Bacon Buttie Station opens

Tia Winikerei and her stepfather Mike Cornelissen enjoy bacon butties outside the Bacon Buttie Station in Ward St. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Tia Winikerei and her stepfather Mike Cornelissen enjoy bacon butties outside the Bacon Buttie Station in Ward St. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Mike Cornelissen not only brings home the bacon, he makes the tasty smoked pork in the traditional dry-cured way, then sells it in buttered sandwiches.

Mr Cornelissen, a butcher, and his stepdaughter, Tia Winikerei, recently opened the Bacon Buttie Station in Ward St, behind the Dunedin Railway Station.

Their business premises are a far cry from their first foray into selling butties and other smallgoods from two trestle tables at the Otago Farmers Market about 10 years ago.

Mr Cornelissen has been in the butchery trade for more than 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father.

It was Ms Winikerei who first suggested that he try his luck selling at the farmers market - ''she just hounded me'' he joked - and he thought that he would just have to do it for a couple of weeks to keep her happy.

But one thing led to another and he has become a regular fixture at the market. The trestle tables were replaced with a truck, which meant he could roll up at the market, or at sporting or racing fixtures, and be cooking within 20 minutes.

It was Mr Cornelissen who came up with the idea for the Bacon Buttie Station. It had always been his dream to have a breakfast place, providing the sort of food that satisfied him and that he enjoyed eating.

Ms Winikerei had returned from three years overseas and it was either ''do it now''' or she would have headed back offshore, she said.

The business opened last month and there had already been suggestions from people that they should franchise it.

He had calls from as far afield as Wellington and Invercargill from people asking how they could become involved.

While it was a possibility in the future, in the meantime Mr Cornelissen was happy to concentrate on one site and make sure that it was running well.

The secret to producing a good bacon buttie was simple: good quality bacon.

''It's just done the way it should be done; smoked in a traditional smoke house, all dry-cured,'' he said.

These days there were so many things that he called processed meat and he was trying to do the opposite - take the water out of the meat - ''so what you're eating is the real McCoy''.

He took pride in what he did and still got job satisfaction from being a butcher.

''I look at a piece of meat and think: `How can I do a cleaner job than last time?' I turn it into a challenge,'' he said.

Mr Cornelissen never wanted to be a ''counter butcher'' and he was happy working on his own.

''I just supply the meat. This is Tia's,'' he said, gesturing to the interior of the shop premises.

For Ms Winikerei, it was a good change, although she had worked in the hospitality industry since leaving school, and something different from managing a beauty salon, which she had done overseas.

''It's really exciting now we're here. Feedback has been really positive, too,'' she said.

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