on Sam’s cheese plate, do you have any favourites?
That’s like asking me do I have a favourite child, I love them all but if I was going to select a few I would have to say the Brie Fermier which is a beautiful
traditional French brie, the Boerenkaas Gouda which is from Southern Holland is another favourite and you need a big blue like the Roquefort, it’s
big and spicy, it’s just delicious. Then there’s the goats cheese and I could go on and on.