Gordonton’s newest cafe, Cornerstone Kitchen, is serving up authentic wood-fired pizzas and gourmet hamburgers at the alpaca stud. Manager Christo Snyman talks to Annette Taylor.
But first, none of his friends call him Christo.
“My nickname is Graspol which everybody knows and uses. But the G sound is too hard for Kiwis so I use my real name.
Cornerstone Kitchen opened on April 9 2021, an onsite cafe at Cornerstone Alpaca Stud on Peach Rd, set up by David and Sonja Blom in 2006.
Fabulous food + Adorable alpacas = winning combo!
Christo is from Capetown, South Africa and is an aeronautical engineer by trade.
“I used to work at Pacific Aerospace until it closed in March this year. I’ve always enjoyed entertaining, and have always wanted to run a cafe.”
He met Dave and Sonja at church, and played in the band with Sonja.
They’re all one big family at Cornerstone, he says. “We want to make the experience the best for our customers and friends. We want it to be one of the top destinations north of Hamilton for the whole family, as well as national and international tourists.”
Home is in Tauwhare, with wife Santie and son Christian. Both are at the cafe on Saturdays, doing barista work.
Christo is the pizza chef and makes sure everything runs smoothy, and he is training a cook.
The cafe is full of colour and character, and Sonja Blom is the inspiration behind this. “She has the ideas and I try to make them a reality. Most of our decor is recycled goods, even our plates and cutlery.”
The menu was created by Christo though. Specialty burgers, chips, alpaca-themed toasties, real fruit ice cream and waffles….
“I like to think there is something for everyone. We serve good quality, fresh food made with love so the overall experience of the farm visit is memorable. All our ingredients are from locally sourced companies. Coffee from Rocket, bread and buns from Volare, meat from The Lekker shop, tea from Zealong and bacon from Pokano Bacon. As they would say in my language ‘local is lekker.’”
Opening a cafe during the Covid19 pandemic was challenging.
“Well, we’d just got going and the bookings were filling up, then we were in lockdown and everything had to be cancelled or moved out. These are pretty tough times for the hospitality sector, but we were positive things would change. We started takeaway burgers and takeaway wood fired pizzas on the weekends to supplement our income.“It was great so many locals supported us during the slow season and these difficult times, now things are looking great for Summer.”
Right now, they are looking forward to a fantastic summer.
“We are waiting on our liquor licence. Come with friends, sit and chat and share good food. It is beautiful here, Gordonton is so nice and relaxed. A great area, with great people. I look forward to meeting more!”
- Cornerstone Kitchen is onsite at Cornerstone Alpaca Stud, Peach Rd. Call 021 277 0655 to make a booking. Opening hours 10am till 3 pm, closed Mondays and Wednesdays.