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Celebrity Grub Features

Andrew Zimmern Talks About His New Show, Bugs, And The Best Fried Chicken In America

Andrew Zimmern’s passport is probably filled with more stamps than my local post office. The chef, author, and television personality is best known for his culinary exploits where he travels the world eating through various types of cuisines and dishes so that viewers can live vicariously through his appetite for adventure.

Zimmern fans can now catch him on Travel Channel’s newest series, The Zimmern List. The new series is sort of an All-Star anthology of restaurants, featuring Zimmern’s travels to iconic spots to try some of the best dishes in the world.

So what sets The Zimmern List apart from all the food shows Zimmern has starred in before? We spoke to the travel host to get some insight to his newest show.

The Zimmern List

Zimmern said that he wanted to stray away from the typical filming style of the food genre and create a show that’s more modern and different. To do that, he used very little voiceover in his show, a lot more natural sounds, as well as unique cameras and lenses to create a more intimate viewing experience.

The result, he describes, is his most personal show yet. It will also be the first show made by his production company Intuitive Content for which Zimmern himself is the Chief Executive Officer.

Photo: Travel Channel

So what is something one would ask the man who has traveled practically everywhere and tried so many foods? Personally, I’ve always been wondering if there were any cuisines in the United States that were either underrated or unappreciated, stuff I need to know about in my very own back yard.

Underrated American cuisine

“Tourists tend to come to America and they want to eat in the fancy restaurants that some of our big cities are famous for,” Zimmern says. “They want to eat the regional cuisines that we are famous for — great BBQ in the Southeast, lobster in Maine, oysters and shellfish in the Pacific  Northwest — and they should. Those foods are the things they couldn’t really get at home.”

“When I go to France or China or Bolivia, that’s what I do,” he explains. “I don’t want to eat at a Chinese restaurant at a city in Bolivia or France or Italy. I want to eat Chinese food in China when I’m traveling there. I’m not there for that long, I want to eat what that country does best.”

So what does he recommend to tourists visiting the U.S.?

“There are some micro-regional specialties that I would love food tourists to embrace more. The biggest one that comes to mind is the Appalachian foods that run along the Appalachian corridors starting in the Virginias and running south with really, really special food that not only is historically important but really offers a glimpse back in time that I think food lovers won’t get very often. And now, so many chefs along that corridor are cooking dishes out of that Appalachian playbook that allow people to really dig into to very unique food.”

Zimmern says whether it’s Vivian Howard’s restaurant in North Carolina, Travis Milton’s restaurant, or just cruising though West Virginia diners to taste some of that regional food, he thinks people should check out Appalachian foods.

Eating bugs in the U.S.

Zimmern’s probably well known for his unflinching attitude towards the world’s different cuisines, especially bugs. So how did he feel about insect culture in America? Living across the border from Central America we hear about some creative ways insects are prepared, but even here in California there aren’t too many bug options at the thousands of taquerias and Latin American restaurants around us.

“I think it’s shameful, we pay a lot of lip service to it, I’d like to see chefs begin to embrace it more,” he said.

“I’m sure there are Mexican restaurants in America who are doing a tlayuda on a tostada with Chapulines that I would probably eat and say ‘Wow that is a great dish with bugs in it’ So I’m sure they’re out there, I just haven’t encountered one yet.”

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Zimmern then dropped an analogy that opened this old writer to the experience of eating bugs…a feat not to be taken lightly.

Bugs to me, are like pork chops. Most cooks don’t cook them right and they end up tasting like shit… and that’s unfortunate and then people say “Ohh I don’t like pork.” But that’s because it’s over done in some commodity products, or that it’s old. And so I say the same is true of bugs.

Where’s the best fried chicken in America?

Finally, because my fried chicken-loving self could not resist learning of new institutions that craft the golden brown fowl of the gods, I had to ask what his favorite fried chicken spots where in the United States.

Aside from the obvious answers one can easily Google, Zimmern decided to name two restaurants that he thinks are very special.

“The first is Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach,” he said. “Everyone orders the stone crab. The fried chicken, If I remember correctly, they used to be an off-the-menu item and then it became popular enough to put it on the menu. They make some of the best fried chicken that there is.”

Another fried chicken spot, he recommends, is a restaurant in Minneapolis called Revival.

