Executive Chef Elise Wiggins
Panzano’s Executive Chef Elise Wiggins knew she wanted to be a chef from an early age, even if she wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Leading the culinary efforts at Panzano in downtown Denver, Wiggins cooks and makes people happy-locals and visitors alike – with her distinctive contemporary Northern Italian cuisine using local and sustainable ingredients and practices. Wiggins grew up in Louisiana, with family camaraderie that centered around food and, as she puts it, “whose Mama cooked the best and who made the best gumbo.” After college at Northeastern Louisiana University, Wiggins began her career at Grotto in Dallas, working under Morris Salerno and Karl Hogue, the gold medal culinary Olympics team. It was there where she began to understand the basics of good food and authentic Northern Italian flavors. Wiggins then enrolled at the Colorado Institute of Art, where she fell in love with Colorado. Upon graduating, she quickly worked her way up to executive chef at the former Bella Ristorante. This was followed by travels in Central America, and then in the spring of 2004, Wiggins returned to Denver and Panzano, where she now prepares award-winning mouthwatering dishes and continues to explore regional Italian delights.