How Inspiration Drove Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski’s Kitchen Renovation

BlueStar All-Star Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski


You won’t see much stainless steel in Brioza and Krasinski’s kitchen because the couple didn’t want their home to resemble their restaurant workplace. The fridge is a BlueStar refrigerator in teal—a color that Brioza had his eye on for the past decade. When the couple worked at Rubicon in San Francisco, they were invited to tour renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly’s Seattle studio, which had a ton of blue retro appliances, including a refrigerator. “It’s always been lodged in my mind,” Brioza says.


When they host pasta-making or cookie-baking parties, they roll out noodles and press cookie cutters directly onto the cypress slab that tops the island. But when the knives come out, a favorite cutting board—an 18-inch round model from John Boos & Co. made of maple—protects the softer cypress surface from damage.


The desire for an island that was highly functional but still airy and light drove the design of this custom-made worktable, which is topped with a 10-foot slab of cypress with a live edge. The prep sink on one end is bronze rather than stainless steel; open-air shelves allow for book and equipment storage underneath.

BlueStar All-Star Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski


The stove is directly behind the island, and the fridge is to the right of the stove. “Like in a professional kitchen, you’re sort of bouncing back and forth,” Brioza says. “You can pivot.” But they also included elements solely for design’s sake, like the black-and-white floor mosaic inspired by classic American home kitchens.

Chef’s Essentials

Preferred Pans In Brioza’s opinion, “there’s no replacement for good fire and a good pan.” That means a good hood ventilation system, a stove with plenty of BTUs, and a couple of go-to pans. In their home kitchen, they like to cook in cast-iron pots and pans from Crane Cookware and Staub.

Must-Have Ingredients At home, their current obsessions include Scribe Winery’s verjus (the very tart juice of unfermented unripe wine grapes), black sesame paste from The Japanese Pantry, and yuzu kosho, a fermented paste that Brioza and Krasinski make from scratch with chiles, yuzu peel, and salt.

Current Food Obsession “It’s gratifying to eat quick things on the island because you’ve got the stove right there,” says Krasinski. Their indulgence of the moment: tortillas from San Francisco’s La Palma Mexicatessen—fire-toasted, rubbed with butter, and wrapped around sauerkraut.