Tamalpais “Pai” Roth-McCormick
Raised on an organic farm in the Pacific Northwest where the long growing season, the gardens and beautiful setting act as her inspiration, Pai has been producing her selection of amazing provisions since 2010. A classically trained chef who has worked under many of San Francisco's finest chefs including Traci Des Jardin and Douglas Keane, McCormick challenged herself to leave the restaurant world behind and create something personal, where the secret to living well is to sprinkle love into everything.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
I was running a catering company in Jackson, WY with my sweetie Mark, just before we moved to Oregon to start Bunches & Bunches Ltd. to be closer to family. We catered wonderful events in Jackson Hole and got to know dear people. We built a commercial kitchen attached to our home, got to be closer to our dogs, and develop new recipes. Before this we both worked in restaurants and before that we were in culinary school together. Our catering company, The Kitchen At Pai’s Place, allowed us to work side by side. We decided to start Bunches & Bunches Ltd. to take some of our favorite recipes and share them with a wider audience, and now our products reach people nationally and occasionally jump the pond. We still get to work side by side in our own kitchen without the schlepping of catering. It just felt like the next logical step in our ever-evolving food dreams. Coming up with new and favorite recipes and sharing them with people.
Tell us about your products.
The first product that we brought to market with Bunches & Bunches Ltd. was my Cloud Cookie, a favorite in Jackson among clients for fine dining occasions to picnics. It is a concoction that I made up in my own test kitchen born out of my long love of baking for friends and clients. It is part macaroon and part meringue coconut cookie, a sweet light treat to take you away on a cloud.
The second product from Bunches & Bunches Ltd. was Snaps - a ginger cookie for those who enjoy the spice of life.
After our first three cookies we started to focus on staples for the pantry, what we love to cook with at home and use for our favorite meal of the day - dinner. Our Trifecta of mole sauces - Red, Smoked and Green, inspired by Mark’ passion for the vast and bright flavors of real Mexican cuisine. Whether you are in the mood for a rich Red Mole, the dark smoky flavor of the Smoked Mole or the bright fresh zip of the Green Mole. Bunches & Bunches Moles will transport your palate to the heart of real Mexico any time you like. They will blow you away by their incredible richness and deep flavors. They make a marvelously impressive meal easy to prepare in minutes. You can feel good knowing that each batch, as with all of Bunches & Bunches products, was made with bunches and bunches of love
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
I love each step of the making process because I believe in the value of the love that goes into it. There’s a feel and inspiration involved in each part of making our products or any good meal or treat that cannot be skipped. That’s the art. The love. The attention to the moment and the details. I believe that you can taste this.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
I constantly being inspired by the quality and quantity of small-batch treats coming to market. I am sorry I can’t choose just one. I am obsessed with Ranger Chocolate. All of their bars are fabulous and I love McConnell's Ice Cream.
What Drew You To Food?
I was raised on an organic farm in the Pacific Northwest where the long growing season, the gardens, the fresh flowers, and the beautiful setting by the sea continue to inspire me. I have been cooking since I was a child in my parent’s kitchen and some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around food. I got my first restaurant job in an Italian restaurant in Port Townsend, WA when I was 13 years old and I knew shortly thereafter that I wanted to become a chef. I attended Trinity College in Connecticut and then the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco where following culinary school I got to work with some amazing chefs and I kept learning and letting my love grow from there. Mark also grew up near food preparation and around kitchens, getting his first job in a Japanese restaurant in Utah where he worked his way up (still loves cooking Japanese cuisine) until he came to culinary school where we met. We both love food and enjoy our creations and dinners together. It makes us very compatible (even when we are drawn to different tastes and flavors).
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Currently I am inspired to find new tastes. There are those I that I cherish and enjoy regularly and those that capture my heart every season. The summer tomatoes I am harvesting now for example. I love being inspired in my own cooking to enjoy new tastes, eating someone else’s creation that delights, or discovering something new. The world of food is so large and the possibilities so endless. We will have fun at this for a long time.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
A classic shortbread cookie and a Jamaican style jerk sauce and the rest is still top secret, 007.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
Mark’s is definitely Best Foods Mayonnaise
Me - I am such a slut for the perfect ingredient - a bowl of perfectly ripe strawberries, a crisp baguette and a hunk of good cheese. However I do appreciate the wonder of Sara Lee Pound Cake.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
I am currently treasuring Oregon second generation Cheese maker Francisco Ochoa’s - Don Froylan Queso Oaxaca. The brand name is a tribute to Francisco's father, Froylan Ochoa Vargas, who made cheese at home for his family but always dreamed of owning a cheese factory. Don Froylan Queso Oaxaca is excellent - just peel off the strips and eat for a snack. However it shines in quesadillas, game day nachos, chile rellenos or make queso fundido (melted cheese combined with chiles and herbs). Serve with fresh tortillas and you will be thrilled.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Linguine with clams and Caesar Salad
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
I’d love to have tea with Julia Child and serve her my cookies.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
Follow your heart. If love is not in it, it’s not going to satisfy.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and braised greens.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
I always enjoy Zuni Cafe....
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
I play tennis, I follow sports, I love my dogs, I love movies and entertainment, every good thing that makes me laugh (and sometimes cry). I like to come up with heavy furniture ideas for Mark to make. Garden. Get togethers with friends and family.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
I like to mix it up - Beyonce to Bob Dylan - but it always rocks.