Magic happened when Nicola & Alexandra Coccia, a talented Chef & Sommelier respectively walked away from fine dining to return to their Italian & French roots. In their restaurant Osteria Il Coccia they embrace quality produce cooked over wood in a charcoal oven and match it with wine sourced from winemakers, focused on a smaller production, organic, biodynamic & respecting the earth. The result is simple, high-quality, delicious food. But getting here was not easy. Discover how Nicola & Alexandra overcame some pretty big business and relationship hurdles to create a successful restaurant that’s in sync with who they are. There’s lots of wisdom here so pour a glass of wine and settle in for a great listen.
Some Secret Sauce highlights from this episode:
#1 - Everyone can fall down but not everyone are good to stand back up.
#2 - Everything that we do in life has happened in one month. Every decision is always very fast. We don't think too much. We just decide and go flat out. We like the challenge. We both like that. Like the constant change.
#3 - Our staff is our family.
#4 - As a business couple, you are always together. Not like enjoying your time off together relaxing but at least you are together.
Nicola’s passion for cooking stems from his fond memories of his grandmother rolling fresh sheets of pasta in her kitchen. This is where he learnt to handle every ingredient with passion, respect and love.
Alexandra pays homage to her two favourite regions, Beaujolais in The Rhone Valley where she grew up and the South West of France where her mother lives. She invests her time looking at new generation winemakers, focusing on smaller production, organic, biodynamic & respecting the earth. Chef Nico grew up in Naples and found a love for cooking with his hands as he watched his grandmother roll sheets of pasta in her kitchen.
Nico’s respect for each ingredient and the way it’s prepared shines at Osteria il Coccia where every ingredient is fresh, sustainable and organic (where possible). Nico’s philosophy is that food needs little intervention, just a little love and a little heat (fire). Nico is one of the only chefs in Australia to have a kitchen built around fire.
Nico trained in Italy before working in El Bulli, New Zealand and Sydney – and now luckily for the central coast –resided on Ettalong Beach. He has previously worked at Otto, Quay, Fratelli & Ormeggio before moving to Bowral where he worked at Biota. Nico and his wife Alexandra received 1 hat at their previous restaurant Bistro Officina in Bowral.
Alexandra is French Italian and is responsible for the eclectic wine list at Osteria il Coccia. Alexandra is strict when selecting the wines available at the restaurant and her ethos is to showcase regions she loves, share her knowledge and encourage guests to drink something totally different. The wine list boasts drops from Nico’s home of Naples & Puglia, wines from her parents region where she grew up & Beaujolais where she spent many years harvesting with friends.