My Interview with Chef Duskie Estes

Chef Duskie Estes is a truly unique culinary talent worth exploring. Every endeavor she undertakes promises excellence. Dive deeper into the world of Chef Duskie Estes to discover what makes her extraordinary with My Interview with the Amazing Duskie Estes.

Chef Duskie Estes

What was your first memory of cooking and what did you cook?

When I was 5 years old, I made my grandfather’s birthday cake in my ez-bake oven. I was so proud I could make him so happy.

What is the story behind your former adored restaurant Zazu?

John and I moved to Sonoma County from Seattle after having our first child, Brydie to get near my family. John and I grew up as urban kids – him from New York and me from San Francisco. What we love about Sonoma County is the proximity to source. That makes everything taste better – when food is picked when it is most ripe, rather than ahead for travel. We became advocated for knowing the face that feeds you and representing the farmer on the plate. We started out as chefs and became farmers and ranchers. We lost it in a flood in Sebastopol in 2019. We now have Black Pig Bacon available at Olivers, Andy’s, big john’s, Dry Creek General Store, Epicurean Connection… and our food truck, The Black Piglet.

Share more about your food truck and where customers can find you now?

 all these fun parties …

Red, White, & Snow for the National Ability Center, Utah, March 7-9
Pigs & Pinot, March 15-16
V Foundation  @ Aperature, March 22
Wonder Women of Food & Wine, PAWS Up, Montana, April 26-27

California Artisan Cheese Festival, March 24

Golden State Cider Farms-to-Cider Party, April 13
First Fridays @ Hook & Ladder,  May 3-November 1
Martinelli Vineyards Open House, May 4

Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience, May 17
James Beard Awards, Chicago, June 8-10

Wine & Sunsets @ Paradise Ridge, July 3

Markham Vineyards, July 13

Gravenstein Apple Fair, August 10&11

For anyone who has enjoyed your food truck, Black Piglet or enjoyed Black Pig Meat Company, what is a dish someone MUST try if they’re dining with you for the first time?

Our burger is the best burger you have ever had in your life – creek beef ground with our bacon make the patty then we top with crispy fried onions and house-made pimento cheese on a dutch crunch bun. stop it!

Our BLT is the best you have ever had in your life – you can only have it when tomatoes are really good & in season & the tabasco aioli adds a good kick – not to mention the best brown sugar cured and applewood smoked bacon on the planet.

Our grilled cheese changes your idea of a grilled cheese – we add a duxelle we make from mycopia mushrooms in Sebastopol and its on crunchy nightingale bakery sourdough!

The kimchi fries are my personal favorite! Pork belly, sriracha aioli, and kimchi!

What was one of the biggest mistakes you made your first year in the culinary industry?

 On my first shift in a restaurant in the early 90’s, I confused sugar for salt for a whole shift.

When did you know you wanted to become a chef?

I was supposed to be going to law school and I got offered a job to be a head chef in Seattle with Tom Douglas at Palace Kitchen, so I didn’t go.  

You have made regular appearances on Iron Chef and as a Judge on Guy’s Grocery Games. What is it like being on TV as a Chef & Judge?

Competing is fun because you never challenge yourself that way in life – to think under time pressure. I much prefer being a judge to a competitor, especially on Guy’s shows, because he wants you to be kind. Some of the other shows are mean.

What is your favorite culinary spot in Sonoma County (outside of your restaurants)?

el molino central

Who has been the most influential mentor/chef in your career?

tom douglas & eric tanaka in seattle – they taught me how to support farmers year round, to be free to play, and that it was about being cool over making $

What is your favorite after work drink?

sipsong spirits gin mule w/ spicy ginger beer and lemon verbena & meyer lemons from my backyard  

What is next? Anything fun coming that you want to share with my readers?

 food truckin’ on the black piglet with my husband john stewart

May 6-9, 300 miles for Chefs Cycle | No Kid Hungry!

support our ride here

& painting & ukulele classes with my mom  

Tell us something that would surprise people about you?

i was a vegetarian for 23 years (and now i raise animals in my backyard)

Chef Duskie Estes

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