We just can’t keep up with Imran! He moves through challenges as if they were nothing and he always comes out ahead. How can that be and what is his secret? We don’t know- he seems to be a “force of nature.”
You may recall that we have been following Imran’s progress since 2013, when he had really just begun making cheese. There were no resources in Pakistan for him to learn, so he reached out to us with a few questions. Since then, we have done 4 articles about him:
Making Cheese in Pakistan
Imran made his first make room in his home after his wife booted him out of their kitchen (he was using it all the time!).
He built all of his own equipment and worked at making cheese when he wasn’t busy running his full-time business, Faisal Traders.
At that time, his attempts to make cheese were failing 75% of the time! But, of course, he was undeterred…
Teaching a Workshop in Pakistan with Imran Saleh
After we posted that first article, Imran was contacted by a lady who wanted him to teach her about making cheese. Mrs. Tahira and her son spent a day with Imran and his family.
Meanwhile, a few weeks before that, Imran had decided to print a few labels in order to see if he could sell some of his Mozzarella (to say that regulations are simpler there than in the US would be an under-statement!) He was also offering to sell equipment like the ones he had made and cheese making supplies.
Making Dry Mozzarella in Pakistan
Eight months later, Imran had trained 4 students to make cheese and he was selling his Mozzarella. He had developed his own style of “dry” Mozzarella which doesn’t burn as readily on pizza. (Pizza is a fast growing business in Pakistan and Imran hinself has a built-in pizza oven in his kitchen.)
Imran Saleh-Changing the Culture of Pakistan
Two years went by, and we were amazed to learn that Imran had a new facility and was selling over 20 different kinds of cheese all over Pakistan.
He had employees and they were making cheese 7 days/week while he was still running his other business!
Newest Growth Spurt
Now, only 1 1/2 years later, Imran has an even larger facility, much more equipment and more employees. His target is to process 10,000 liters (2,642 gallons) of milk daily. It is now below 1,000 (264 gallons). He has a team of 6 people.
His new facility is air conditioned. Lahore is very warm these days, around 42C (108F) so, an air conditioning unit is a blessing for them in this season. He told us, that surprisingly, there is not much decline in cheese orders due to the unbearable heat.
His new space looks like an ordinary house from the outside, but he said that when you enter it, it feels like Italy or Switzerland.
His theory is that the reason Italian foods are so popular in Pakistan right now is that the Italians love to eat and the Pakistanis do, too. “People like oily, spicy food and they like to eat it in quantity. I want them to eat healthy cheeses with fruits and nuts for breakfast and for dinners and to change to healthier living. That might sound crazy, but that’s how I am.”
This is also how he is – the hours they are open, as listed on their website are Mon – Sun / 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM. How’s that for a schedule?!
About his cheese…
He is currently making over 40 different kinds of cheese.
He told us, “I wish you could try my cheeses. Since I make it from unpasteurized milk, it’s the best taste you can find anywhere. I have found that unpasteurized cheese is the safest thing on earth. It’s only the working conditions which can produce bad bacteria. If proper sanitation and hygiene is adopted, it’s as safe as any other food. But, any food which is processed in a bad hygienic environment can develop bad bacteria. Cheese is not any special case. I have been eating raw milk cheese for the last 5 years and I feel much better than I did previously.”
Imran is hoping to have his own goat farm at some point. Last year, he began making goat’s milk cheeses, but he gave up because of the scarcity of milk. He told us that right now, he is focused on spreading his cheeses further around the country.