Prepared eggplant parmigiana di with Livio coccosa in Veneto, Italy

Cooking and acclimatization Created byHungryEditor, this series profiles people about what they’re cooking and how they’re dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Livio Cucuzza is Chief Design Officer at McIntosh Group Inc. , a global luxury audio company with notable names such as McIntosh Labs, Sonus faber, Sumiko Audio and more. Prior to joining Sonus faber in 2010 as Senior Designer, he worked for brands including Due and LEGO. Cucuzza has been the creative engineer behind many of the enterprise’s category innovations, including their journey into the automotive sector through their collaborations with Maserati and Stellantis. Cucuzza studied industrial design at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. Lives in the Veneto region, Italy. You can follow him on Instagram: livio_cucuzza.

Benjamin Leung Setiawan: What recipe do you like right now?

Liviu Kokoza: My favorite recipe is without a doubt my mother’s version of the classic Italian “Parmigiana di Melanzane”.

Eggplant, Parmigiana


  1. The first important step is to cut the eggplant into slices and put them under a thick layer of coarse salt for a few hours. In this way, the eggplant will lose its typical bitter taste and will be delicious!
  2. Make a simple tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, onions, olive oil and basil. Cut the onions into small pieces, fry a little in a thin layer of olive oil, add the tomato sauce as soon as the onions turn light yellow. Add salt and a teaspoon of sugar (to adjust the acidity if necessary) and that’s it! Add the basil after removing it from the fire.
  3. Next, eggplant slices are fried in olive oil and placed in a baking dish. Put the first layer of eggplant, then add the tomato sauce and boiled eggs in small pieces. Repeat this process for as many layers as possible to fill the dish. On top of the last layer, add a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and put the baking dish in the refrigerator.
  4. Her feet are as cold as my mom and grandmother do!

Setiawan: How did you find this recipe?

Cocoza: It is the main dish for family lunches and dinners during the summer in Sicily, where my parents live. I don’t know how old the recipe for this version is, but I’m sure it’s not in its first generation. My mom does it the same way as my grandmother.

Sitiawan: What do you like about this recipe?

Cocoza: I love it because it has all my favorite ingredients. It’s simple, and in my mother’s version, it’s served cold – just right for the hot Sicilian summer! Usually, in the original recipe, it is a warm dish.

Setiawan: Any special memories associated with this recipe?

Cocoza: My best memories of my Parmigiana mom are those early mornings when I came home very hungry after a night out with friends. Finding leftover parmigiana in the fridge was a real treat!

Setiawan: Who would you like to make this recipe for?

Cocoza: I only made it myself once, for my girlfriend. I really don’t know if I want to share it with anyone else! 😊

Setiawan: Mental health is very important. What are some of your concerns?

Cocoza: My mind is usually messy. I am an introvert and have no brothers and sisters, so most of my childhood was reclusive. I discovered the power of imagination early on, and I played with that power most of the time, but sometimes that’s not always a good thing. I’ve learned to weigh the good and bad in life and aim to focus my attention and focus on positive thoughts.

Setiawan: What are some of the ways you deal with all the stress of those fears?

Cocoza: I’ve learned to connect my interests to things that really matter. This way you can give them the right weight, often much less than you might imagine.

Setiawan: What do you do to stay sane?

Cocoza: I don’t like sports very much but I do like to go to the gym three times a week, just to maintain my physical and mental health.

Setiawan: What do you do to stay creative?

Cocoza: Talking to my team is the best way to stimulate creativity. Hearing different perspectives is always the best way to generate new ideas and can be very exciting.

Setiawan: What are you doing to keep in touch?

Cocoza: Not much honestly. I’m involved in social media, I’m compulsive on Instagram, but at the same time I’m not the best at maintaining more meaningful relationships with people. This is my biggest mistake.

Setiawan: What have you been learning lately?

Cocoza: I’m learning how to manage people better and create efficient processes. Jeff Boge, CEO of my company, is a wonderful mentor.

Setiawan: What changes do you hope to see in the future?

Cocoza: Currently, I have a goal of incorporating a better way to maintain my connections.

Setiawan: What rhythms are you trying to implement in your life?

Cocoza: Although I work with phonetics, I’m not talking about rhythm and ritual. I can’t do the same thing for more than a week, maybe for a day. I love changing it up to inspire creativity, and it’s even more fun!

Setiawan: What is the most surprising thing?

Cocoza: In terms of professional projects, the most surprising thing was the success of the Lumina group. Driven by this simple idea, which is different from our classic but still true to the DNA of Sonus faber, the new line has been a huge hit in the market.

Setiawan: What’s the most inspiring?

Cocoza: Perhaps the most inspiring project was when I worked on developing PRYMA headphones in 2016. It’s been a great journey with new suppliers, new technologies and a different customer base. I will never forget this project.

Setiawan: What do you think is the best way for change to happen?

Cocoza: Do not try to force it, it is always better to create all conditions to facilitate change.

Setiawan: What gives you hope for the future?

Cocoza: I honestly don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the future. Every day is a discovery. Everything can happen. It’s different for product design, as I use all my imagination to create possible future scenarios – it’s a natural process that I don’t force in any way.

Setiawan: Who do you think should appear in Cooking and Coping next?

Cocoza: The amazing Dodo Arslan, one of the most talented industrial designers I know. Saturnino Celani is an artist I respect for his humble approach, even as one of the most famous Italian musicians. Lawrence Dickey, a constant inspiration for my work.


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