Sunny by name, sunny by nature. If there was ever a person destined to be in hospitality, it's Sunny Eum. She loves what she does with a passion, and it shows.
Sunny, what would we be surprised to know about you?
I was a trolley dolly! I flew long-haul for Air New Zealand for over 10 years.
How did you go from that, to owning a café?
I became a single parent, and I needed to support my kids. They both were at school in this area, so it made sense to work around here. And running my own business gave me the flexibility I needed.
Are you quite involved in the day-to-day operation of the café?
I am here all the time, it's my second home! I do the cooking. But it's not just me, it wouldn't be Cafe@VickyOne without my wonderful staff. They work as hard as I do.
Where did you learn to cook?
I'm self-taught. Being a mother of young children, I was cooking seven days a week. I used to watch my mother cooking too, so you could say it's in my blood.
Do you have a cooking style?
Fresh! Fresh produce, fresh and simple dishes. I think a menu should be plants, veges, salad, with meat in moderation.
You were born in South Korea. Have you been away from Asia for a long time?
I came to New Zealand 30 years ago, by myself. I had travelled the world, then I decided to settle here. I love it here, I live here, I will stay here - this country has so much potential and something for everyone, especially if they work hard.
What do you enjoy most about owning the café?
The cooking of course! My home is filled with cookbooks, but here, I get to fulfil my desire to share my style of food with others. And I have a lot of fun with my staff. We joke around, we're all happy. We all look after each other.
Some of your staff have worked for you for years, and are as familiar to the locals as you are.
Yes, Lini and Christina. They're sisters - they both came straight from school and I trained them, they soaked it all up. We multi-task as a team: Christina also cooks, she does the sweet stuff. Savoury is my forte.
Do your teenagers show interest in working in the café?
They're very independent and have their own goals and dreams. My daughter wants to be a marine biologist, my son a pilot. So only time will tell!
Tell me about your customers.
We do have quite a few regulars. They're more than customers though - we share the neighbourhood is a better way to put it. We do like to take care of everyone who visits.
Is that why people keep coming back?
Yes, that, fresh food daily, great customer service and everyone working together as a team!
1 Victoria Avenue
Phone: 09 520 3004
Photography by Vanita Andrews and words by Fiona Wilson