“MeatEater” host Steve Rinella, the “Julia Child of the campfire”
In the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, it only took a few moments for Steve Ranella and his bowhunting buddy, Dan, to spot some pronghorn deer in the distant brush. Cowan was tagged with perhaps one of the most recognizable hunters in all of America, even though he had never hunted a day in his life.
“I do what I was born to do, what I love,” Renilla said.
He is the creator and host of the popular TV and web series “MeatEater,” now in its 11th season. It’s hunting the way a hunter sees it – up close and personal – and for Ranilla, hunting. Is Personal He said, “At my core, I love nature, I love to hunt, I love to fish, I love to eat the things that I hunt and fish for. And I put that into my work.” Changed.”
He came to hunt like most people do. His father hunted. Then he saw it largely as just a game. “When I was 18, I was. Crazy Along with hunting and fishing. I did not know or use the word conservation. In my mind, all the resources we’ve enjoyed, they fell from the sky … they were there for the taking.”
“And they’ll always be there for the taking?’ Kwon asked.
“Get yours while it’s good.”
But today, conservation is at the heart of almost everything “MeatEater” does. The quality of the hunt, he says, is only as good as the health of the population being hunted, whether it’s deer, fish or anything else. His point is that loving the wild, despite taking the lives of wild animals, is not mutually exclusive. “I’ve never in my life met a person who holds wild game in such high regard who doesn’t value wildlife,” Renilla said. “And they understand that there’s a limit to how much we can pull from it, or you end up destroying the whole thing.”
Whether you agree or not, this is nothing new. Charles Darwin, Ernest Hemingway and John James Audubon all loved nature. And And then there’s Theodore Roosevelt, who especially loved the land. Ranilla said, “He saved about 50,000 acres of mountains, plains, forests in this country for every day he was in office. Why? He was inspired to do it by his association with hunting.”
That same idea — respecting resources — is what he’s trying to teach his children, and in part he’s doing it through food.
At her home in Bozeman, Montana, Renella’s refrigerator is stocked with the frozen spoils of her adventures in the woods: elk meat, ducks, wild turkey. They say that everything here has a story that brings with it a discussion. “Every night that we eat, we eat something that we grew, that we hunted, that we found in the wild, that we found in our backyard,” he said. “And not a night goes by, I’m not kidding, not a night goes by that we don’t talk about.”
His cooking has also attracted non-hunting viewers. Ranilla has become “the Julia Child of the campfire.” The last third of nearly every “MeatEater” episode is cooking up the day’s catch or kill, making the jungle look like a 3-star Michelin restaurant, as it stirs up venison and pumpkin stew.
“I’ve read this story dozens of times, there’s going to be shock: ‘Wow, this chef, this famous chef’ — whatever, name your famous chef! — ‘has become interested in hunting,'” Renilla said. ‘ Of course he is. Because he’s interested in food!”
Ranilla isn’t trying to convince animal rights advocates to suddenly become hunters. But what he hopes anyone interested in the show will come away with is the idea that hunters aren’t always the enemy of animal welfare. “I’m talking to my kind; by that, I mean I’m talking to other people, like, outsiders and outsiders,” she said. “I’m also talking to people who are kicking the tires of this world, who are curious about it. They weren’t curious, they wouldn’t be watching.”
“MeatEater” has now become a lifestyle brand – clothing and products for hunting. He has written several best-selling books, including cookbooks. And he also has a top-rated podcast. His brand is based on his singular philosophy: that none of us lives On Earth, we live with This.
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Story by David Rothman. Editor: Emmanuel Cecchi.