18 August 2023

Five minutes with Scott Thompson, Piccolo Market Coffee

| Claire Sams
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Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson took over as owner of Piccolo Market Coffee after starting out as a member of staff when the business first opened in 2018. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Who are you?

I’m Scott Thompson and I’m the owner of Piccolo Market Coffee in Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets.

What are the key things someone should know about you?

I might be tall, but I’m fairly approachable and friendly, I like to think. I’m generally going to smell like coffee, and I’m a bit sarcastic. If you’re talking to me, you probably can’t take anything that I’ve said too seriously.

What does your typical day look like?

I’m here from 6:30 am to get ready to open from 7 am, and we’re here until about 4 pm. They’re long-ish days, but we’re only open Thursday to Sunday, and there’s a good sense of community on all days.

Our Thursdays and Fridays have a nice pace, you can have a chat with everyone. A lot of families come through. But then on the weekend, it’s pretty hell for leather. We’ve got a great atmosphere on the weekends.

I’ve owned and worked in the shop for three or four years now, so you get to know these people pretty darn well – and you also know their coffee orders.

How did you get your current job?

I began as a dish pig back home on the South Coast and have worked in hospo ever since. It got me through high school, and then it got me through uni. I then worked at an awesome coffee shop at the University of Canberra, and fell in love with the idea of one day owning a shop and having something to call mine.

I was working here and kind of jokingly offered to buy the shop from the owners in 2021, and they said ‘All right, let’s do it’.

What are the top three items that really show what your venue can do?

Our coffee is from Parallel Roasters, and it’s all-round sweet but has a fruity note to it that I really love. We also have some absolutely kick-ass doughnuts and caster cannolis, and they go like hotcakes.

Also, I try to convert as many people as I can to batch-brew coffees. They bring out the true potential of a coffee.

coffee beans

Scott says Piccolo Market Coffee is a must-try. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

What is Canberra’s best-kept food secret?

I’m probably biased here, but the banh mi from a nearby Vietnamese bakery. I don’t even have to say anything when I walk in, they just get my order when they see me come in since I’m there that often.

What is your favourite or must-use ingredient when cooking?

I use an unholy amount of olive oil, so good quality olive oil! I lived in Italy for a bit, so it’s kind of what got me drenching everything in olive oil. I was living in Umbria, in the region just south of Tuscany. I used to be a cyclist, so I lived there racing for a little bit.

What is your favourite food?

Italian is a pretty large staple. Living in Umbria, that was where I got a true sense of what authentic Italian food is. It’s cooking locally, it’s cooking seasonally – and they live by that.

I do love cacio e pepe. And there’s this Italian flatbread called piadina, it’s local to Umbria and it’s so good.

What tv show or movie are you watching right now?

The Office is always on rotation, and my secret guilty pleasure is actually watching the Kardashians. I get judged all the time for it, but I’m not a fan of reality TV. This is the just exception.

What is your comfort food?

It’s actually a tube of Pringles, in the original sea salt flavour. So boring but so good.

Get your coffee and a treat at Piccolo. Photo: Michelle Taylor.

Where do you dine out for special occasions?

I’m a bit late to the party, but XO has been incredible. Sadly they’re closing. I just went to Onzieme for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I already want to go back.

Who do you admire in the Canberra food scene?

My old bosses at Piccolo, Marco and Rachel Caputo. I learnt basically everything I know from them. They’re incredible examples of what creating a friendly environment in hospitality can do for businesses.

An easy one to finish – what’s your go-to coffee order?

It’s got to be a black coffee, and it’s either a long black or a batch brew, with no milk or sugar.

Piccolo Market Coffee is located at 36 Mildura Street, Fyshwick, in the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets.

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