10 minutes with Joe Wagland

Did you grow up in Canberra?

My father was in the Army so we moved around a bit when I was young. We settled in Canberra when I was 12 after he took a position at Russell Offices to roll out a major computer network.

How long have you worked in hospitality?

I’ve worked in restaurants since I was 16, starting out at KFC while I was in school.

Tell us about your career in the industry:

When I finished college I worked as a manager at KFC for a few years, learning a lot about procedure and process and the basics of customer service and food handling. In 1995 I moved to the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, which was my first real restaurant experience. After a year or so I moved on to Ottoman Cuisine in Manuka (where Public bar is now located). At the time, Ottoman was the best restaurant in Canberra and was awarded one of the best in Australia. I met my wife there who was a chef at the time. After Ottoman, I worked at Chairman & Yip in the city, which was my first stint in management roles and where I really caught the food/wine/service bug.

After Chairman I managed a brand new restaurant called Anise for five years, which quickly gained the reputation as one of the best in Canberra. We won multiple wine list awards, a Chef’s Hat and I really enjoyed my time there. After Anise I moved to Poachers Pantry. The restaurant had been open for only a year and my wife was the head chef there. I transformed the quiet restaurant to a busy weekend destination, was lucky enough to be highly involved in their wine production and wine label “Wily Trout” and introduced weddings and large scale functions to their repertoire.

Looking for the next challenge, I moved to Rydges Lakeside Canberra in 2012 in the Food & Beverage Manager role, which was during the time the brand was transitioning to QT Canberra. My last role before joining Abode Hotels was with Avenue Hotel Canberra as F&B Manager.

Was hospitality always what you wanted to do?

Like many young people, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I always enjoyed customer service and loved working in a structured environment, so I didn’t really have another plan, I just worked hard at what I did.

What are your career highlights/achievements?

Chef’s hat Ottoman, Chairman & Yip and Anise

Outside of work what do you like to do?

I have two young sons (three and six years) who keep me busy. I love spending time with them and my wife. Otherwise snowboarding and surfing are it.

Do you consider yourself a bit of a chef?

(laughs) No. I know a lot about food and about cooking food, but I’m not great. I follow a recipe well and do often cook for friends. My signature dishes would be my pizzas (make the dough from scratch) and I do an amazing Thai style salmon salad with caramelised onion and chilli dressing.

Where to now for No. 10?

We just launched a new menu and recently appointed a new restaurant manager, Ashleigh Wood. Our focus will be continuing to produce fresh, tasty and casual food, while filling in some of the gaps, such as bar snacks, more entrees and new desserts.

What’s your next big challenge?

Converting the space in Abode Tuggeranong. Plans are still conceptual, but an early idea is a coffee outlet that could transform into a restaurant. Watch this space.

Try No. 10 Restaurant + Bar’s new menu for yourself today. Call (02) 6108 4958 or visit the contact us page here to book your table.