Biscuit Boy keeps Montreal rap audiences fed

Meet the guy who sells snacks at Hip Hop Karaoke and other shows and events.

Enzo “Biscuit Boy” Catania. Photo by Nirva Gariche

Some people brown-bag it to the day job. Enzo Catania, increasingly better known as Biscuit Boy on the local live rap-show circuit, takes it a step further, holdin’ it down with “a pretty good” day job in a paper bag printing factory.

With a wife and two young kids at home, the 36-year-old hip hop aficionado “doesn’t get out much.” But when he does, he’s got his mind on your tummy and your tummy on his mind. Yes, Catania serves food at Montreal rap events. Everybody’s eating.

Since November of last year, the Biscuit Boy has picked up a monthly residency at Hip Hop Karaoke and becoming a mainstay at the ever-roaming Hiram Key Project events.

But why stack snacks over tracks?

“It’s pretty simple: It’s food, right? It makes people happy,” says Catania. “There are definitely two things in my life that are super important, and that’s food and music. I wanted to put those two things together.”

As for hip hop, the Roxboro-raised chef reckons that discovering Nas, Xzibit and the Wu-Tang canon during mid-’90s lunch hours at the Future Shop listening bar, where he worked in the music department, spurred his love affair with the genre.

Catania’s inspiration to refine his kitchen stylings, however, comes from his wife. Suspecting his job was maybe not as fulfilling as he might like, she encouraged him to choose what he would really love to do without thinking about money or payoff.

He chose culinary school and all that entailed: eight-hour work days followed by five-hour night classes, five days a week. Apprenticing at Chuck Hughes’ Garde Manger and cutting his teeth around local kitchens, Catania found himself drawn in by the nascent street food movement. The idea to bring something relatively simple, delicious and affordable to hungry crowds followed easily.

“Biscuits and barbecue — you throw whatever you can between two biscuits and it’s something easy to hold in your hand,” says Catania, jokingly dismissive of his well-loved staple offering.

And he keeps the menu fresh.

“So far I’ve done the sandwich of course; I did a poutine during Poutine Week; [I’ve done] samosas; I’m going to do a nacho with cheese and salsa for sure — that’s comin’ up real soon.”

Artists and fans are always talking about ways to “give it back,” but the Biscuit Boy is really in it for the love, committed to his customers in a convenient marriage of novelty and necessity.

“I didn’t really have any friends that listened to hip hop,” says Catania. “It’s just always been me. So I kinda always wanted to go to those events, but I didn’t have a buddy to go with, and I’m not the type of person to go by myself.

“Now, it’s like I’ve got an excuse to go. ‘I’m going to work!’

“It’s work,” he says. “But I’m going to the hip hop show at the same time. It’s just a dope-ass party.

“When people come back for seconds, it’s definitely a good feeling. And I don’t think anybody ever leaves unhappy or unsatisfied.” ■

Hip Hop Karaoke, with beats by DJ Midas and host DShade, happens at le Belmont (4483 St-Laurent) this Thursday, April 18, 10 p.m., $5 before 11 p.m./$10

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