Zov Karamardian

Chef Zov Karamardian launched her first Zov’s Bistro in Tustin, in 1987. She has been named California’s Chef of the Year (2004) and Restaurateur of the Year (2014-15), written two cookbooks and cooked with chefs Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse.

You were friends with Julia Child?

At age 19, I was mesmerized by her cooking show ‘The French Chef.’ When Julia started her cookbook tour, I went and watched her cook live, and it was just an amazing time. Years later, we met and became dear friends – something I will cherish the rest of my life.

What’s your ideal meal?

Feta cheese, fresh mint, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives, all in a bundle. As a mezze plate. Maybe on pita bread. To me, that’s the ultimate.

Any tips for the home chefs out there?

Food is supposed to make you feel good, so keep it simple and cook what you like. You will make mistakes – that’s OK. Enjoy the process. Find recipes in your skill range and comfort level, and follow them. Most importantly, have fun!

Any future plans?

My goal was to retire at 50, but retirement is hard when you’re doing what you love.

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