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Biscoff hot chocolate? Street food and drink to warm the soul

Sweet tooth: The Biscoff hot chocolate is the perfect winter warmer.
Sweet tooth: The Biscoff hot chocolate is the perfect winter warmer.

Filling the bellies of the local community with wholesome homecooked meals is a tasty tradition that runs in Gaynor Barrie’s family.

As a little girl, Gaynor’s gran was forever sending her round the neighbourhood armed with hearty soup for everyone.

Now Gaynor, a mum-of-three and gran of two who previously worked in Marks and Spencers in Westhill, has continued this legacy in the form of her quirky grey and pink food van, Café on the Kerb.

Alfresco dining: Gaynor Barrie brings her lifelong love of cooking the streets of Aberdeen.

From moreish macaroon and Biscoff hot chocolates to mouthwatering homemade burgers and fresh salad boxes,  Gaynor’s lifelong love of cooking is satisfying rumbling stomachs across the Granite City.

Society worked up an appetite by visiting Gaynor’s street van in Wellington Circle to find out the ingredients to her success and why her van is in-demand at local events too.

What inspired you to launch Café on the Kerb?

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and entertaining but I’ve never did it professionally. After bringing up my three children, I just wanted to do something for myself. I’ve always dreamed of having my own coffee shop but I didn’t want the overheads that go with it so I came up with the idea of Café on the Kerb.  It’s exactly what the title says as it’s a wee café on the kerb. I just thought it was a bit quirky and different.

Popular dish: Slow cooked pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce is one of Gaynor’s most popular dishes.

Has food always been a big part of your life?

I remember back in the days when my gran used to feed the whole street with soup. She used to say to me, take this to Mr and Mrs so and so. I’ve always been into homebaking and making toffee. I had a small business called Toffee Nose which I used to do more as a hobby so I used to make wee wedding favours for friends and family and little Christmas boxes. I’ve always cooked everything from scratch for my family and I’ve always overcooked so when my children grew up and moved out, my husband said to me ‘you do realise it’s just me and you now, who is going to eat all of this food’? So I just wanted to cook for a reason as I really enjoy it. I’m so happy to have my own van, I wish it was something I’d gone into earlier.

Satay sensation: Gaynor’s loaded satay fries have also proved popular.

Was it a leap of faith setting up your own business?

Yes it was, I knew of a friend who was selling a food van and I had set my heart on it. But during lockdown they quite rightly decided to hang onto it. Then my husband said to me one night ‘why don’t we just go and buy a wee trailer and we’ll just get it converted’ and that’s what we did. The van is not big, it’s small and quirky and that’s exactly the way I wanted it.  So my husband and a couple of friends did the interior and  the exterior was done by my son and his team at Global Corrosion Solutions Group in Dyce (GCSG). I was really delighted with the outcome of it as the van is grey with big pink flowers with my logo round it so it’s nice for doing events.

Fiery fries: With chorizo, crispy onions, fiery cheese and sriracha mayo, these loaded fries pack a punch.

What food offerings do you have in the trailer?

When I’m on site, I have a set menu which includes breakfast rolls, full breakfasts as well as fresh sandwiches, wraps and salad boxes. I also make my own soup so I’ll do lentil, tattie and leek but the really popular one is my sweet potato, chilli and coconut soup, it’s really to die for. It’s funny as someone actually asked for the recipe recently but I just made it up myself, it’s just sweet potatoes, coconut milk and some chopped up chillies. That’s how I approach cooking,  I never ever follow a recipe and everything is made from scratch. My children – Nicky, Sean and Lisa – are all the same, the three of them cook everything from scratch at home.

Health kick: Gaynor also offers freshly made salad boxes.

What food to you offer when you do events?

It’s more like a menu that would go with craft beers and stuff. I did a big event for Brewdog and that inspired me to change my menu for events. So I have things like the dirty Texan burgers and loaded fries. The satay fries are always really popular.  My most popular dish at events is my pulled pork dish that I do in a brioche roll. I slow cook the pulled pork and add a homemade barbecue sauce. My daughter came up with the name for that one, The Oink One. People also love the chorizo topped fries with a fiery cheese and diced chorizo.

Top dog: Lunch is sorted after a trip to Gaynor’s trailer.

Do you have any sweet treats?

I do a Biscoff hot chocolate with Biscoff sauce and Biscoff crumb as well as a marshmallow and macaroon hot chocolate. It’s something sweet and cosy for winter. We can make the hot chocolates with soy and oat milk too.

Sugar rush: Nothing warms the cockles more than an epic hot chocolate.

Do you enjoy meeting the customers?

Yes I only started in June so I’m building up a customer base. What I do is I take Monday’s off to re-stock and re-fuel and get paperwork done and then I’m open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 2pm. On a Friday I do delivery and pre-orders only because I’ve got a couple of local companies in Cove that like breakfast rolls delivered.

Warm welcome: Gaynor loves chatting to the customers.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

Working with Brewdog. When you’re getting recognised by a company like them then you must be doing something right. I’ve also done a lot of work for other companies.

Breakfast of champions: Start the day right at Cafe’ on the Kerb.

What’s your plans for the future?

I’ve been in talks with a personal trainer as I’m looking into having an online shop called ‘Prep on the Kerb’ so gym enthusiasts can order prep meals for the week. Next year I’m hoping to get into weddings. So we can turn up in the evening and serve the evening guests with some snacks or a buffet, just something a bit different.

Burger with bite: The sweet chilli chicken burger is one of Gaynor’s specialities.

To find out more about Café on the Kerb, go to their, Instagram or Facebook