22 December 2022

Five minutes with Caterina Agnello, Papa Joe's Catering

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Man and woman outside food truck

Caterina Agnello and Papa Joe have joined Canberra’s street food revolution. Photo: Papa Joe’s.

Who is Caterina Agnello? I am a co-owner of Papa Joe’s Catering, based at the Southside Farmers Market.

Best recent dining experience: I’d probably say The Meat Wine and Co. They have really great steaks.

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Favourite cuisine: I love anything Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, especially Greek, Spanish, Italian, Turkish and Lebanese food.

Most embarrassing pantry or fridge item: I’d probably say the 600 bottles and jars of half-empty sauces and marinades.

Wagyu rib-eye steak

The Wagyu Rib-Eye steak at Meat Wine and Co is a must-try for steak lovers. Photo: Meat Wine and Co.

What ingredient can I not live without and why: Definitely homemade passata – there’s just nothing that beats it.

Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: I think food vans and trucks are the next big thing in the Canberra food scene. It’s really great seeing a variety of cultures popping up in vans and being mobile.

Kickstart Expresso

You can get your drive-through coffee from Kickstart Expresso in the Good Guys carpark in Fyshwick. Photo: Kickstart Expresso.

Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: I love Urban Pantry in Manuka.

My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: I’d probably say Kickstart Expresso, which is a drive-thru café in Fyshwick. They sell coffee and takeaway-style food.

Favourite coffee: La Casa Del Caffe – we use this coffee in our van, and we have a special blend made just for us!

Brekkie Roll

The signature Brekkie Roll at Papa Joe’s. Photo: Papa Joe’s Catering.

A must-try on our menu: The Papa Joe’s Brekkie Roll. It’s loaded with bacon, eggs, caramelised onions, provolone cheese and homemade Italian sausage.

Our most used ingredient at Papa Joe’s: Definitely arborio rice and cannoli shells. We make hundreds of both weekly.

food van

Caterina and her husband Joe run Papa Joe’s food van. Photo: Papa Joe’s Catering.

What makes us unique: We’re an authentic Italian street food van and there is no one like us. We cook like we are cooking for our family and friends every week!

Our top pick from our desserts: Definitely our cannoli. We have a range of 16 different flavours to try.

Biggest culinary influence: My mother-in-law, Vincenza.

Favourite cookbook: My favourite cookbook is Mangia Mangia by Teresa Oates and Angela Villella. It is a cookbook filled with simple and traditional recipes.

Locale Pizzaria

Caterina said she admires the owner of Locale Pizzeria, Double Shot in Deakin and the Sutton Bakery. Photo: Locale Pizzeria, Instagram.

Who I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: I’d probably say Omar Muscut, the owner of Locale Pizzeria, Double Shot and now Sutton Bakery.

What’s the special of the week at Papa Joe’s: At the moment, we’ve got plenty of our homemade panettones just in time for Christmas. We have a pistachio-flavoured one, a lemon crema and a choc chip one.

Papa Joe's panettone

You can purchase one of Papa Joe’s fluffy and delicious panettone via online order or at the Southside Farmers Market. Photo: Papa Joe’s.

My favourite vegetable: My favourite vegetable is definitely broccolini.

My least favourite food: I hate bananas.

bora bora

Bora Bora … yeah, ok, we can see the appeal. Photo: Visit Bora Bora.

Dream destination? I’d love to go to Bora Bora someday.

COVID-19 response: Always keep your hands clean.

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My top three recipe tips:

  1. Use a slow heat
  2. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavours
  3. Keep it simple.

Papa Joe’s Catering is based at the Southside Farmers Market (outside Canberra College) every Sunday from 7 am to 11:30 am. They are also available for corporate and private functions, and they take orders via their Facebook and Instagram pages, and over the phone. From 26 December to 13 January 2023, you can find them in Narooma at the Harrington Hotel.

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