Best recent dining experience: We have such an amazing food scene in Canberra that keeps on getting better, so it’s hard for us to pick just one. But we had a great dinner at Rubicon in Griffith when we celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. There was a couple on the table opposite celebrating their 50th. It was adorable.
Most embarrassing pantry item: Different types of instant noodles. We’ve bought a few throughout the pandemic in case we had to quarantine. Luckily, we’ve maintained our freedom, but the noodles have come in handy as a late-night snack.
Must-buy ingredient: We both come from a Mediterranean background. Our must-have ingredients – in case our parents come over – are olive oil, olives, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, flour and eggs. Without them, we are pretty sure they would disown us.
Next big thing: People are becoming more conscious about what they eat and where their food comes from, and restaurants and other businesses are collaborating to produce local products. We worked with local farmers Christian and Stacey Allen to launch a new paddock-to-plate butcher, Claystone Meats, located inside a fruit and veggie wholesaler in Beard. You can’t get more local than that. We think it’s a step in the right direction as we’ve been so disconnected from the whole food lifecycle. Going back to the roots is the way forward for consumers and the environment.
Favourite place for breakfast in the ACT: We’re not huge on breakfast, but when we do go out, we love ONA in Fyshwick. Sascha has known ONA’s Sasa Sestic for a long time now and he really respects what he does. Plus the food and the coffee are always great.
My Canberra food secret: Tutto Delicatessen in Mawson. Not that it’s a secret, but it’s an amazing, family-owned Italian deli. If you want to throw together a charcuterie board to impress your guests, you can definitely get everything you need from them.
Biggest culinary influence: That would definitely be our parents and grandparents. Sascha: My dad has been a chef for 47 years. When I was born, my parents owned a restaurant in Switzerland. I still remember eating smoked sausages with a jar full of mustard on the bench watching my father cook. The smells and sounds of being in a kitchen have always resonated with me, so I guess they gave me the passion for the industry.
Favourite cookbook: Sascha: I have never read a cookbook in my life; I just look at the pictures. I’m more of an audio-visual kind of person. I enjoy watching Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay (who looks a little like my dad minus the attitude). But our absolute favourite thing to do is watch any grandparent who has a passion for cooking do their thing. That reads better than any book.
Who I admire on the Canberra food and wine scene: Coming from the industry and starting at a young age, we both know how hard it is to start a business from scratch. The sacrifices you have to make, the time and effort you need to put in, it’s never-ending. We admire everyone who has embarked on this journey because although it is super satisfying, it is just as stressful and hard. We appreciate everyone contributing to the Canberra food scene through their passion because that’s the main ingredient.
What’s on the menu this week: Sascha and his father have been hard at work experimenting in a 2-degree cool room to make the ultimate all-beef sausage using meat supplied by our local farmers and business partners. Right now, it’s like Willy Wonka’s Sausage Factory.
Where I’m going next: We would absolutely love to go to Greece for some sun, cocktails and chargrilled octopus on the beach while watching the sunset. Obviously, we won’t be going there anytime soon. Locally, we have heard that Inka on Bunda Street is good. We’ve been a bit busy lately launching our new butchery, but we will definitely try it when we get a chance.
Death row meal: Sascha: Greek lamb on the spit with a few beers. Joelle: Homemade chips and fried whitebait with a couple of lemon wedges and tomato sauce (Heinz), with a bottle of Champagne.
My COVID19 response: When the restrictions were first announced, we quickly turned to takeaway and delivery. Datapos, who developed our online ordering system, spent a few late nights adding a delivery function to our ordering app. We were able to keep all our staff employed as we turned some of them into our own delivery drivers. Although it was very stressful, it gave us a sense of family and community while working together with different businesses to just make it happen. It was incredible to see locals coming out to support their favourite establishments, to consciously eat out and shop local to keep us all going. We will be forever grateful.
My really simple recipe tip: Pasta puttanesca. You can use any kind of pasta but spaghetti is preferable. The starting base is olive oil, onion, garlic sautéed with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, sardines (if you like them), salt and pepper, topped with Parmesan cheese. It’s simple but so tasty!
Brodburger has locations in Kingston, Fyshwick and Phillip. Claystone Meats, a partnership between Joelle and Sascha and Christian and Stacey Allen from Claystone Farm in Hoskinstown, NSW, sells its ethically and sustainably grown beef directly to consumers via its online store.