By Nicole Cordier
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, if you’re Kyra Bussanich, make cupcakes. Bussanich, founder of Kyra's Bake Shop, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder at the age of 20 that left her unable to eat gluten. Disappointed with her gluten-free pastry options, Bussanich took matters into her own hands: she attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu patisserie program and opened her own gluten-free bakery.
Now, Kyra's Bake Shop is a three-time winner of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,”and the Portland favorite was the only gluten-free bakery in each competition. The cupcakes Bussanich created for the show include Spicy Peach Bellini and Key Lime Pie flavors. Many of the unique creations debuted on “Cupcake Wars” have now become customer favorites.
We sat down with Bussanich to find out what she's currently crushing on.
PBG: Favorite wedding blog?
KK: I adore the blog Style Me Pretty. It has all sorts of mood boards for inspiration, as well as a whole section on DIY wedding projects. I got a lot of ideas from SMP when I was planning my own wedding back in 2008.
PBG: What item of clothing or accessory has been in heavy rotation this month?
KK: I recently splurged on an off-white lace fit ’n flare Ivoire dress from Anthropologie that I adore! I wear it with cowboy boots and a denim jacket when I want to be a little more casual, wedge sandals when it’s extra hot or I need to be a little dressier, and a black leather jacket and heels when I want to be edgy.
PBG: Favorite local coffee shop or cafe?
KK: Well, soon it will be MY coffee shop (in the expanded version of Kyra’s Bake Shop, which we are working on now!) I also love Pied Cow Coffeeshop for its great food and drinks and cool atmosphere. Where else can you go to lounge on cushions and touch velvet wallpaper?
PBG: Best restaurant for getting dressed up and wearing a great outfit?
KK: My two current favorites are Andina and Departure. I’m a little biased, as I’m gluten-intolerant, and both restaurants can safely make DELICIOUS gluten-free meals. But the people-watching and vibe is also great at both places.
PBG: What's your favorite little known Portland spot?
KK: I’m not sure how little known it is (evidenced by the line out the door), but I love Jade Teahouse for quick, fresh Vietnamese fusion food.
PBG: Who does your hair and/or makeup?
KK: Da’Lynne McIntyre at Bombshells Salon has been doing my hair for 10 years. I love the styles she gives me. I do my own makeup, and tend to wear MAC cosmetics. Every so often, I go to the makeup counter and see what the new trends are, and what will work with my face and coloring.
PBG: Portlander you’d most like to meet?
KK :James Beard, of course. Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity there. I really admire the work Carrie Welch and Mike Thelin are doing with Share our Strength/No Kid Hungry and their giant Feast festival and would love to have dinner with them (I’ll bring dessert!)