I was born and raised in suburban Los Angeles, California, and always needed to go on a bit of a trek to be in the great outdoors. It wasn’t like we had a forest growing in our backyard, but that didn’t stop me from getting out into the wild.
While growing up, all I thought about was skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding and surfing. That alone took me on some of the best adventures; from the mountains of British Colombia, wakeboarding the Red Sea and everything in between, the world was my oyster. I have always felt the need to be outdoors and push my limits in whatever I do.
As a child, it was evident that I had a passion for food. Some of my earliest memories in the kitchen are of asking my mother if I could play with the knives. Fingers intact from these early explorations, I pursued the life of a chef, training in French technique at Le Cordon Bleu. Combining classic techniques with my imaginative and over the top personality, my career has included recipe development, food styling, artisan sausage making, culinary instruction and food TV. I have worked with Jamie Oliver Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Breville, Gelson’s, CBS, NBC and a range of others.
With that being said, I truly believe it is our duty, as a society, to know exactly where our food comes from and how it gets to our plate. Coming from a family that doesn’t hunt, it wasn’t like I had a lot of opportunity as a child to learn the ropes of harvesting my own food. As a teen, I began deep sea fishing. I would pick up charters from a local port once or twice month and bring home fresh fish to cook for my family. Soon after, I obtained my hunting license, so I could go bird hunting, mostly quail and dove. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I picked up a bow. Almost immediately, my love for big game hunting exploded. I currently live and breathe archery and bow hunting. There is nothing like the feeling of waking up before dawn, walking out onto the field with my bow in hand, watching the sun rise and not knowing what the day will bring me.
When I’m not in the kitchen or shooting my bow, I am working on my fruit and vegetable garden to grow fresh produce for my family. I am also a parkour/freerunning coach at a local gym. I believe movement is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle. I also have a wife and a newborn son that I adore. Although, I was never passed down the torch of hunting or the outdoor lifestyle, but I hope to ignite a new torch to pass down to my son for many generations to come.
Connect with Ara on Instagram @arazada
Articles and Recipes Contributed by A. Zada
Spinach Stuffed Wild Boar Loin with Arugula Pistachio Pesto
Wild Turkey and Brie Puffs
Prosciutto Wrapped Wild Turkey Cutlets
Venison Ricotta Meatballs with Alfredo Tagliatelle
Hunting Versus Buying Meat: It’s Not Gamey!
Bacon Butternut Squash Soup
Garlic Whiskey Wild Boar Bacon
Dove & Bacon Popper with Heirloom Tomato Chutney
Grilled Red Pepper Sage Leg of Venison
Yellowtail Mango Habenero Ceviche