What I knew about Judy Rodgers was that she was the food genius behind Zuni Cafe in San Francisco where I only ever ate once, for lunch, by myself so it wasn’t a classic expansive experience – like the ones I wish I had. Chris and Skip who are readers of this blog have spoken to me on several occasions of the magical experiences they have had over the years eating at Zuni Cafe. My friend Ansell who ran the Odeon for many years then went on to have his own very successful restaurant also spoken in glowing terms of his experiences there.
In reading all the obituaries and memories of her online this morning the one that most touched me was written by David Lebovitz, who worked with Judy at Chez Panisse and has a unique and very touching, I thought, perspective on her life and her food. I finished reading it and thought: she was my kind of gal. Go here and read it, well worth the time and really a wonderful insight into what makes a great cook.
Probably most famous for her wood oven roasted chicken and bread salad which however sad I am I never got a chance to eat while she was still in the kitchen thanks to the wonders of the internet at least the recipe is easy to find online (see above link). Many videos of Judy talking or preparing recipes – you can tell from her self-effacing presentation that she was indeed truly only interested in making delicious, well sourced food. If you ask me that is a great accomplishment and a life well spent.