Loving the Firepot

After a hard day’s work Kylie Gunter likes nothing better than comfort food.

Kylie is head chef at Gordonton’s Fireport Cafe and says after 10 or so hours in the kitchen she’s not that keen on cooking at home.

“Usually my partner makes dinner, otherwise I’ll make comfort food; toasties are great.”

From Whakatane originally, she’s been three years at the Firepot, and loves every minute of it.

“There’s something about country people, and this place. We know the names of the locals and when they walk in the door, we’re getting their coffee ready, the way they like it. We get a lot of support from the locals, it’s fantastic.”

N8N is awfully fond of the cafe’s crunchy lemon muffins, with lemon curd yoghurt, but Kyle assures us that one of the most popular dishes is scrambled eggs.

“It’s simple food, done well, that really is a hit. We make our own relish, mix in chives and parsley and people just love it. We can go through 12 litres on one day – that’s a lot of eggs.”

The cafe has just introduced its winter menu, which she believes is toothsome in the extreme.

“It’s more warming; we’ve added new dishes like chermoula chicken with feta and roasted kumera or homemade lamb burgers, with mint yoghurt.”

After 12 years in the industry, she’s had her ups and downs. “About six years ago I had surgery on my hand for carpel tunnel, and couldn’t chef for about two years.”

During that time she worked at a gluten-free cafe on Victoria St.

“I couldn’t even hold a pair of tongs or do anything, so I helped on the counter. I still get a twinge in my left hand, but if you love something, you get over it, and make it work. I love cooking, and I love what I do here.”

Working at the Hamilton cafe gave her insight into cooking gluten-free food, which has come in handy.

“We always have two or three things in the cabinet every day. We’re also catering for dairy and meat free. Food like that seems to just fly out, people appreciate it.

They still offer a muffin deal for locals every Tuesday ($6 for muffin and coffee) and the popular $12.50 farmer’s breakfast on a Wednesday.

Also, the mid-winter Christmas is coming up, with a special menu on offer. “Michelle (Firepot owner) has gone all out, she’s having a Christmas tree with fortune cookies on it, mulled wine and the like. It will be great.”

But Kyle probably won’t be cooking that night – she’ll likely be having toasties at her home with her family.

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