Renowned restaurateur Simon Gloftis launches Bu Deli, a boutique vegan butter giving the real deal a run for its money
When it comes to plant-based alternatives, the food industry has come a long way. Vegans are not often left wanting, but there are some substitutes that just don’t cut it. For Claire Beard, there was a gaping hole in her heart for one craving in particular – croissants. For without blocks of creamy, cultured European-style butter, it’s impossible to recreate that layered, puffy, flaky, buttery, golden-brown pastry perfection … right? Claire was determined to prove that theory wrong.
In the early 2000s, Claire was working at a cafe on the Gold Coast when, after taking an unannounced holiday, she was fired by the owner. Parting ways on those terms, neither Claire or that cafe owner – Simon Gloftis, the restaurateur behind Hellenika, SK Steak & Oyster, Sushi Room and Sunshine – thought they would end up business partners 15 years later.
“I went down to Byron just before COVID and ran into Claire,” Simon recalls. “She told me she was making vegan butter. I tried it, and I knew I was tasting something really special. So I said, ‘Let me help you produce this’.” And from there, Bu Deli was born.
Together with her husband Luke McCartin, Claire has spent the last ten years producing (and perfecting) her own European-style vegan butter. The couple started by creating small batches using a domestic mixer, selling it at a cafe they owned in New Zealand. Now, Claire, Luke and Simon have opened a production facility in Burleigh Heads, with the capacity to produce roughly 20,000 blocks of Bu Deli per week.
Unlike a lot of the vegan butters and plant-based butter alternatives available, Bu Deli is cultured and emulates the consistency and versatility of traditional French cow’s butter – it even has that European-style tang. A balanced blend of macadamia nuts, olive oil and coconut cream, with touches of cashew nuts and coconut milk, come together to create a smooth, creamy, rich and lightly salted butter with a hint of nuttiness that can be used as a spread, but also for cooking and baking. And yes, much to Claire’s delight, it can even be used to make layered, puffy, flaky, buttery, golden-brown croissants.
“There’s nothing like it,” Simon remarks. “We’re sort of in a category of our own. It’s very unique.” Bu Deli comes in block form – wrapped in foil just like dairy butter – is sold in the butter section and is affordably priced. “Even though it’s a premium product, we’ve priced it competitively so that people can use it every day. We want it to become a staple in people’s fridges,” says Simon. The Bu Deli team has been using the product across a range of recipes – think everything from cakes and croissants through to pastas and even with Vegemite on toast. Simon has introduced it on the menu at all of his restaurants, too. “It gives a nuttiness that you’d usually need by browning the butter,” says Simon. “It’s amazing with mushrooms – we use it in our mushroom risotto at SK.”
For now, Bu Deli is available for purchase exclusively at The Standard Market Company in Fortitude Valley, Newstead and Southport, and The Oxley Village Grocer in Nobby Beach. Plans are already underway to roll out the product across Australia and make it more widely available, and Claire, Luke and Simon are looking to create more vegan products in the future.
For recipe ideas and more, head to the Bu Deli website.
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