Star Kitchen: Marcela Valladolid

Marcela Valladolid turned her California kitchen into the best room in the house.

Photo By: Dave Lauridsen ©dave lauridsen 2014

Photo By: Dave Lauridsen ©dave lauridsen 2014

Photo By: Dave Lauridsen ©dave lauridsen 2014

Photo By: Dave Lauridsen ©dave lauridsen 2014

Photo By: Dave Lauridsen ©dave lauridsen 2014

lauridsen_140528_080.tif

Most chefs' priority after buying a house would be renovating the kitchen. At the top of Marcela's list: installing killer speakers. The host of Mexican Made Easy and cohost of The Kitchen bought her Chula Vista, CA, home about a year and a half ago and kept much of the kitchen intact. But she added a Sonos wireless sound system so she could listen to music (Carlos Vives is a favorite) while she tested recipes. Though Marcela left the kitchen mainly white, as she found it, she livened up the eating area with color, including cushions made from Huipil, a traditional Mexican fabric used for costumes. "This is my happy place," she says.

Kitchen Nook

Another priority for the space: putting in a breakfast nook where Marcela and her 10-year-old son, Fausto, could eat most of their meals. They stick to a fairly traditional Mexican dining schedule: a large breakfast around 6:30 a.m., a mid-afternoon "comida" close to 3 p.m., and then a small dinner in the evening. These Vienna side chairs give her kitchen nook a bistro look. "I like the fresh, clean lines," she says. 

A Nod to Mom

Hummingbirds remind Marcela of her late mother, so she keeps them in some form in every room of her house (there's one on this vase). "I've always considered them a sign of her presence in my life."

Personal Pottery

An artist friend, Gennaro Garcia, painted these Talavera-inspired mugs for Marcela and Katie Lee, her cohost on The Kitchen. Katie's mugs bear her name, but Marcela's say "La Kitchen," in reference to her Instagram hashtags.

Goods for the Garden

Marcela keeps chiles and vegetables from her yard within reach in these ceramic barro bowls.

More from:

Chefs at Home