This hidden treasure is out of this world
Photos and Article by: Rebecca Lusk, Eat.Love.BR.
From the custom-made tables with built-in ice basins designed with Sunday brunch
in mind, to the locally made eclectic artwork adorning the walls, Cocha perfectly
reflects owners Saskia Spanhoff and Enrique Piñerua.
Like many other Baton Rouge natives, Saskia and Enrique recently decided to return
home after a lengthy stint in Los Angeles where Saskia was Vice President of Sales
for a premier wine distributor and Enrique served as the Director of Marketing and
Talent Relations for a local television station. Over the course of several years, the
need for a new culinary concept became evermore apparent to the couple after each
visit to Baton Rouge. In 2016 they decided to take the leap and return to the
downtown area to fill that need.
The name Cocha came to the couple one night as they were discussing different
possibilities. Enrique enthusiastically recalled the story for us, “While we were
having wine one night I said, ‘Cocha, pass me my wine glass.’ Saskia shot up and said,
‘that’s it! That’s the name!’” Cocha is an endearing Venezuelan term meaning
“honey” or “dear” and it is Enrique’s choice name when referring to Saskia.
Cocha’s Executive Chef, Jourdan Fulbright was trained at The Culinary Institute of
America in Hyde Park, New York. She brings a wealth of knowledge and talent and
has produced exactly what Saskia and Enrique wanted, a globally diverse menu.
While Saskia’s family heritage is Dutch, Enrique’s family comes from Venezuela and
Spain. Their cultures, and their love of travel, are what inspired their desire to
showcase global flavors through local purveyors at their true “farm-to-table”
restaurant. This is a claim they can certainly make, as they are located only blocks
from the downtown Red Stick Farmers Market. Once returning to Baton Rouge,
Saskia and Enrique quickly began to establish relationships with the local farmers
and proudly use their products in Cocha’s seasonally rotating menu.
The couple’s love of the local community is even evident in the design of the space.
Cocha boasts a beautiful open kitchen to allow customers a first hand view as they
dine. All of the artwork they have chosen has deep meaning or history, and most is
local to the area. Saskia and Enrique have created a beautiful, family-friendly
environment where you can feel relaxed and welcomed. You can’t help but feel at
home at Cocha.