Home cook runs Pam Pam Buns after her parents death with Covid

Home cook runs Pam Pam Buns after her parents death with Covid

How a home cook was forced to leave Australia and run her $1million plant-based food business from Thailand after both her parents died with Covid

  • Pimarada ‘Pamela’ Watcharadechmontri is the proud owner of Pam Pam Buns  
  • The 38-year-old has steamed buns and microwaveable meals available to sell
  • In 2020 her products were picked up by Harris Farm, IGA and FoodWorks
  • They’re also available in Coles Local and Woolworths Metro stores
  • In May Pamela was forced to leave Australia after her parents died with Covid 
  • She is operating her business from Thailand and will return home in January

The Covid pandemic has forced a number of business owners to pivot in the face of uncertain opening times and isolating staff but for Pimarada ‘Pamela’ Watcharadechmontri the health crisis is deeply personal.

The 38-year-old from Sydney was forced to leave her burgeoning business Pam Pam Foods in May and operate it entirely from Thailand after both her parents contracted the virus, and sadly, succumbed to it.

Pamela has bravely continued fostering her cuisine dreams, which will see her turn over a $1million profit in the new year, alongside the tragedy of planning two funerals and managing her parents’ company.

‘My life turned upside down as I received the news that my mum caught Covid,’ Pamela told Daily Mail Australia.

Pamela was forced to leave her burgeoning business Pam Pam Foods in May and operate it entirely from Thailand after both her parents contracted the virus, and sadly, succumbed to it

Pamela has bravely continued fostering her cuisine dreams, which will see her turn over a $1million profit in the new year, alongside the tragedy of planning two funerals and managing her parents’ workload

‘Only a few days later my dad also caught Covid-19. During the period that I requested for a travel permit to come out from Australia, my mum passed away before I had a chance to leave.

‘By the time I arrived in Thailand and finished quarantine, I only had seven days left to see my dad before he passed.’

The months following saw Pamela ’emotionally breakdown’ as she juggled her parents’ assets, her growing business and the grief of losing them both at once. 

‘After half a year a lot of things in Thailand have been settled and so I am scheduled to come back in early 2022,’ she said.

Despite her almost insurmountable hardships Pamela is continually inspired by her family, who were entrepreneurs in their own right, and will continue making her famous Thai steamed buns in their honour. 

Despite her almost insurmountable hardships Pamela is continually inspired by her family, who were entrepreneurs in their own right, and will continue making her famous Thai steamed buns in their honour

Alongside her steamed buns the brand also produces spring rolls, curry pouches that can be heated up on the stove or microwave, Tom Yum Soup and miso ramen

‘We were originally called Pam Pam Buns as I initially just sold steamed buns. This started off very small. I would sell my buns and deliver them myself to all of my friends and customers,’ she said of its origins.

‘Once I started to get some good feedback from the products, I decided to start up a stall at a local food market in Sydney which became a regular occurrence throughout the week.

‘The idea was always to create plant-based food as my family were vegetarian and a majority of the food I ate when I was young were vegetables and fruit. I also wanted to create a range of food that both vegan and non-vegan people could enjoy.’

Alongside her steamed buns the brand also produces spring rolls, curry pouches that can be heated up on the stove or microwave, Tom Yum Soup and miso ramen. 

‘We were originally called Pam Pam Buns as I initially just sold steamed buns. This started off very small. I would sell my buns and deliver them myself to all of my friends and customers,’ she said of its origin

‘My first supermarket placement was in Sydney’s CBD in Thai town in 2019. From there, we successfully got into Harris Farm in 2020,’ she said.

‘I count it as the biggest challenge at the time as we didn’t have any business portfolio and we had just started selling with distributors for just two months. 

‘Once we got into a great supermarket chain like Harris Farm, the ball started rolling as the portfolio started growing. We were then picked up by IGA and Foodworks as well. 

‘We then started conversations with the major supermarket chains, specifically Woolworths Metro and Coles Local. Interestingly both chains heard about our food before we reached out! This was very exciting.

Pamela always had a passion for cooking and preparing food but she spent a lot of time learning about preparing cuisine in a commercial kitchen and running a factory

‘Our yearly revenue projection is looking to reach over $1million in sales over the next 12 months. We’re currently sending thousands of steamed buns and a range of plant-based Asian cuisine across Australia each month,’ Pamela said

‘We were picked up by select Coles Local and Woolworths Metro stores in VIC and NSW. In total, we’re available at over 180 stores around Australia, including Harris Farm, IGA, FoodWorks, Coles Local and Woolworths Metro.’

Pamela always had a passion for cooking and preparing food but she spent a lot of time learning about preparing cuisine in a commercial kitchen and running a factory.  

‘Once I felt like I was ready, I set up my own factory. It was quite the challenge, but I got through it,’ she said. 

‘Our yearly revenue projection is looking to reach over $1million in sales over the next 12 months. We’re currently sending thousands of steamed buns and a range of plant-based Asian cuisine across Australia each month.’ 

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