The story in this blog is told from these steps.
The story also started from these steps.
But in no way does the story end here.
John Baker grew up living in the Old Courthouse at Minmi. The Courthouse, which was converted into a fine dining restaurant, was always a bustle of wedding receptions, wait staff and a busy chef.
John would sit on these steps as a child, watching his family, the staff and the chef create dishes and memories for their guests.
“I was a schnitzel and chips kid,” John admits.
“But the chef would sneak me bits of fancy dishes, a bit of chocolate desert here and there.”
Unbeknownst to John, the lessons learned from watching the kitchen run like clockwork for all those years would be invaluable to his future own establishment.
“I love lasagne, burgers – all that naughty food.”
But 5 years ago, after watching the documentary Earthlings, John made the decision to begin a vegan lifestyle. The transition from burgers to veganism was difficult, because there were just no commercial alternatives available.
But then, John started experimenting. And just like second nature he began creating some of the most incredible meals and deserts available in Newcastle for plant based diets.
Not only did his pallet expand but so did his repertoire. There isn’t much he can’t make taste amazing.
Soon, after success with his dishes in local cafes and catering events, John made the decision to open his own cafe.
Enter, Bonta Vera.
Newcastle’s first Vegan Cafe.
Located in John’s childhood home – The Old Courthouse.
40 Church Street, Minmi.
John now runs his own kitchen – the very one he used to sit in as a child. But now he is the one creating the magic in the kitchen and serving clients a special meal that makes a difference.
The signature dish at Bonta Vera, apart from the incredible cakes, is the triple cheeseburger.
Watching John create the cheeseburger with the detail of an artist is something to behold.
And the taste?
The success has been phenomenal and the cafe wonderfully received.
“The community, our clients: everyone really, it has been amazing,” John tells us, “I just want people to know that you can go from eating beef lasagne to vegan lasagne and there really IS no transition period to worry about.”
With 4 staff and plans to expand with more cafes in the Newcastle CBD and retail products, John is one busy guy.
“I love to cook and I love the food I cook. Simple as that.”
Passion has certainly been a recipe for success at Bonta Vera.
The future is very exciting for John, Bonta Vera and Newcastle’s food loving community.
To talk more about the Newcastle Community, get in touch with one of our Villagers at Villager Property.