“They make some of the best chicken in America.”

Listening to Zimmern talk about all the amazing foods we can find here in the U.S. makes me want to hop into a car and travel across the country. Just seeing the amazing Los Angeles dishes Zimmern feasts on makes me feel like I haven’t even cracked the surface of Southern California cuisine, and that’s why shows like the Zimmern List always remind us to keep exploring, even in our own backyards.

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Celebrity Grub Now Trending

Justin Timberlake Served Bugs at His ‘Man Of The Woods’ Album Listening Party

Many guests were grossed out when Justin Timberlake served bugs as part of the menu for the listening party of his new album, Man Of The Woods.

The menu, which was put together by acclaimed chef Rene Redzepi of Noma, featured two insect dishes: ants served with black garlic and rose oil, and aebleskivers (Danish pancake spheres) served with grasshoppers.

Redzepi is no stranger to cooking these critters, with dishes and even a food lab dedicated to showcasing the deliciousness of bugs. If there’s one guy you want to cook insects for you, this is THE guy.

Unfortunately, not many people who attended the party felt that type of way when it came to consuming ants and grasshoppers. Variety reports that many people at the party were “taken aback” when offered the insect hors d’oeuvres, some of whom posted their thoughts on social media.

When you go to a @justintimberlake @americanexpress #amexplatinum #amexmusic album party and it just happens to be catered by @nomacph. This is literally the best thing that has ever happened to you in your life. EVER. like winning the lottery. So you have no choice but to eat 6 uni and kelp pies and an equal volume by of black truffle flatbread because the minions filling the room are there to mingle with celebrities like a kid from Stranger Things and Shoshi, drink cheap prosecco and don’t eat 🐜. #mylifeiscomplete #worlds50best #oadtop100 #foodgawker #foodspotting #nyceats #eatnyc #traveleatnyc #nycfood #seriouseats #infatuationnyc #eatingnyc #eatingnewyork #timeoutnewyork #grubstreet #lefooding #gastronogram #gastropost #foodandwine #cntravelereats #buzzfeedfood #eater #spoonfeed #saveur #gourmande

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Bugs are one of the growing fields in the food world, though, as more people search for protein alternatives to meat. While not everyone is quite down yet with eating them, if more celebs like Timberlake advocate for eating the critters, folks may be more receptive to consuming them in the future. Who knows?

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Culture Design

The Essential Guide To Eating Insects [Infographic]

Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is prevalent in many cultures around the world. To be honest, some societies actually make bugs look pretty damn tasty. Sure, it’s not as common in Western culture, but folks have been doing it for tens of thousands of years. There might be something delicious behind this tradition.

An infographic created by Western Exterminator is basically the essential guide to eating insects. The guide highlights the green benefits of eating insects (their vital role in waste biodegradation), the health benefits of eating insects (rich in vitamins and protein), and even throws in a few different recipes (pizza, cookies, and smoothies) to try with this unconventional form of protein.

If you’ve ever been curious about popping a creepy crawler in your mouth on occasion, definitely check out this infographic below.


Eating Insects: A Practical Guide

Produced by Western Exterminator

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Health Hit-Or-Miss News

Bakery Fires Head Baker After He Refused To Use Bug-Infested Flour

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An artisan bakery in Queens fired their head baker for doing what universally anyone else would deem noble. The employee refused to make dough from flour that he discovered had contained bugs, according to a lawsuit.

Stefan Fischer, a baker with 30 years experience, was immediately terminated after he spoke up about the insects found in the Bakery of New York’s flour silo.

Fischer had sent his employer a photograph showing insects in the flour with the intent of throwing the 3000-pounds of infested flour out, along with suggesting that the Long Island City-based silo be professionally cleaned.

The baker was told to use the tainted ingredient, even with the bugs apparent, for “multigrain” dough since the insects could be concealed in crunchy bread. When Fischer refused, he was let go from his duties at the bakery.

Fischer’s suit also says he witnessed other health violations during his time working for the bakery including dirt on the floors, uncovered trash containers, and open dairy containers.

The NY Post reached out to Fischer’s lawyer who declined to comment on whether the tainted flour was ever used.

Think we’re gonna steer clear of the bakery anyways, just to be safe. We don’t need the extra protein THAT badly.

