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In Hawaii, Eduardo Garcia is joined by his landscape “interpreters” and pros each in their own right, Shane Dorian and Mark Healey. Here they show Eduardo Garcia how to traverse the terrain in pursuit of Axis deer, then head to the water to override the body’s over-protective instinct to breathe while spear fishing. What results is one very hard-earned meal. Thumbnail photo by Todd Glaser

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Transcript

- [Eduardo] My name is Eduardo Garcia. I'm a professional chef, avid hunter, fisherman, and wild foods forager. A few years ago, I nearly lost my life doing what I love. Since then, I've doubled down on my mission to make food an integral part of every adventure. ♪ Lands to perceive ♪ - [Eduardo] This is my Hungry Life. ♪ A mountain of worth ♪ - [Eduardo] As we're coming down this road, you know, I have to get out and just get some feet on the ground. This is where we plan to hunt and where we plan to fish and I know nothing about it. The dirt is ochre red, it's super, super dry and dusty. It's like nothing I've ever felt before. The wind was whipping. That smell of the ocean, nothing smells like it. It's quite clear that I am not in my comfort zone here. When you go somewhere new, you need an interpreter and both of these guys were born in the Hawaiian islands and they know this place like the back of their hands. I've watched these guys surf and I've watched them fish, I've watched them hunt. I've got to make that connection, you know? We all share a common passion for bow hunting. And then, we definitely share a common connection with food. Eating and harvesting. Healey does it from the water and Dorian, he fishes too, but he does a lot of bow harvesting. - I think one of the really cool things about Hawaii in general most of the hunting here is sustenance hunting. People are hunting for meat. They're looking to fill their coolers, fill their freezers, and share with their family, you know? It's 365 days a year, you can go hunting here. - I was out of my element completely on morning number one, you know? It was immediately out of the truck, go. We were crawling and getting super, super low. I had forgot about the red dirt. I had forgot about the white spots on the deer. - [Shane] A huge part of the reason I keep coming back to Lānaʻi is Alek and Jason, they're just the best of the best, man. Everything I've learned about deer hunting is from those guys. Most of the guys that I've come here to hunt with, they're always looking for big bucks. It was super refreshing to meet Eduardo cause he was just like, "Man, I'm gonna try "and kill the first deer I see. "I'm here to get meat, I'm a meat hunter. "I wanna, like, be able to cook something really rad, "so whatever's the best eating deer "is the one I'm going to try and get." - [Eduardo] All I knew is, my meals for the next 365 was 100 yards out and I was closing the gap. Do you have a favorite cut? - Oh, I like the backstrap. - The backstrap. The color of this meat is so beautiful, man. - Congrats, man! - Thank you. - Well how is it? - So good! - I snuck up to 15 yards, he was bedded, I thought he was gonna get up, but he didn't, so I drew back and kinda walked up a little bit more, and it was a really good shot. Axis deer is the best, it really is. It's super easy to prepare in a lot of different ways, the meat's super mild. That's the goods right there, though. - That's beautiful. - It almost has a sweetness to it. Look at that. That color, Shane. - [Shane] Yeah, right? - [Eduardo] Nice shooting, man. - [Shane] I think the big difference is, like, the variety of what they're eating, you know? They have a lot of different grasses, they literally eat fruit here, I've seen them eating these guavas. - All the ones that the deer can't reach on their hind legs. - [Eduardo] Are they getting on their hind legs? - Oh, yeah! - They eat outta the trees, they love it. - [Eduardo] Are they supposed to be soft? - [Shane] Yeah, just lightly soft, there's a fine line between perfectly ripe and overripe, you know? - On the mainland, when you're foraging and picking, they say that you should only grab 20% of what you find. Leave enough for the animals and leave enough for natural propagation. I don't think you guys have to worry about that here. - I think it's a non-issue. - [Eduardo] At the moment, we've picked some guavas, we've harvested a couple axis deer. Tomorrow, heading out with Healey and I'm a little nervous about just jumping in the water and just seeing how my lungs are gonna do. But it'll all be good and I'm there to experience it, you know, even if I'm starfishing and floating on top, while Healey's down doing the deep stuff and coming up with food. - [Mike] It's interesting the way the world views Hawaii. It's one of those very, kind of, like, stereotypical views, as you would get at any place like this, I'd imagine. You know, Diamondhead hotels, sun burnt tourists, but as soon as you get off of Oʻahu, it gets rural really fast. - It's like being born, man. - That urge to breathe is a diaphragmatic reflex, that reflex doesn't mean you actually need oxygen yet. So it's like, figuring out and learning what alarm bells are true and which ones are just, like, overprotective parent alerts. - [Eduardo] I didn't know my Dad till I was 13. I had only heard stories of this super radical free-diver, 5th generation shark/lobster/conch fisherman. You know, like, folkloric heirloom stories about how him and the fishing family in Mexico grew up. Every time I get near the water, not only do I connect with the 10 years that I spent on the water fishing and diving and sort of the connection I made in my twenties with the ocean, but every time, it brings me closer to the man that, you know, is my Dad. - Heading over! - [Eduardo] The underwater world is so much more lethal, we just can't exist there, and yet, guys like Mark and my Dad, have honed a far more radical sense of hunting. You know, you can't bring your camelback down there and hydrate or your Cliff bar. You've got you and your solid lungs and your head. That's about as pure as it gets. - Ed got in the water and like, he just made it work. Like, as soon as he got in the water, I seen him with a 3-prong and I was like how will you load one of those, cause you grab one end, grab, and pull it up like that. And he's in there and got it in a headlock and everything and he got that thing cocked and he was shooting at fish. It was super impressive. - [Eduardo] We cracked a couple cold ones, and we're gonna create a rippin' bed of coals and fire, and experiment, and play with food. - [Mike] So I figure I can just filet the one half off that's clean on the uku - [Eduardo] Yeah - [Mike] And you're saying let's ceviche the rough side? - [Eduardo] I think so. Look at the color of that. - [Shane] I don't think I've ever seen anything at a butcher shop that looks that fresh. - [Eduardo] Nice work, man. Good harvest. - [Shane] Thanks. - [Eduardo] Orange peel, clove, all spice, and organic cane sugar. Here, Shane, do you wanna wrap that? I got a whole stack of these tea leaves. - [Shane] Like this? - [Eduardo] Yeah. Gonna drop this puppy in, put it to bed. Some of the hunting guides, Jay and Alek, they're going to come by the beach with their family. Um, let's roast them whole and then we'll just crush 'em. Yeah, I've got a bulgogi backstrap, we're gonna grill that and then we got the little tenderloins, and I wanna mix that up with some of the spicy pepper and see how it tastes like a tartare, just raw. One more. Boom. Shane that looks great, man! So grateful, so grateful. All I've ever been is just a curious, curious, curious kid, you know? The reason I'm still curious is cause I can't but be grateful every day that I'm breathing this in. Just experience life, be alive. I could fill it in with go bow hunt, go spearfish, but ultimately, it's a gratitude for life. All of this is a bonus, every day moving forward for the rest of my life is a bonus.

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