Everyone Eats: How Food Brings People Together

Andrew Zimmern: The Epicurean Anthropologist

A James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher, Andrew Zimmern is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the culinary world. The creator, executive producer and host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World and the new Bizarre Foods America, Andrew explores cultures in more than 63 countries as he shines the spotlight on impactful ways to think about, create and live with food.

What gave you the inspiration to travel around the world looking for bizarre foods?

I think at the very root of it … I’ve been a food professional since I was 14 or 15 years old. Food is always more interesting with a story. The best place to find those is by talking with people. Food is the perfect microscope with which to view a culture. I can learn more sitting around the table in Spain than visiting a museum.

What’s your favorite travel destination and why?

Botswana. Best people. Best countryside. Best food. Best everything.

What inspired you to be a chef and then take it to television and books?

It was a premeditated reason for reaching the most people; on many levels we’re going to hell in a handbasket. In a world where we’re identified by our differences, I wanted to connect us with our similarities, which is food.

What gives you a sense of purpose?

My family. If I didn’t have my family, all of this would be worthless.

Do you have any daily rituals?

Oh gosh. I spend my first 15 minutes getting spiritually centered. I like to start the day on the right foot. The TV business is full of people who have big egos and no self-esteem.

What is your favorite recipe?

What I’m craving is gazpacho and cold cucumber yogurt soup. I love having cold soup in the refrigerator.

What is your most effective strategy for managing stress?

I don’t drink or smoke, and I try to do things every day for other people. Stress comes from trying to pull things under your ledger. To counter serenity to life’s calamity you need to be centered. Service work keeps growing and is fantastic.

What do you think is the secret to longevity?

I had a shaman in Botswana say it is to love other people, and he seemed pretty happy. Living a life that’s based on living and loving the people around you.

If you could give one piece of advice to people, what would it be?

Stick to your principles … that may mean you have to come up with some.


See Andrew in his element on the sixth season of Bizarre Foods this July and look for his latest book, Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater’s Digest published Feiwel & Friends, October 30, 2012.

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