Casa Mia is an authentic trattoria in Jupiter specializing in rustic Italian cuisine served with flair. Chef Geremia Coppola has been with Casa Mia since its beginning but has recently been promoted to executive chef. We spent some time talking about how to make authentic food, served with love.
Clean Plate Charlie: What is your background?
Chef Geremia Coppola: I'm Italian. I went to culinary arts school in Italy, worked in Italy as a chef for six, seven years, and then came to the United States.
What part of Italy are you from?
And then you moved to the U.S.?
To New York, yes. I was making pizzas, waiting tables, and washing dishes in the Village. We're talking about years ago.
Why did you choose to move to Florida?
When I came down to Florida, I told myself I was going to get out of the restaurant business. I was flipping houses. I was in real estate, buying and selling houses, and I got stuck with a bunch of houses after the housing market crashed, so I went back to being a chef and a pizza chef.
How did you land in Jupiter?
I was in St. Petersburg at Fortunatos Italian restaurant, and I moved to Miami, where I was the general manager for Sal's Italian restaurant. I was there for two years, but I wanted to get back into the kitchen. I was the pizza chef and sous chef at Casa Mia, and I just got promoted to chef about two months ago.
Have you changed the menu since you took over the reins?
Even though I was just promoted to chef here at Casa Mia, I've been here since the very beginning, so I've always been very familiar with the menus. We've added specials, but the food has the same quality and the same consistency as in the beginning. Nothing has changed, except there's probably more love into it than before.
What do you eat when you're at home?
I eat healthy. I eat a lot of vegetables when I'm home. I taste my pastas and sauces all day long in the kitchen. I do a lot of tasting, so I when I'm at home, I try to eat vegetables -- but I'm mostly here, so it doesn't matter.
What's your specialty? What do you love to cook over everything else on the menu?
My specialty is when I cook the fish of the day, the risotto, and the veal chop. Everything is so good, it's hard to say. I love everything about the menu.
What's the difference between the way people cook in Italy and the way Americans cook?
The difference is that Italians cook from scratch. There are no sugars in the sauce; we use olive oil, and we don't use butter. We cook real authentic Italian food here at Casa Mia.
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Stay tuned for Part II of our interview with Chef Geremia Coppola, coming soon!