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She Got It From Her Nonna

Inspired by childhood memories of frequenting the markets for fresh produce, and delicatessens for cured meats and olive oil with her beloved nonna, Lina, setting up a food biz seemed to be written in the stars for Mamma’s Kitchen NT owner Bree O’Kane.

“Five years ago, we were on our way to Batchelor for a family holiday, and I saw that [the food truck] was for sale and sent the owners an offer. I had to drive in and out of reception to see if they’d responded! I went to see them on the Sunday night, and a week later we were Mamma’s Kitchen.”

Bree O'Kane

Ever since, Mamma’s Kitchen at Mindil has dished out Italian fare such as hot pizza and fresh pasta from their food truck at the popular seaside Mindil Beach Markets. Their take-home meals consistently fly off the shelf, and they also offer – much to the delight of a certain magazine editor – take-home picnic boxes packed with house made dips, chargrilled vegetables, deli meats, cheese, fruit and crackers. (Just BYO bubbles!)

Despite the setbacks of the last year, with significant impacts on the hospitality industry, 2020 turned out pretty well for Mamma’s Kitchen.

“When COVID hit, and the markets were closed, we decided to do something different with our homemade takeaway meals. We started off delivering them but that got too much, so we had a little temporary set-up out the front of Coles,” she says.

“But that also snowballed and we couldn’t keep up with demand, so we set up a proper shopfront with a big kitchen.”

Now, just months later, her bricks and mortar shop at Coolalinga Central has literally doubled in size.

“The shop is really busy and taking up all of our time. We’ve actually decided to sell our food truck, and give our shop and catering business all of our energy.”

Bree’s been motivated by her own young family, her dear nonna, Lina, who passed a couple of months ago, and her beloved brother Daniel who also passed in 2019.

“We grew up with lovely, amazing produce. Her [Nonna’s] cooking – home cooking – and growing your own fresh veg and everything – I’ve always done it. I love all of the fresh produce, and we make everything that we can in house, from scratch. What we can’t make, we try to source locally. Our pesto is a hit, and we use locally grown basil to make it.”

It’s clear to see Bree’s desire to care for and nurture others is the driving force behind the early starts and long hours, and the response of the community has made it all worthwhile.

“It’s amazing. People really love it. And our meals are big, because I am Italian – and I like big meals!”

So if you’re feeling hungry and up for a meal most definitely made with love, head to Coolalinga and let Mamma take care of you.

Mamma's Kitchen NT

Want your own good truck? Pizza & Pasta @ Mindil is for sale!

Top: Bree O'Kane with photos of her nonna, Lina, and brother, Daniel

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