Hey there! Did you miss the first part of this interview with Sergio Sigala, the executive chef at Cecconi's? If so, take a look here before you read on.
New Times: I hear you're an athlete. What's your exercise regimen?
Sergio Sigala: I am running in marathons and triathlons, biking a lot. In November I'm doing 116 miles on a bike. I do the Miami Marathon every year. I did six marathons this year. When I opened the restaurant I had a baby and I was running a marathon.
I guess carb-loading is natural for an Italian chef.
I eat a lot of pasta. Since I was 3 years old I've had it at least two or three times each week.
And if you could junk out, what would be your food of choice?
I haven't been to McDonald's in such a long time. A Big Mac?
Any types of cuisine you haven't attempted?
I never really tried molecular. I still like traditional food.
What's your least favorite food?
And the one that appears on too many menus?
Scallops. But it's on my menu, too, because it's selling.
What was the first dish you made that led you to realize you knew what the heck you were doing?
Veal scallopini for my family that I learned [how to make] in school. I was 15.
And who was the most famous person you've ever cooked for?
I did a party for Prince Charles one time with the Sultan of Bahrain. But I didn't know who the celebrity [who I'd be cooking for] was. I cooked Middle Eastern and Italian. Six, seven courses. And we cooked for Nelson Mandela. Alain Ducasse came into this restaurant a few months ago. I was really nervous!
I doubt you see much royalty here, but Cecconi's is part of a private club, so how does that factor into your restaurant?
I don't really consider Cecconi's private. It is open to the public.
Is your menu the same as the other locations?
The DNA of our menu is like London's. But here in Miami it's lighter with a South American influence.
What are your responsibilities here besides Cecconi's?
I also have to think about the second floor club. It's a totally different menu, more South American, Spanish food, tapas.
We do weekly specials: Monday night is meatball night, Tuesday is paella, Wednesday we have moules frites, Thursdays roasted chicken, Friday is parrilla, fish Saturday, and Sunday is a big day -- we roast a pig.vAnd brunch Saturdays and Sundays.
And once a month we do a member's only cooking class. Nobu taught sushi, Hedy [Goldsmith] made dessert -- a birthday cake! Michelle [Bernstein] made her fried chicken. Once a month we have a guest chef. Always movement.
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Now that you've made this location a hit, is there any chance you'll be running from Miami anytime soon?
The company is growing a lot. I don't think so. I like to be based here.
Check back for his ricotta cavatelli recipe.