Sergio SigalaCecconi's Miami Beach
Sergio Sigala was born in a small village called Boario Terme, nestled in the Italian Alps. Sergio arrived to the hospitality business at the young age of 13, not driven by a passion for culinary art like most chefs, but by the desire to buy a Vespa, a popular Italian scooter. His cousin, who was a chef, hired him to help out in the kitchen and after few months Sergio saved up enough money to buy his dream scooter. However, along the way he realized cooking came naturally to him and it was at this point he became interested in pursuing a career as a chef. He began to spend more time in his mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens observing the fundamentals of northern Italian cuisine.
He quickly learned the importance of fresh, quality ingredients such as hand-picked wild porcini mushrooms, freshly caught fish from local rivers and lakes, and home-made pastas.
These early lessons helped found Sergio’s firm belief that simple is best, a belief that has remained threaded throughout his culinary style. He later expressed to his family a desire to sign up at the local culinary school. Sergio completed the five year program, during which he spent his summer vacations working in local hotels and restaurants. He graduated in 1990 from Istituto Prof. Le Di Stato Per I Servizi Alberghieri E Della Ristorazione at the top of his class.
After graduation Sergio furthered his education by leaving his home town and going to work in various restaurants and hotels throughout Italy and Europe, He spent a number of years training at world renowned restaurants such as Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como, Hotel Steffany in St Moritz, Switzerland and Ristorante Villa Fiordaliso (Michelin starred) on Garda Lake. In 1996 he spent one year working at the Sheraton Bahrain as Chef of Italian Cuisine where he was in charge of catering private parties and royal weddings at 16 different palaces. He also prepared private dinner parties for various important dignitaries including the Sultan of Bahrain, Prince Charles and Nelson Mandela. He went on to work for one year as Executive Chef of Restaurant Bice in Montreal, Canada and later spent time training in a few more well known Michelin star restaurants in Italy and France. Among these was the restaurant IL Bersagliere, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Italy owned by the famous Italian chef Massimo Ferrari. Sergio went on to work as Executive Chef in few other Italian hotels in Italy. In 2000, Sergio was brought on board the Casa Tua project in Miami Beach, Florida, and became involved in all aspects of the development of Casa Tua, including designing the kitchen layout, creating the menu, selecting and training staff, researching and developing business a plan, and creating and managing the budget.
Sergio completed over 10 years with Casa Tua, now an internationally recognized restaurant. As a result, Sergio has been featured in various magazines and newspapers such as Food & Wine, A Taste of Chic, Firenze Magazine, Ocean Drive, Architectural Digest, Miami Business, Town & Country, The Miami Herald, and The New Times. Sergio and Casa Tua were also featured on the Food Network’s Giada’s Weekend Getaways with Giada De Laurentis. In 2003 he was awarded Rising Star Chef by Star Chefs of New York City. He has had original recipes published in culinary books such as South Beach Diet, Sandwiches of the World and Summer in New York. He was also featured as a top chef at the 2003 Miami Beach Food and Wine festival, where he hosted a private dinner with celebrity chef Rocco Di Spirito.
After his time in Casa Tua, Sergio moved on to be the Executive Chef at Cecconi’s Miami Beach, inside Soho Beach House. He has played an integral role in the development and growth of the highly regarded establishment from prior to its opening.
Sergio is married and the father of 3. He balances his working life by competing in triathlon and marathons but also enjoys a relaxing game of golf.
PS: Sergio, after all these years, is still happily driving a Vespa!