Samantha Yen Yee Tan Butter Bae Co Penang

Samantha Yen Yee Tan, Penang

Samantha Yen Yee Tan

In this interview, Samantha Yen Yee Tan, the Penang lass behind, shares how her business came to be and future plans.

What do you do?
I run a home-based flavoured butter business that also bakes delectable almond sugee cakes and designs fun and vibrant grazing platters.

How did you get into the industry?
I have the first bout of MCO to thank for getting me back in touch with my inner ‘chef’ – started with just a humble dream of creating memorable jars of buttery goodness that people who visit Penang can bring back with them and share with loved ones, after lots of trials and finally a sample batch approved by peers and close circle – encouraging words and compliments fuelled us whilst the constructive feedback ironed out our shortcomings slowly but surely.

Share with us a story from behind the scenes.
Prep work for our platters start with rinsing the fruits with organic fruit cleaner, drying them, and then we get ready to design our platter. We gather all the umpteen elements we feature, visualize, and then we let the natural shapes of the days’ fruits work their magic. Trimming, shaping, stacking, pairing them so they don’t clash if they are near each other- and voila you have a beautiful platter ready to go and shine at your home party.

What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
My first sashimi – I think that has shaped my love for sashimi greatly as I recall my first one when I was six and I loved it. It was so refreshing and my late dad was a big fan – he guided me through them all and it’s one of the moments I wish I can relive again.

What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is hearing happy stories from our customers – they really just put a smile on my face knowing that all that effort we put into our jars, our cakes and platters is all worth it.

What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
Sashimi and bubbly – two of my fave things – fresh taste of the sea (unadulterated and crisp dry bubbles)

What’s one of the scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
In my early days – halfway churning butter – whey is everywhere and my mixer dies on me. Since then I’ve learnt not to overheat any of my main appliances- otherwise, it could mean life or death if I don’t have anything for my customers the next day. But lucky enough- we had an oldie but goodie we could use to save the day.

The perfect day off would be…
A day at poolside with a cold seafood platter and crisp Krug bubbly, followed by quality time with the furkids and family

A day in the life of Samantha Yen Yee Tan…
… starts and ends with what we live for – my day starts with replying to customers’ queries in the morning, then prepping the orders for the respective pickups deliveries and making sure they go out smoothly. Production starts around midday for us through to the late afternoon if not later as we still believe in making them in small batches and as our menu grows – it does take up more time. We do have customers opting for platter pickups throughout the day hence we ensure when we take orders we are clear of the flow of work etc. After production and platters are done for the day, we finish up with packing for tomorrow’s orders, write notes on behalf of our customers and the likes – and then retire for the day with a lil’ unwinding before bed.

What do you do for fun?
I love working out and connecting with like-minded individuals over good food – allows me to always reconnect with my foodie side – I love food experiences – the type that leaves a fond memory or evokes one.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about
I’d love for clients to try our offerings with an open mind – and be ready to immerse themselves in a sense of affordable luxury with our quality offerings. We strive to reflect our quality and consistency throughout all our offerings from our best-selling butter to signature sugee cake to the latest and well-loved grazing creations

How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective, or the way you operate?
It has allowed us to realise that customers now are more open to online shopping for food items but also that stare borders no longer pose issues to small business owners like us as we have had customers who are willing to consider shipping our creations interstate tho it took us a long while to find a suitable, reliable logistics provider to ship chilled items.

What’s something you’d like people to know about being a home-based SME biz owner as a profession?
In short, believing in your product and creating value for your customers brings you places.

What’s your view on the current butter and grazing platter scene in Penang?
Highly competitive though all of us have our strengths and own identity to share with all – positioning yourself well and allowing your quality offerings speak for itself whilst staying humble is key. However, the consistent availability of premium cheeses and certain berries like blackberries and raspberries from local suppliers that we have personally handpicked can pose to be a headache if one does not plan carefully – hence having a fixed grazing platter menu is rather tricky.

What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement in the future to work towards social responsibility and sustainability?
We give back bi-monthly to the community in form of donations to local animal shelters and in terms of our products, we will support local growers and brands where possible as seen in our use of Chitose produce and locally sourced Edible Blooms. We also try at best to be wise with inventory as we do not believe in creating unnecessary food wastage.

What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
I’m excited to be working on gift options for our customers for upcoming festivities. Looking forward to having more fun collaborations with local artisans – I believe that we can curate exciting offerings with each of our own specialities.

Find more interviews similar to this one with Samantha Yen Yee Tan here, and stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here.


  1. Pretty young lady! All the best in your business endeavour, girl.

  2. True, the pandemic has also changed a lot in the catering industry.

  3. A very practical young lady whose ambitions will see her through many prosperous years ahead.

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