Chef, restaurateur, teacher, and cookbook author Zov Karamardian was born in Israel to Armenian parents, and raised in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Her family immigrated to the United States and settled in San Francisco in the early 1960’s, when she was 16. As the eldest of 4 children, she was called upon by her mother, who often worked evenings in the family’s grocery store, to prepare dinner for the family. Five years later, Zov decided that cooking would become her life’s work.
With her mother’s guidance, along with recipes from magazines and newspapers, and a collection of her family’s favorite dishes, Zov had the foundation for what would eventually become a very rewarding career in the culinary arts. Additional inspiration came from watching Julia Child as she pioneered the airwaves for many of today’s cooking show celebrities. It was from this culinary legend that Zov learned about classic French cuisine, and also the way to have fun while cooking. Julia Child would become a significant mentor and dear friend throughout Zov’s career.
As a young newlywed, Zov moved with her husband Gary, who today is her business partner, to Orange County, California, where she began hosting numerous dinner parties. The natural next step was a home catering business, which eventually led to the opening of her namesake restaurant, Zov’s Bistro, in Tustin, California. The restaurant has been a family enterprise from the beginning, with her mother Araxi, husband Gary, son Armen, and daughter Taleene instrumental in its success.
Many loyal customers have become extended family members, often dining at Zov’s several times a week, and some even on a daily basis. They keep coming back for Zov’s comforting repertoire of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Asian-inspired dishes, each conjuring up memories for Zov of a special family occasion or a culinary journey to an exotic destination.
A long time contributor to publications such as Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, the Orange County Register, Sunset Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, Zov Karamardian has finally been able to take her writing and cooking passion to the next level with the publication of her first book, Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart. This beautifully illustrated collection is full of easy-to-follow, rich in flavor, recipes that have kept guests returning time and again to her restaurant.
Zov Karamardian has been an active supporter of local and national charitable and educational organizations. Her generosity is widely known and admired in the culinary community, and both Zov herself and Zov’s Bistro have been acknowledged with a variety of industry awards. She has also appeared on many network and cable television programs, including the TV Food Network, Extra, and CNN.
One of Zov’s most frequent guests at her bistro is best-selling author Dean Koontz, and with 2,000 meals behind him, he’s more than qualified to offer his personal opinion. In the forward to her book Koontz wrote "Zov Karamardian has long been an inspiration to serious foodies..." and "the atmosphere of Zov’s restaurant and the food she serves remind me that joy is to be found everywhere in life. "This is a book rich not only with a love of food but with a love of life, family, and tradition."
Doing what she loves, surrounded by family, admired by many, and a bonafide success in her chosen field, you might say that Zov Karamardian is living the American dream, and loving every minute of it.
Learn more about this chef www.zovs.com