Jude Zasadzki

For Jude, growing up and eating well made a lasting impression. Some of his earliest memories were running around the commercial kitchen owned by his parents, who ran a successful catering business in New York City, and climbing to the tallest shelves in the dry goods pantry to steal Pirouette crackers.

Throughout high school he worked part-time at a local guitar shop, playing gigs with friends at places like Maxwell’s and the local Elk’s Lodge on the west side of the Hudson River. When he graduated he was determined to become a touring musician, and after 5 years on the road, returned home to enroll in culinary school. Halfway through his degree he had already secured an externship with WD-50 in Manhattan. There came a point when Jude could no longer resist the curiosity of living amongst the illuminating flavors and natural offerings confined to California and, like a dizzying cymbal crash, he suddenly found himself living in San Francisco, working part-time at what was once the barn yard of One-Star Michelin, Saison.

One of the most useful bits of culinary alchemy he learned while at Saison was that public interface was more his speed. He was exposed to interesting wines for the first time while working at a local butcher shop called The Fatted Calf, followed by The French Club—a Bordeaux driven, members-only dining club. He can pinpoint the exact moment that he fell in love with wine: when his manager poured him a glass of 1991 E. Guigal Côte Rotie after a long shift. Since then, he’s been hooked.

Jude decided to take his new found love for wine and run with it. After six months of soul searching in South America, he found himself back in San Francisco interviewing with Chef David Barzaley of Lazy Bear (Two-Star Michelin). “It was the first place I applied to when I got back, and it felt like a huge jump from my previous experiences in the restaurant world.” Following Lazy Bear, he met Jason Alexander and Marie-Louis Friedland (of The Progress/State Bird Provisions) and knew he had found his mentors. Jude worked his way into the wine team, working in the cellar and completing his Level 1 Sommelier Certification.

After six years in San Francisco, Jude felt it was time for a change of scenery. He landed in Los Angeles ready for a new challenge, and in teaming up with Schatzi Wines, has found a new home and the challenge he was seeking.