Thunder Bay·Northern Nosh

Meet the Thunder Bay woman behind a growing fermentation empire

Nadia Kukkee, founder of Narrow Gate Foods, recently purchased Kumbaya Kombucha.

Narrow Gate Foods recently purchased Kumbaya Kombucha

Kimchi is one of Narrow Gate's most popular items. (Supplied by Lorena Laurencelle)

Roughly three years ago, self-described serial entrepreneur Nadia Kukkee turned an interest and passion for wild fermented foods into a business she calls a passion project.

"Fermented foods is a way of storing foods," she explained. "If you think back to when we never had a refrigerator, this is how food was stored."

Kukkee also owns other businesses in the region including Signature Financial Services and Granite Town Cars. (Supplied by Lorena Laurencelle)

"Technological advances have caused us to sort of lose the probiotics, the good bacteria in our food supply. So fermenting is a way to sort of bring those back into our gut flora."

Narrow Gate Foods is Kukkee's small-batch fermentery in Thunder Bay Ont., that produces products such as kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut. She also recently purchased another fermented food business, Kumbaya Kombucha — now known as a Kumbaya Foods — that produces kombucha, fruit leather and candies.

Tap to hear more about Kukkee's burgeoning fermentation empire.

Jonathan spoke with Nadia Kukkee, the owner of a burgeoning fermented food empire in Thunder Bay.
A bottle of Narrow Gate's strawberry basil water kefir. (Supplied by Lorena Laurencelle)
Kukkee describes Kumbaya's products as completely different from her own, with different teas and processes. (Supplied by Lorena Laurencelle)

"Northern Nosh" is a new weekly feature on Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for northern Ontario. If you know of a restaurant, bakery or farm you think would make a great story, get in touch! 

Send an email to, message us on Facebook or Twitter — or call 1-844-85NORTH.


Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?