Mama Said is a husband and wife team in Ithaca, NY. They met while working at the Home Dairy Cafe on the Commons.
Mama Said Hand Pies was born out of a desire to serve flavors from all over the world, featuring locally sourced ingredients, especially humanely raised meat, while keeping the food budget-friendly and kid-approved. We take the time to prepare many things the way people did a few generations back. After making our own farmer cheese and queso fresco, using leftover whey in pierogi dough, and then condensing some fresh, local milk, Hiroko said, “It's like we take the convenience out of food.” Whether it's making bone broth, cheese, or dough from scratch, Mama Said achieves homemade flavors through the process as well as the ingredients.
Gabe grew up in Queens, NY. His parents both enjoy cooking and have worked in hospitality his whole life. As a young boy, he also lived close to his Guatemalan grandmother and great-grandmother, and his Colombian aunt, who all provided him with many happy food memories. His mother cooked many traditional Irish-American dishes and also learned Guatemalan dishes from her in-laws; growing up in Queens, they had neighbors from many different cultural backgrounds who shared food and recipes. His father is quite skilled in the kitchen as well, and makes the best Guatemalan black beans and stewed chicken. Gabe and his three siblings take food seriously, and all have spent many years in the industry. Gabe has worked in hospitality for 20 years, from small cafés to the world-renowned Gramercy Tavern.
Hiroko grew up in Ithaca, NY. She was raised eating very simply prepared but nutritious food. Her parents encouraged her to branch out and meet people from many cultures, and also to appreciate all kinds of food. Hiroko's father impressed upon her the delight one can take in a fresh piece of fish, using every part of each ingredient if possible, and preparing each ingredient well, regardless of the dish.
In college, Hiroko had the great privilege of traveling on a scholarship. She spent time in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, eating soul food with great gusto. The next year was spent studying religion & culture in Taiwan, Thailand, India, Nepal, Italy, Israel, Palestine, and England. Hiroko continued her education at Bastyr University, earning a BS in Natural Health and Herbal Science. Her training as an herbalist inspires many of the ingredients and methods for sauces, beverages, and fillings.
Together, Gabe and Hiroko have enjoyed food adventures in Japan, Ireland, New York City, and Seattle.