Born in a small village in Northern Italy, Sergio Sigala began his culinary career at the young age of 13, initially driven by the desire to earn enough money to buy a Vespa scooter. Sergio opened Casa Tua in 2000 and then opened Cecconi's at Soho Beach House in 2010. Sigala lives in Miami and is married with three children. He balances his working life by competing in triathlons and marathons, playing golf and riding his Vespa, even after all these years.
How was your experience opening a restaurant in a members only club despite the fact that Cecconi's is open to the public?
It really never affected the restaurant since the members only club is located on the upper floors and Cecconi’s is on the ground floor just inside the hotel’s main entrance.
How was the opening?
The opening was very challenging. It is not easy to manage a new Italian restaurant, as well as a club with a South American influenced menu’, a hotel with 49 rooms, and a kitchen with about 40 cooks. All was planned in the month before the opening, but of course, everything changed during opening week, and it was good that all of us were able to be flexible and work together to see everything through. My third child was born the same day Cecconi’s opened, again, the need to be flexible.
A year into the restaurant's opening what, if anything, changed?
There are still a few things that need to be tuned but everything is now running much smoother. The menu has been tweaked and our staff better understand the Soho House concept and philosophy.
What are your priorities right now?
My priority right now is to bring Cecconi’s food to a higher level. We are an extremely busy restaurant and it can be challenging to maintain quality in a high volume atmosphere. My focus is to offer simple dishes made from the freshest, in season ingredients that can be prepared in a consistent manner over and over.
Would you ever open another restaurant in Miami and if so, what kind?
Not for the next few years for sure. I love working with Soho House and have learned so much in my short time here. It is a great company that is constantly expanding and evolving but yes, I have always thought that one day I would like to have just a small restaurant, a family place with no specific kind of food—that is, a small inspired menu that changes daily depending on my mood and what is available and in season.
Food truck or pop up, which will stick as a Miami trend?
I think food trucks right now are really hot and there are lots of them around, at least in the Miami down town area, but I don’t think Miami has quite jumped on this trend like for instance, LA or NY. I think that the pop up restaurant is an interesting concept. I think it could work here because in Miami we have lots of empty buildings. We just need entrepreneurs who would like to invest and create a commercial kitchen, like this, young chefs can show off their talent and find out if they're ready for their own place. We’ve seen good examples in the past few months.
What trend, if any, would you like to implement in your restaurant right now? Personally I’m not a big fan of all this trendy culinary experimentation. Trends come and go, I believe in the tried and true. You don’t need to complicate things, cooking should be pure and from the heart. With three ingredients you can make a dish. Cecconi’s is at heart a traditional Italian restaurant and I would like to continue serving simple dishes.