Judy Rodgers

Judy Rodgers
Did you know?

Judy was inspired by the provenance of food and by her own tastes, always cooking what she herself loved. Her best advice was to "always cook with heart."

Judy Rodgers
Judy's Featured Recipe
Mixed Lettuces with Roasted Cherries, Hazelnuts & Warm Saint-Marcellin

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Judy Rodgers was chef-partner at Zuni Café in San Francisco, and a pioneer of simple and casual American fare based on traditional French and Italian cuisines.


She authored The Zuni Café Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Restaurant. She is also one of the featured chefs in Becoming a Chef: With Recipes and Reflections from America's Leading Chefs by Andrew Dorenburg and Karen Page, 2003.


Born in St. Louis, Judy moved to California to study art history at Stanford University in Palo Alto. As it was, she had already been exposed to the glories of food when, as a 16-year-old, she had traveled to France as an exchange student and found herself living and working with the famed Troisgros family, owners of the three-star restaurant in Roanne.


When Judy finished college, she considered going to law school, but after a dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, she shared some of her Troisgros recipes with Alice Waters. Alice suggested that Judy cook at the restaurant with her for a couple of days and then offered her a position as lunch chef. From there, Judy was hired to open the Union Hotel, a restaurant in Benicia, California. In 1987, she became the chef at Zuni Café, where she remained for over 25 years as chef-owner. In 2004, Judy was named outstanding chef by the James Beard Foundation.


Judy Rodgers died in December 2013.


Latest Recipes

Pasta alla Carbonara

This rogue version of carbonara is based on one I had in Rome. It is not very saucy, and the ricotta makes it pleasantly curdy. The bacon...

(1 Votes)

Orange-Currant Scones

A constant on our Sunday brunch menu--and a constant reminder of ten years of sleepy weekday morning breakfasts at Zuni. We served breakf...

(1 Votes)

Mixed Lettuces with Roasted Cherries, Hazelnuts & Warm Saint-Marcellin

A handsome salad I like to serve at the end of a meal featuring red meat, pork, or game birds. It is lovely made with tender young red le...

(1 Votes)

Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

This recipe, based on Elizabeth David’s Gnocchi di Ricotta in her book Italian Food, has become one of our most-often-requested house for...

(1 Votes)

Baked Artichokes with Onions, Lemons, Black Olives and Mint

I love this dish for its earthy, satisfying textures and flavors that meld so well. It is based on the gorgeous, satiny baked artichokes ...

(1 Votes)

Quail and Sausage Braised with Grapes

A fall dish, traditionally made with wine grapes—and without quail—in Umbria. This is a tame interpretation of that dish, salsiccia all’u...

(1 Votes)

Skirt Steak and Hanger Steak

Both these cuts are hardworking abdominal muscles and are very flavorful. Ask for the “outside” skirt—it will be plumper than the “inside...

(1 Votes)

Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream

This granita is the sweetest thing we make at Zuni, and yet it is surprisingly refreshing. This effect requires fiercely rich espresso. W...

(1 Votes)

Air-Dried Beef & Fuyu Persimmons

This is a pretty winter antipasto requiring almost no work. The subtle, candylike sweetness of the persimmons in combination with the ric...

(1 Votes)

Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad

The Zuni roast chicken depends on three things, beginning with the small size of the bird. Don’t substitute a jumbo roaster--it will be t...

(1 Votes)

Zuni Chicken Stock

This is the stock we use for most of our soups, for meat and poultry braises, for moistening certain fish dishes, and for making compound...

(1 Votes)
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