Good morning! We, here at Chef’s Course, want to bring you closer to the Chefs involved in our great conversation involving encouraging heritage species and responsible agriculture.

Our first profile is of two of our favorite people, Duskie Estes and John Stewart from Zazu kitchen + farm. Duskie And John opened Zazu during 2001 in Santa Rosa. The two have since garnered many awards for their snout-to-tail Italian, including being crowned the King & Queen of Porc at our Grand Cochon at the Aspen Food & Wine in 2011.

We had a chance recently to chat with the two over inspiring ingredients, local sourcing, kitchen tools and late night Asian delights.

We hope you enjoy and be sure to look out for more information on our other partners and our Dinner Series by following us on Twitter @chefscourse.

Chef’s Course What new ingredient is inspiring you right now?

Duskie Estes Castelfranco is my favorite right now.  It’s a member of the chicory family but looks like reverse radicchio, white with a red paint splash. It’s so pretty, not too bitter, and just perfect in a salad or with a bird.

John Stewart I’m always excited about pig heart. [It’s] always overlooked and I think it’s the best part on the whole damn pig.

CC If you could cook for anyone, who would it be?

DE Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall from River Cottage. His book is my favorite. He has people listening to him rant and he is changing food policy in the EU.

JS As winners of Cochon, we already had the chance to cook for some pretty heavy hitters. I loved seeing Jacques Pepin’s face light up when he ate our “When Pigs Fly,” trotter treated like a buffalo wing. Duskie laughed watching Francis Ford Coppola chow down on our Piggy Pop, a bacon toffee lollipop. He looked like the happiest kid ever!

CC What is your favorite late night Asian restaurant and dish?

DE Soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai in NYC.

JS Beef tendon at Raku in Vegas.

CC What is the hardest thing about sourcing good food from local sources?

DE For us, it’s not hard. Everything grows here in California. We grow it in our backyard.

JS It’s our way of life. We don’t know any other way.

CC What is your favorite kitchen tool?

JS Wooden spoons. I collect them. There is something timeless about them. I think they are awesome.

DE My Kramer knife that we won at Grand Cochon. It is so damn sharp. Watch out!

For more on Zazu kitchen + farm including sample menus, be sure to check out their site for the low down!

All images courtesy of COCHON555