The Food Network visits Kekuli Cafe

You Gotta Eat Here!, a show which travels coast-to-coast searching for great eateries, recently stopped in West Kelowna's Kekuli Cafe.

Dewayne Robinson (left) gets interviewed by John Catucci of You Gotta Eat Here! (middle). The Food Network television show recently filmed an episode at Kekuli Cafe in West Kelowna.

Dewayne Robinson (left) gets interviewed by John Catucci of You Gotta Eat Here! (middle). The Food Network television show recently filmed an episode at Kekuli Cafe in West Kelowna.

Dewayne Robinson has been a loyal customer of Kekuli Cafe for the past year-and-a-half.

Servers at the restaurant are quick to recognize him and usually know what he wants to eat—fried bannock—before he places an order.

Robinson was going through his typical dining routine last Friday, but he wasn’t alone. A film crew documented his every bite.

The Food Network set up shop in Kekuli Cafe last week to film an episode of You Gotta Eat Here!, a show that visits eateries from coast-to-coast on a quest to find great food.

Host John Catucci interviewed Robinson, other regular patrons and staff members of Kekuli Cafe, attempting to find out what they love about the restaurant.

Melissa Hicks, front of house supervisor of Kekuli Cafe, said You Gotta Eat Here! is one of her favourite shows, so naturally she was excited they wanted to film at the restaurant she works at.

Several other fans of the show stopped by Friday to check out what was going on as well, said Hicks.

“We had a little boy in, it’s his favourite show. His mom let him skip school…so he got to meet John, which was awesome for him,” said Hicks.

Kekuli Cafe specializes in aboriginal food. The restaurant’s tagline—don’t panic, we have bannock—sums up its most popular item.

“Everything is made fresh; everything is made in house.”

The eatery has won several awards, including top business (10 or more employees) at the 2010 BC Aboriginal Business Awards.

Hicks said the restaurant was nominated for the show by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC.

Kekuli Cafe came from humble beginnings. According to the restaurant’s website, the business got its start as a small stand at the Vista Ridge Carwash in 2005.

Back then it was tough for the eatery to turn a profit. This year, the restaurant opened up another seasonal location in Osoyoos, said Hicks.

The momentum has built thanks to loyal customers such as Robinson.

“Ever since I moved to Kelowna, I’ve come to Kekuli Cafe,” said Robinson.

“It’s like having a home-cooked meal here.”

Tracey Bussanich is another patron who was interviewed by Catucci.

Although Bussanich had never been on television before, she said the process of being filmed was “very natural.”

The episode of You Gotta Eat Here! featuring Kekuli Cafe is likely to air at some point in 2013, according to one of the television crew members.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna Capital News