I am first and foremost a food-loving mum of three who relocated to Singapore from London with husband Jonny in 2008. A lawyer by background, I was thrilled to leave that world behind and have the opportunity to focus on raising my young family in Asia, and embracing all that was to go with such an adventure.
I was deeply inspired by the vast selection of incredible food and ingredients available in Singapore, but like many new arrivals, I found it very difficult to buy food staples I could trust. Despite the proliferation of supermarkets and butchers, many essentials like quality meats, fish and chicken were of dubious origin; few if any retailers were clearly labeling where these products came from, if hormones and antibiotics were used in their production, or how the animals and fish were raised. This lack of transparency, along with increasing reports about food scandals and safety, led me to producers in New Zealand and Australia. By sourcing food this way, I was able to get much closer to the farmers and their produce, reinstating my trust in the food I was feeding my family. I was thrilled with my deliveries, knowing exactly from whom I was buying and understanding the farmer’s ethos around animal welfare, diet etc. Once my friends tasted the quality and flavour of the products I was buying, they were quick to add to my increasingly regular shipments.
Before long, I could see a wonderful opportunity emerging to bring together my passion for cooking and eating with the increasing demand for ‘clean’ food in Singapore. In 2011, from a modest office in Tiong Bahru, The Barbie Girls officially opened for business when I placed my first commercial order for fresh New Zealand lamb, which to this day remains a best seller. Within weeks, I found myself personally managing a fast-developing business, dashing to make airport collections of stock, packaging fresh products each night and darting around the island in my trusty people carrier packed to the roof with coolers every Friday to make the once-weekly customer deliveries.
Within 6 months, I had hired my very own driver (the ever-charming Iz Mar who remains the most loved member of the team). The Barbie Girls had become a thriving online food company selling a complete range of high quality, ethically sourced ‘clean’ products delivered to home. Food-savvy shoppers in Singapore now had some real choice in terms of quality and in how they bought their weekly supplies of meat, chicken and fish.
From day one, I made the decision that I would only sell products from suppliers I had personally met and vetted and who shared my vision to provide customers with the purest food on the planet from smaller, often family run businesses who genuinely cared about animal welfare and the surrounding environment. This marked the beginning of my interest in and commitment to understanding the true provenance of what I was to sell. I started making regular trips to visit suppliers and quickly built up a personal network of like-minded producers, walking the farms and fisheries in the English and Irish countryside, The New Zealand Alpine rivers and the vast expanse of Australian cattle lands – these personal connections helped establish a strong basis of trust and knowledge, and to this day underpins my ability to offer customers consistently reliable high quality food from sources I now know personally.
Over the next five years, the product range expanded as quickly as my customer base. Evolving way beyond BBQ meats, I added beautiful local chicken from Jamie Oliver’s supplier, the finest fresh and smoked salmon in the world from Mount Cook in New Zealand, and a range of additive-free, ready-to-go meals created by our own chef using our meats, seafood and chicken sourced from around the world. Home-made bone broths, creamy Burrata cheese and Parma’s finest ham along with juicy super-clean prawns, wild New Zealand cod, free range English bacon and heavenly honey represent just some of the broader range I have the pleasure of sourcing and bringing to your table.
In early 2017, I decided the time was right to rethink how I was presenting the company to my customers and suppliers. I had long before evolved beyond BBQ meats (the original inspiration for The Barbie Girls name!), and with an increasing diversity of customers in Singapore, I chose to rebrand the company to Sasha’s Fine Foods; this evolution makes it easier for me to reach and communicate with all my customers, regardless of their product preferences. It also signals a new chapter for the company, featuring an enhanced online customer experience with a wide range of additional features and a commitment to significantly expand our service to newer customers.
Through Sasha’s Fine Foods, I remain totally committed to my guiding principle to source and sell the best quality, cleanest and greenest foods available. My commitment to a highly personalized level of service has always separated my business from others in the market, and I believe an improved online experience will enable customers to explore and engage with Sasha’s Fine Foods as simply and efficiently as possible. Same great company, just better!