Phoenix Phoodies: Charcuterie & Biodiesel at Digestif

By Sloane Burwell

Scottsdale’s Digestif is a sassy charmer. Its Cal-ital-inspired menu, the bricked chic interior, the swoon-worthy wine list and inventive cocktails are more than enough to make me move my CenPho-centric self on over for some of their crave-inducing charcuterie. Charcuterie -- that’s French for unctuous, buttery, salted and cured, pork-derived nirvana. These meaty treats are the creation of Zac Scott, whose impressive resume includes a two-year stint at the venerable Rancho Pinot. Sure, he’s busting the all-star moves in the kitchen, where he can be found breaking down entire porcine specimens (be still, my beating heart), but the man’s no slouch in the chemistry department, either. He’s turning old oils that might otherwise end up in a landfill into bio-diesel fuel.

Chow Bella: How did you start making charcuterie? Zac Scott: I started way back – my parents had a hunting and fishing lodge in Colorado, and we made ham. It was holiday food – for Thanksgiving and Christmas we’d make ham and bacon.

CB: Do you hunt? ZS: I’m going deer hunting in November in Colorado. There’s lots of sage in the lower country and they -- the mule deer -- get nice and fat so everything tastes good.

CB: Did you always want to be a chef? ZS: Not even close. I fell into it. At my parents lodge, it was like, “Go make a cocktail”. There were always 20 to 30 people staying at the lodge during full operations, and I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

CB: So if you grew up in Colorado, do you ski? ZS: NO! Not now. I skied until it became dorky when I was 12 and I started snowboarding.

CB: So how did you start making biodiesel? ZS: I was on the internet one day and I was like, "Damn, I don’t have to buy gas?" -- and I have access to all of this grease, so I just started.

CB: Is it dangerous to make biodiesel? ZS: I’ve had a couple of close calls. I mean, it IS flammable. Just pay attention to it. It’s just like making anything else – pay attention and it’s okay.

CB: Do you have to modify your car to use biodiesel? ZS: It depends. If your car was made before 1993, you will have to change your fuel lines. If it’s after 1993, you don’t have to do anything. There are a lot of kits you can buy on the internet, but most of them are scams. I have a 31-year-old car and I’ve been running on biodiesel for four years.

CB: How’s your gas mileage using biodiesel? ZS: It’s the same as gas.

CB: Is it true that biodiesel makes your car smell like French fries? ZC: (Laughs) It depends what the oil was used for. Sometimes it smells like tempura. The last time I changed my oil it wreaked – it smelled like onions.