Three men in Hawaiian shirts standing in a coconut jungle

Cocos Artisans Collective

Our journey began with one person evaporating sea water to produce salt. Today, we’re a team of passionate Cocos Island locals working to make a positive difference on the remote tropical islands.

Our Story

In 2010, Cocos (Keeling) Islands resident Tony Lacy established the Cocos Artisans Collective with three aims. Firstly, to create new employment for residents through a range of economic development initiatives. Secondly, to have a positive impact for the community, visitors and the local environment of the Cocos Islands. The final aim was to leave a legacy by ensuring each project was sustainable.

A salty start

Our story began in 2009 when Tony arrived on the Cocos Islands with his wife and family. He soon met Wak Udin, an elder on Home Island who was using traditional methods to make sea salt. The smoky process involved boiling sea water in metal drums and using coconut husks as the fuel.

Tony used his background in food science and some research to help secure seed funding from the Australian Government to purchase and freight materials for a micro sea salt evaporation system on Home Island. The success of this system enabled a base product to be made and employment opportunities began. The new salt making team then went on to produce a range of dried food products such as moringa, lime, smoked lime and even local seaweed.

a man in front of a coconut press with a jar of coconut cream

Cooking up a storm on Cocos Islands

The project soon expanded to include Salty’s Bakery & Grill, where Tony could include the locally produced sea salt as a key ingredient in café dishes. When the lease for an abandoned coconut farm became available, Tony saw it as an excellent opportunity to get involved in the product that gave the Cocos Islands their name. The Wild Coconut Discovery Centre offers the chance to see how a range of coconut products are made, while sampling them along the way.

When a beachfront restaurant lease came up, Tony jumped at the opportunity to serve Cocos Island’s locals and visitors in such a stunning location. The result, Surfer Girl restaurant, features the locally produced salt and coconut products in delicious, freshly prepared dishes.

From pure sea salt as the essential ingredient, the other projects evolved to become the Cocos Artisans Collective. You can get involved in the amazing work that Tony and the team are doing on Cocos Islands by dining at one (or all) of the Cocos Artisans Collective cafés and visiting the Wild Coconut Discovery Centre.

Wild Coconut Discovery Centre

Discover the fascinating world of coconut production through hands on demonstrations and tasty samples.

Salty’s Grill & Bakery

Visit our café, bakery and takeway joint near the airport for coffee, cakes, pizza and other tasty treats.

Surfer Girl Restaurant & Brewery

Our outdoor restaurant located on the beach is the perfect place for sunset dinner and drinks.