Zazu Kichen & Farm’s Chef Duskie Estes (right) has competed to be the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, impressing the judges with her Crop Crepes with Mustard “transformation” of State Fair food. She has battled it out on the web-exclusive “Road to Redemption” tournament on foodnetwork.com, and vied for title of Queen of Porc at Grand Cochon at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic competition.
She also has been featured on Guy’s Big Bites, Guy’s Grocery Games, Emeril Green, P.B.S.’s Chefs-A-Field and A Moveable Feast. All pretty impressive stuff for a lady who has not even owned a TV for the past 11 years.
But then, Estes never does anything the easy way. As chef and co-owner of Zazu Restaurant + Farm with her husband, John Stewart (left), she is dedicated to local, sustainable foods, down to raising produce at several Sonoma County farm locations. She makes her own pasta, tosses her own pizzas, and crafts specialties like chicharrone peanut butter cups, gelato, and fresh, hot maple glazed donuts sprinkled in bacon bits.
She shares the passion with her husband, too. Stewart butchers his own pigs and makes his own bacon under his Black Pig Meat Co. company, dry cured the meat with brown sugar for up to 21 days and then finishing it with about 12 hours’ applewood smoking (Stewart, by the way, won the King of Porc crown for Grand Cochon).
This past year, she and Stewart opened a pop-up BLT food truck at Davis Family Vineyards in Healdsburg. Called Black Piglet in tribute to the company’s bacon business, it sends out delights like Black Pig Bacon BLT’s, pork belly poutine, maple bacon donuts, strawberry Rosé sorbet and Jenny’s Pies.
And in her free time, Estes keeps just as busy. Her latest enterprise: Lard Lather Soap, and Lardo Lip Balm, made with her own pigs’ rendered fat.
Zazu Kitchen & Farm will be one of the restaurants participating in Sonoma County Restaurant Week!
Read more Sonoma County Chef stories, or see who else you will be able to visit during Restaurant Week.