Interview: Aaron Carotta

Get Frank had a chance to catch up with Aaron Carotta, an adventurer, traveller, blogger and television personality. Aaron’s latest show Catch & Cook sees Aaron tasked with catching his food, while enlisting the help of well-known New Zealand chefs to turn the catch into a culinary delight.

If you could cook dinner for three people, who would you invite and what would be on the menu?

It would be the ultimate challenge to tap in to my Italian heritage and cook for the three best cooks I know; my grandmother, mom and dad. On the menu is a fresh mozzarella insalata caprese to start, followed by an artichoke and wild turkey risotto topped with leek chips.

If you had to live on one of New Zealand’s offshore islands and survive by "living off the land" which Island would it be and why?

I would live on White Island. It’s amazing and I believe being on White Island must be like being on the moon. It has a plentiful sea and even a bit of bush that you can eat.

What was the biggest challenge you experienced filming the series?

It was definitely diving for crayfish in the Cook Strait. Really strong current with a visibility of less than a meter, popped blood vessels in my eyes, chewing through my tank of gas twice as fast anyone else, led to a very stressful situation…

Can you tell us about your world record attempt?

To take on the ‘longest wind powered journey by land’ record. I will be blokarting my way through the outback. I am really in to looking for alternative resources to generate energy and can’t wait to get out there.

What is the favourite country you have travelled to?

I have different cravings for places on different occasions. If I’m craving culture, it’s the Middle East. If I’m craving a little luxury, [not very often], then it’s Bora Bora. If I feel like nature, it will be New Zealand. Of the 58 countries visited, New Zealand is my overall pick. It has sea, snow topped mountains and great native bush all within three hours of each other.

What is the biggest culture shock you’ve had in your travels?

Casablanca. Ready, Steady Barter! It was just insane. The best thing about culture shock though is when it’s over; you get the epic sensations of appreciating the learning curve and the experience.

We know you’re an excellent chef, and that you have what could be considered to be an insane sense of adventure, but what are three things Get Frank readers may not know about you?

I worked as a magician through high school performing at McDonald’s Kids’ Night. I have a learning disability that prevents me from being able to read or interpret things fully. The first country I was in after being struck by cancer was Costa Rica where I opened a tattoo shop.

Was your childhood filled with adventure?

I had a pretty normal childhood. The adventure for me came after the experience of working through cancer. This changed my life and taught me to live to my maximum potential.

After a busy week on set, how do you relax?

I am actually an introverted person and I learn a lot from watching visual things. I like to just relax with a good glass of Pinot Noir with my puggle dog in front of the TV.

A lot of people aspire to achieve a great work/life balance; what is your advice to them?

It is really important to find something you love doing. My work/life balance is a little foggy because I love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work. The key is to find something you are passionate about and generating an income from that to suit your lifestyle.

Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment?

I am currently shooting my latest show, ‘Bucket Wish’. Bucket Wish takes me around the country surprising young Kiwis who are living with cancer. With the support of CanTeen, I help them fulfil their own bucket list adventures. The opportunity of being able to give young people living with cancer these experiences, for me is so incredibly rewarding.

Who is your favourite Kiwi and why?

I have met a few really inspirational Kiwis, however it would be Sir Peter Leitch, the Mad Butcher. He is incredibly memorable; his story, passion, and unconventional opinions. He’s great!

In a movie about your life, which actor would play you?

Being a quintessential American guy, I have to say Tom Hanks. He’s a great, talented actor and I believe he would understand the dynamic life changing experience I have been through.

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