Fri, December 13, 2013

Joseph Caputo ’77

Joseph Caputo’s ’77 passion for food, theater, and education has afforded him the opportunity to do what he loves nearly every day. As owner of Zuppa del Giorno, a restaurant in Scranton, and a private caterer, Joe channels his talents in unique and exciting ways.

Joseph Caputo’s ’77 passion for food, theater, and education has afforded him the opportunity to do what he loves nearly every day. As owner of Zuppa del Giorno, a restaurant in Scranton, and a private caterer, Joe channels his talents in unique and exciting ways.

Joe was able to combine his hobby of cooking with his background in theater and education to create his own special kind of instruction, which he calls, “edutainment.”

“There’s discipline there, but it’s tied to a knowledge base. Learning has to be fun too!” he said. 

Joe’s edutainment has included teaching cooking courses through Marywood’s Lifelong Learning Program, holding classes twice a month at Zuppa del Giorno, as well as performing cooking demonstrations as guest chef on board Holland America Lines, the most recent of which was during a trip to Hawaii.

“I cannot help but be an educator. It comes with an impulse, like a twitch that needs to be released,” Joe said.

While Joe was at Marywood studying in the theater department, he said he was able to form a diverse perspective thanks to his fellow classmates and professors like Sister Dorothy Haney, Sister Margaret Gannon, George Perry and Mary Kelly.

“It was really the school of life,” he said.

It is no surprise that Joe’s passion grew from his experiences at Marywood. According to him, those four years were some of the best of his life due to the bonds he shared with his fellow classmates. He added that all of his professors always spurred them to be the best.

It was those bonds that Joe relied on when he moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. He tried his best to make it and had a few breaks here and there, but never the big one that actors dream about. Eventually, Joe moved back to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

A chance meeting with a friend led to a moment in front of a classroom of children eager to learn about theater. That experience inspired him so much that he went back to school, where he earned his degree in elementary education.  He taught at a few schools before becoming the principal at the former St. Patrick Elementary School in West Scranton, now known as All Saints Academy.

One thing Joe has learned is not to sweat the small stuff. He said that in his restaurant, mistakes happen – a dropped spoon, a wrong order taken to the table. But, mistakes are always fixable. He always tells his employees, “It’s only lunch!”

The spirit to succeed no matter the challenge is what drives Joe on a daily basis.  He’s able to continually reinvent himself while staying true to his roots.  His love for food, theater, and education has morphed in to a career that satisfies all three. 

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