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About PINCH’s Founder: Jamie Tappan

I come from a large “Californian family” with my parents divorcing and remarrying when I was very young. Growing up I was the 2nd youngest of 14 brothers and sisters and I can assure you it was nothing like the "Brady Bunch".  Being from a big family had its moments.  Dinnertime was a “major production”.  We needed two full size kitchen, one upstairs and one downstairs to pull a meal together.   We had a large picnic table everyone except the adults sat on benches. Attendance was not optional and more likely than not 2-3 other neighbourhood kids would be joining.  It was the one time of day when we were all together and some of my fondest memories are of us sitting around the table, eating as family, and afterwards talking and playing games.  Mother was adamant about us “eating healthily” as much for nutritional as financial considerations because it was a lot cheaper than buying processed foods. There were no Ding-Dongs, Coco Puffs or canned spaghetti at our house.  Mom made nearly everything from scratch and still does!  Her oatmeal raisin cookies are legend in our county. Starting at age 5, it was my “chore” to put together lunches for all the kids, so I guess I should have known food would eventually be in my future. 

I first came to Australia in 1992 as a backpacker and have lived on/off in Sydney for about 15 years. I’ve spent most my career in some type of finance/project management role either in Australia or the United States.  While I found the industry interesting and challenging, I never really felt connected to it and instead of a career, to me it was just hard work.  

Over the years, my passionate for cooking and entertaining regularly spilt over into my “day job” whereby project meetings were more about the catering and colleagues more like a test kitchen for recipe development.  I was desperate to be part of the food and wine culture, I just didn’t know how.

In December 2012, my job was made redundant and a few months later, rather unexpectedly, I was made redundant in my marriage.  Within a year, I had no income, no life partner and our newly renovated dream house was on the market. Suffice to say, I did what any other mature woman would do, I called my mother and cried.  Her tongue-in-cheek advice was the same as her cooking mantra “start from scratch.”  The rest is just detail. 

How did you get into spices?

I credit my passion for spices and cooking to Hasbro’s Easy Bake Oven.  As a child, I didn’t own a single doll.  Instead, my favourite toy was the Easy Bake Oven, put ingredients into the dish, add water, stir, turn on the timer, DING, and you’d have a CAKE!!!  It was absolutely magical.  It only takes a few minutes to run out of the ready-made batter and after that, well, you are left with your imagination.  I’ve been hooked on cooking and flavour profiles ever since.  

Why focus on blends rather than single spices?

What I love about herbs and spices are their ability to transform a dish.  I’m constantly surprised by their individual impact but I believe the real magic is how they combine together and take food to another, higher level.  What could be more exciting than exploring how people from across global use virtually the same ingredients and produce completely unique and delicious results?