Bella in the Valley

A serious cooking enthusiast invites us into her Sherman Oaks kitchen to share the 5 appliances she can’t live without. Written by Heather David Photographed by Michael Becker

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To say Chiara Vergati Iorfida loves food would be an understatement. The native Italian has spent nearly every day of her life both enjoying and preparing fresh, local food.

“Learning to cook was a very natural process for me. I grew up in Milan, but I spent summers in the South of Italy at my aunt’s house. We would pick fruit and vegetables from her garden and make our own tomato sauce, eggplant and pepper preserves. My family’s mentality is that you have to participate in making sauce and stay in the loop because you’re the next generation,” Chiara fondly recalls.

In 2012, Chiara and her husband, music producer and songwriter, Michele Iorfida, relocated to LA and soon after, their son Elia was born.

The former Italian pop singer is now a mom who still finds time to cook her heart out—whipping up everything from risotto with beets and pancetta to her decadent butter lemon cake.

“I love variety and putting something different on the table everyday for my family. I look in my fridge and get inspired by the few ingredients I have on hand. It’s what I do on a daily basis and it’s how I was raised.”

Chiara’s 5 Kitchen Must-Haves

Le Creuset Round French Oven

This Le Creuset pot is pricey but a great investment because I can make an entire dinner in it. I use it for what we call in Italian, cucina espressa, which means fast and from scratch. Something that doesn’t require more than 30 or 40 minutes to prepare. I recently made chicken with curry and dried apricots and it was a hit!

Wolf Six Burner Gas Stove with Two Convection Ovens

When we first started searching for a new home, I was looking for the kitchen of my dreams. When I saw this stove, I instantly fell in love. If I’m entertaining, it allows me to feed a lot of people. With two ovens, I can cook veggies in one and roast lamb in the other. It just cooks so perfectly.

Wolf Built-In Coffee System

It’s no secret that Italians love their coffee—we’re no exception. My husband starts the day with three espressos and this machine tastes just like the ones baristas use in Italy. It also makes fantastic American drip coffee, which I drink every morning. I use organic espresso Sierra beans from Whole Foods. They’re full-bodied and work perfectly for espresso and other coffee drinks.

Matcha Green Tea Whisk

Iced Matcha green tea is my latest obsession. Unfortunately the ones you find at places like Starbucks have tons of sugar, so I decided to make an unsweetened version. I found the very best organic Matcha green tea powder at Whole Foods, as well as this Japanese bamboo whisk. It works perfectly to mix the dense powder in hot water.

Typhoon Digital Food Scale

I love to bake but the Italian recipes I have are in grams, so I need an accurate scale to help me with conversions. A friend of mine, who’s a pastry chef, also taught me that baking is a science. You can literally taste the difference if your ingredients are off even by the slightest amount. I love this scale because of its modern look and precision.