via del Cavaliere, 59
When destiny meets talent and dedication, a star starts to shine. This is in short the biography of Tony Lo Coco, patron chef at restaurant I Pupi in Bagheria, Palermo: his passion for cooking urged him to work in the kitchen since he was a child, while destiny draws him to Laura Codogno, now his wife and business partner, the daughter of the owners of one of the most famous pastry shops in Sicily.
The opening of Cozzo dei Ciauli, a high profile catering location is the first step into the restaurant world; in 2009, the second and essential step: the Lo Cocos open I Pupi, which in November 2014 conquers its well deserved first Michelin star and is named after two grotesque and inspiring statues decorating the walls of the adjacent Villa Palagonia, a building from the 18th century which Goethe described in detail in his Italian Journey.
A typical example of self made chef, Lo Coco, born in 1974, is one of the most popular Italian chefs in Italy and abroad; born and raised in the enchanting sea villages east of Palermo, he favours seafood ingredients and his signature piece is stigghiola di tonno, a fish interpretation in which he uses tuna instead of lamb entrails for this typical street food from Palermo.
A brilliant and careful innovator, with a great talent for balancing a cuisine that looks into the future but has sound roots in traditional values, he shows a strong style, full of character, through elegant dishes, both in terms of appearance and taste, with a strong identity, the edible and craveable consequence of a deep passion he uses to celebrate territory and ingredients. Inspiration, creativity, dedication and Sicilian culinary liveliness at the service of the palates of the world.
Born in 1974 near Naples, now living further south, he’s a sommelier and coffee taster convinced that those born in Vico Equense like him have a gourmet imprinting by birth. He lives, writes and organises events in Palermo, but eats and drinks everywhere
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A closeup of Gioacchino Gaglio and, to the right, Franco Virga. They are the two minds behind Gagini and other restaurants making the gourmet scene in Palermo more contemporary
Tony Lo Coco’s Stigghiola. He’s the chef at restaurant I Pupi in Bagheria (Palermo), one Michelin star. His Stigghiola is not made with lamb entrails, as imposed by Sicilian tradition, but with those of red tuna. A surprise among many surprises in the kitchen of this young man moved by a creative fire