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Filming with Andrew Zimmern for "Bizarre Foods America"

Filming with Andrew Zimmern for "Bizarre Foods America"

I just finished two days of filming with Andrew Zimmern. His show, Bizarre Foods America visits cities across the country and explores the rich food culture and stories that our country is full of. When they contacted me and asked if I would like to be part of their San Diego story, I was thrilled (and a bit nervous).

Many years ago, I had drinks with Michael Symon (before his TV career) and Jacques Pepin at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Jacques told us that you’re either a natural on TV or you’re not, and if you’re not it doesn’t matter how hard you work at it, it will always look forced. Over the years I have realized the accuracy of that statement.

Andrew is one of those people that are just a natural for TV. The way they film this show is amazing. His crew is super tight and really great at what they do; they are flexible and able to change direction quickly because the show is filmed at a very natural pace. There is no pre-coaching…it’s just “hey whatcha doing?” and the conversation grows from there—whatever the activity is that you’re doing, you just keep doing it in the most natural way. This way of filming and Andrew’s quick wit, intensely deep food knowledge and his understanding of human nature make the story move. It almost feels like you're just hanging out with him, talking about food. I believe that’s the key to the popularity of his shows, which are the highest rated on Travel Channel, moreso than the weird stuff he sometimes eats.

I will say that I am very rarely excited to watch myself on TV. This time, I am really looking forward to it. We spent a day at the beach and did some cooking at the restaurant…it was a ton of fun. I learned some great stuff and made some new friends, including Chris Ahrens, a neighbor, surf journalist, author and forager who turned me on to some amazing things growing right down the street. Bizarre Foods explores San Diego in a way that few others have. I promise that you will learn something about San Diego you did not know before by watching the show. And if you don’t live here yourself already, you will definitely want to come visit. Check out a clip from the taping below.