Ara Zada

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Growing up I didn’t always expect to make a career in the food industry but there was always one thing certain. I had a serious attachment to my food. My nickname growing up was “kol-kol” given to me by my grandpa, which means, “eat-eat” in Arabic.


I would eat anything and everything in my path. I naturally gravitated towards the kitchen but it wasn’t the food that brought me there alone, I really just wanted to play with the knives and this was the only way my mom would let me. I grew up in an Armenian/ Egyptian household that means a lot of time was spent in the kitchen prepping, learning and eating. I attended a private Armenian school from pre-kindergarten to seventh grade. As a child I had different idea of what being Armenian was. It wasn’t anything special because for the most part everyone I was surrounded by was Armenian. Everyone spoke Armenian, had Armenian families and ate what they thought was Armenian food. Armenian school teaches a lot about pride, heritage, sorrow and lose and it was difficult for me to understand at the time but it wasn’t until I got older I really figured out what it all meant.


As a teen I was just looking for my next thrill. I spent most of my days skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing, BMXing, luging, rock climbing, bungee jumping, playing in a band (piano, guitar, singing) —you name it I probably did it. I have always had the need to do things and make sure I do it the best. I would spend countless hours researching and practicing everything until my head would explode and I would literally know everything there was to know.


I eventually found my path in the kitchen and attended Le Cordon Bleu to be trained professionally in French culinary techniques. That led me on a wild road working in kitchens. I spent a few years working with Jaime Oliver on Food Revolution and with his Food Foundation. I was a culinary instructor on his Mobile teaching kitchen, teaching 3 classes a day 5 days a week. I began food styling and worked with CBS, NBC, Food Network, ABC and several others. I am currently an Executive Chef for Fresh Gourmet Cuisine, where I develop recipes for Las Vegas Hotels and various supermarkets across the nation. It’s a wild mix of things but I love to get my hands into everything.


I also have a need to know exactly where my food comes from. This put me in the position so start harvesting my own meat. I began an infatuation with archery hunting and butchering. That alone sent me on some of the wildest adventures. Which in turn led me to writing for a website called and publishing recipes in Outdoor News.

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