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Continents Apart, A Kansas City Pizza Chef And A Turkish Restaurateur Help Each Other’s Dreams Come True

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Continents Apart, A Kansas City Pizza Chef And A Turkish Restaurateur Help Each Other's Dreams Come True

Photo: Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3 A transcontinental experiment in Turkish pizza recently took place in the custom-made brick oven at Clay and Fire on 17th Street, representing the best of two culinary worlds. Article by Gina Kaufmann. KCUR 89.3 – February 28, 2021.

Two men living on two separate continents went into the pandemic with plans to open two very different restaurants. When COVID upended those plans, fate — and technology — threw them together.

In a restaurant in an old house on Kansas City’s Westside, chef Brent Gunnels has been tending a clay oven, making a style of cuisine almost as new to him as it is to his customers.

Poached eggs in simmering stews of warmly seasoned tomatoes; savory lamb balls wrapped in freshly baked flatbread; yogurt topped with shaved carrots, pistachios and pickled beets.

He’s carrying out the culinary vision of a Turkish pub owner named Orcan Yigit, who’d planned to move to Kansas City to open a Near Eastern restaurant called Clay and Fire with a friend here. The restaurant, Clay and Fire, is now open. But pandemic and visa issues have kept Orcan in Ankara. That’s why Brent Gunnels — known around town for his pizza — is running the kitchen in Orcan’s place. […]

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