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.