A three-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher, Andrew Zimmern (andrewzimmern.com) is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the culinary world. As the creator, executive producer and host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World and the latest Bizarre Foods America, Andrew has explored cultures in more than 63 countries, shining the spotlight on impactful ways to think about, create and live with food. New episodes from the seventh season of Bizarre Foods premiered in July 2013. Andrew also rolled into new culinary territory with the launch of AZ Canteen, an Andrew Zimmern Food Truck in the fall of 2012. Inspired by visits to countless street stalls and food trucks around the world, the fare at AZ Canteen reflects the perfect intersection of food and travel with menu items like Cabrito Sausage and Crispy Pork Belly.
Accomplished both on and off the air, Zimmern has won three prestigious James Beard Awards for "Outstanding Food Personality" (2010), “Best TV program on location” (2012), and “Outstanding Personality/Host” (2013). He has also been awarded with an Effie for his MSN.com Web series Toyota's Appetite for Life (www.appetiteforlife.msn.com). Most recently, he has been awarded with the CableFAX Award for "Best Show or Series: Food on Location" (2013). In 1997, Andrew founded the Minneapolis-based, multi-media production company, Food Works, a full-service operation that develops and manages content, as well as oversees production and distribution for all of Andrew’s media endeavors. Andrew and Food Works are Executive Producers on Bizarre Foods America on Travel Channel, Appetite For Life on MSN and his latest launches: a weekly podcast titled Go Fork Yourself with Andrew Zimmern and Molly Mogren and Delta Dish, the team’s latest webisode offering for Delta Airlines.
An award-winning columnist at Minneapolis-Saint Paul Magazine, Zimmern is also a contributing editor at Food & Wine magazine and senior editor at Delta’s Sky magazine. His experiences tasting iconic dishes from every hemisphere has inspired his latest book designed for young adults, Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater's Digest (Feiwel & Friends), a pop culture-influenced look at funny, fantastic-and yes, occasionally bizarre-ingredients.
A Taste of the Good—and Bad— Life
Thanks to his parents who had him traveling around the world mouth first, Andrew knew from the age of six he wanted a career in the culinary arts. As a teenager, while his peers were picking up part-time summer gigs at the local landscape company, Andrew was spending days at the beach and nights cooking in Long Island restaurants. After attending The Dalton School and then Vassar College, Andrew was on the fast track to success in the food industry, but he was also over-indulging in the party lifestyle prevalent in many high-pressure New York kitchens.
A year spent living on the streets in his early 30s led to an intervention by close friends, who brought him to the renowned Hazelden center in Minnesota. Transforming his life with sobriety, Andrew landed a gig washing dishes and bussing tables at the Minneapolis outpost of New York's Café, un deux trois restaurant. When a line cook fortuitously didn't show up for his shift, Andrew took over his station, and in seven weeks was named Executive Chef, evolving un deux trois into one of America's first successful gastro-bistros during his six year tenure.
Andrew's revamped menu of French dishes with an Indo-Chinese twist drew the attention of local media, who found him a natural in front of the camera. Successful appearances on local shows like Rebecca's Garden and TIPical Mary Ellen gave him the life-changing idea of creating a tri-fold media empire. With a goal of accruing the maximum number of "eyeballs, ears and listeners," he quit his job to work for free for a local glossy monthly magazine, TV and radio station. A natural fit for Travel Channel, he created a test pilot for what ultimately became Bizarre Foods, and a new media star was born.
An Adventurous Palate
While viewers might know Andrew as the guy who isn't afraid to eat (almost) anything, Bizarre Foods was created as a showcase for exploring a myriad of cultures around the world using food as a lens. Blending a fascination of traditions like Tokyo's hyper-masculine getemono bars with his own desire to take culinary conversations to another level, his "chef brain" collected the most flavor experiences possible as he illuminated hidden corners of our world. Viewers were drawn in by the wild ingredients and exotic destinations, but they stayed for the compelling stories of humanity Andrew found along the way. Bizarre Foods also helped transform menus and food styles across the country, changing our consumer landscape and helping to create a national atmosphere of adventurous eating. Restaurants like Husk in South Carolina and Animal in Los Angeles offer dishes with ingredients that were rarely found just a few short years ago.
The success of his Travel Channel series and Andrew's background as a journalist led him seamlessly into the world of publishing. Giving a behind-the-scenes look at the cultures and lifestyles he found in his favorite destinations, The Bizarre Truth (Broadway, 2009), inspired readers to travel, explore and eat the unconventional. Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs and Blood Sausage (Delacorte, 2011) gave younger fans a backstage look at his culinary adventures. The latest magazine-inspired release, Andrew Zimmern's Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater's Digest (which Andrew describes as a "bizarre food yearbook"), appeals to uncommon food lovers of every age (Feiwel & Friends, 2012).
When he's not sampling unusual dishes at home and abroad, Andrew offers the latest insights on food issues and problems to the students and faculty of The Lewis Institute for Social Innovation at Babson College, a learning laboratory for the real-world problems facing business and society. He sits on the board of both Services for the Underserved and the National Youth Recovery Foundation, and is an honorary board member and Advisor to the Alliance for Coffee Excellence. In his rare downtime, he relaxes in Minneapolis, Minn. with his wife Rishia and son Noah, reading, cooking, playing electric guitar and traveling to Disney World as often as possible.