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Chef Elise Wiggins in the kitchen of her Stapleton home. Photo by Rebecca Stumpf, styling by Kerri Cole.

In the Kitchen with Chef Elise Wiggins

The owner of Stapleton's Cattivella restaurant gives her top tips for designing a kitchen that really cooks.

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Elise Wiggins, chef and owner of the six-month-old restaurant Cattivella, loves the color red. The hue defines her personality: bright, energetic, and full of moxie. But when it came to designing the kitchen in her Stapleton home, she chose more neutral tones. “At work, I turn it on. But I can’t always be on,” she says. Much like her signature Italian dishes (she spent 12 years at Panzano before opening Cattivella), which strike a balance between innovation and comforting familiarity, Wiggins’ home kitchen is a professional-grade space punctuated with inviting details. Here, she shares her top tips for designing a kitchen.
Caesarstone countertops:
“Everyone gathers at the island and Caesarstone is modern, minimalist, and clean. Mine is a small home, so white counters help it feel open.”
Six-burner Wolf range with griddle and grill:
“I love to cook for large groups of people. A typical stove is built for smaller numbers.
Textured backsplash:
“I wanted white tile, but I know my cooking. With this, you really don’t notice the grease spatters.”
Infrared temperature gun:
“You just point the laser and it reads the temperature. It’s especially great with a wood-fired oven [Wiggins has a pizza oven in her backyard] because you need to know the exact temperature when you put in a pizza or bread.”
Vintage ice-chipper:
“Mine is red and from the ’60s, and I got it in Memphis. It chips and shaves ice for drinks like mint juleps.
Wolf convection steam oven:
“This guy locks in flavor because it injects steam. You don’t have to put a bowl of water in the oven to get crusty bread, and you can cook perfect prime rib because it steams it first and then caramelizes the exterior. Reheating leftovers: The food doesn’t dry out.”

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