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Fast Food Health

Subway Employee Caught Zapping Bugs Around Sandwich-Making Station [WATCH]

If you weren’t sketched out by Subway before, this video posted by Justin Clemons will probably do the trick, as an employee at an Indiana store location was filmed calmly using a bug zapper to kill gnats that were floating above the food.

The store was shut down by the Johnson County Health Department, not because it’s bad to zap bugs, but because they did it while the food was out in the open. Still pretty gross, regardless of how you paint it.

I don’t know if this is a recurring issue at Subway, but after seeing the video, I couldn’t help but recall a time that I personally walked out of a local store after seeing flies chillin’ over the meat and veggies behind the counter. I could honestly go the rest of my life without a shitty Subway sandwich, anyway.

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Hit-Or-Miss

The Ultimate Guide To The Perfect Picnic

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Picnics can be a fun afternoon at the park, but the preparation can sometimes be such a hassle. You have to make sure you pack all the right things, all your food is perfectly stored so they don’t spill and ruin your entire trip and how to keep those bugs away.

Luckily, the folks at Swissotel Hotels & Resorts came up with this brilliant infographic showcasing picnic hacks to make your walk in the park at…walk in the park.

You’ll be able to know what items to pack and how to pack them, how to keep bugs away, where to put sauces and even how to build a miniature barbecue.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Kickstarter For CRICKET-Based Cocktail Bitters Now Fully Funded

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The right choice in bitters can make or break a cocktail. While not a critical component, bitters are used to add another level of flavor to your drinks. Most bitters are made from seeds, bark, herbs, roots or flowers. Critter Bitters, however, is made from something with a little more of a kick.

As you can guess from the name, Critter Bitters is most definitely made from insects. Crickets, to be exact. The crickets are toasted to create a sweet and nutty note to your drinks.

Insects are said to be a great source of protein that only needs a fraction of the water, land and food it takes to maintain livestock. The creators of the buggy product believe it’s a viable solution for preventing food shortage.

As of publication, the Kickstarter page has raised $22,165 of it’s $21,000 goal with six days still remaining. Guess folks are more than excited to spice up their drinks with cricket juice.

Since the goal has been reached, you can expect to find Critter Bitters available for purchase by next year.

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Restaurants

Customers Find Insects In EVERY DISH At This Restaurant, So Why Aren’t They Mad?

There’s a step-by-step process we all use more or less when it comes to discarding an intrusive insect in our homes: see a spider, kill it, flush it down the toilet, douse the house in gasoline, light a match then turn around and never stop sprinting while you convince yourself that there is such thing as “bravely running away.”

Well, the days of throwing bugs away and disposing of them through arson are over. A new restaurant is opening up in the United Kingdom called Grub Kitchen and the main ingredient in the dishes is exactly what you think it is: insects.

Dr. Sarah Beynon, world-renowned entomologist and owner/director of Dr. Beynon’s Bug Farm, has teamed up with head chef Andy Holcroft to create a restaurant that specializes in popular dishes with an insect twist.

Praying mantis? More like “sautéing” mantis! Zing!

One of the more popular items on the menu is the Signature Grub bug burger, which comes with a sourdough and cricket bun along with giving you the option to put more insects on the burger itself. Assuming, of course, that you’re ok with being known as the “bug-eater” in your circle of friends. Also assuming you have any friends left after you began eating insects like it ain’t no thang.

Dr. Beynon explains that the reason she and Chef Holcroft decided to create a restaurant that specializes in serving bugs is twofold. Firstly, because the insects that are safe to eat are packed to the brim with protein and cost much less to feed, maintain and raise on a farm than regular farm animals. Second, turning this delicacy from a “novelty to normalcy” could help solve world hunger on a massive scale.

While people have been practicing “entomophagy” (the practice of eating insects) for thousands of years, the lifestyle isn’t that close to becoming standard in westernized countries, namely the good ol’ US of A and Europe. With the opening of Grub Kitchen in St. David’s, Pembrokeshire, Dr. Beynon and Chef Holcroft hope to change that and bring our world one step closer to solving world hunger.

And hey, if real worms are anything like gummy worms…screw it, I’m game.

Image Source: Oh My Disney, Instagram