A little bit Saucy...and a
WHOLE LOTTA FUN!
Making a drastic career change is nerve-wracking, but when Lisa Liu rebranded herself as the Saucy Wench and delivered up food products as vibrant and enticing as her brand and personality – she quickly discovered she’d made the right choice.
The condiment queen has developed a cult following for her Asian sauces, condiments and ready-to-heat dumplings, and thrilling customers with her quirky and fun personality and style.
Initially getting her start at various markets around town, she’s now stocked at boutique grocery stores and featured in a number of menus at restaurants such as Little Red Providore in Red Hill, the Farmhouse in Kedron, and Peach Café and Oh Boy, Bok Choy! in Stafford.
Starting with chilli oil, the Saucy Wench range has grown to eight sauces and condiments, including a chilli jam, plum sauce, satay sauce, and a garlic and eschallot vinaigrette which one local chef has proclaimed as “adult Nutella – it can go on everything!”
Lisa has also expanded into ready-to-heat frozen dumplings, which, along with her sauce range, are made in her Morningside commercial kitchen by a passionate team of retired migrants.
Using fresh and seasonal local produce, without preservatives, artificial ingredients, and keeping the sauce range gluten-free and vegan-friendly, Saucy Wench products focus on quality and authenticity.
Lisa’s alter ego as “the Saucy Wench” was essentially an accidental invention, born out of a community get together under the threat of flood waters in East Brisbane in 2015-16.
“Power was cut to the whole street, so we invited everyone over to our place and said “bring all the food in your fridges, freezers and stuff from the garden – we’re firing up the generator and cooking for everyone.” “We made so much food, from chicken pies to strawberry jam and chilli oil.
“We had jarred the chilli oil for everyone to take home with them, and one of the neighbours said “this is so good, you should sell this stuff!” I scoffed a bit and said “what am I gonna call myself, the Grumpy Old Lady?”
“She said “nah, you call yourself…the Saucy Wench!”
So that was that. She even helped sign me up for an ABN then and there!” The iconic Saucy Wench logo was even born that day, featuring Lisa’s distinctive ‘Dame Edna’ onion goggles.
“That was a photo taken on the day. I always wear those glasses when I’m cooking and I just happened to pose with a piece of lemongrass – it ended up being perfect. The glasses have now become a bit of a signature. I never used to wear them when I first started selling at markets, but I noticed I definitely had more sales when I had them on.
Lisa’s evolution to being the Saucy Wench is somewhat unconventional, but due to an early nurturing in the kitchen, is perhaps not that unexpected. “Growing up in Malaysia and raised by my single Mum and my grandparents, I always loved to cook, and I was helping out in the kitchen as soon as I could stand. I was the first granddaughter and was a big plumpy girl amongst a family of literal beauty queens.
“I wanted to be a cook, but Mum said “no way, you’ll be working in a street stall and you’ll be all oily all the time. I’m not sure why that was her biggest fear…!
As with most food, the proof is in the pudding, and the success of Saucy Wench has been driven primarily by word of mouth, with customers fangirling over the products’ authentic, fresh and punchy flavours.
After gaining a following at the New Farm Markets for three years, featuring at the Good Food and Wine Show, branching into dumpling-making workshops and garnering a steady flow of customers online, Lisa is looking for bigger things.
“I’m working hard on getting Saucy Wench products stocked by retailers in other cities. We’ve just teamed up with The Essential Ingredient to stock our sauces in their New South Wales, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory stores and on their online store which is awesome.
“Saucy Wench started as a bit of a joke, and I really didn’t think it would grow to be as big as this – and it’s been a lot of hard work. But sharing good food and helping others to make great food is something I’ve always been passionate about, so it makes sense that it has happened naturally, and I’m absolutely loving it,” Lisa said.
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