Andrew Zimmern Won Us Over and Adam Richman Tried Too Hard at Scottsdale Culinary Fest Celeb Shows

If getting out of the sun and away from the delirious drunks yesterday at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival wasn't enough motivation for you to fork out $30 to see Travel Channel personalities Andrew Zimmern of Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Adam Richmanof Man vs. Food, you weren't alone.

But for those of us who did sit through two hour-ish long shows, it was a unique opportunity to get pretty close and rather (maybe too) personal with these two guys.

And while I had previously written off Mr. Zimmern for his completely silly and unmerited overreaction to Spam musubi (which is DELICOUS if you've never had it) on the Bizzare Foods America episode filmed in Hawaii, he completely won me over again. As for Richman...well, I'll save that for later.

The first show kicked off just after 1 pm in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Zimmern talked about traveling abroad as a young boy and explained how his non-traditional upbringing vis a vis food set the foundation for his eat-anything attitude.

"Either I was right," said Zimmern, "Or these millions of people I saw in China eating this strange mollusk were wrong."

Although I am an avid Travel Channel viewer, I was surprised when Zimmern mentioned he's been completely sober for over 20 years after struggling in the past with both drug problems and alcoholism. One attendee asked if he missed wine to which he replied, "People only drink wine to get drunk," adding, "I don't really believe that, but it's fun I get to say things like that now."

And to keep things moving, here are four more nuggets from the show:

1. Before coming up with the name "Bizzare Foods," Zimmern wanted to call the show "Chew On This" or "The Wandering Spoon." Yikes.

2. Zimmern hates walnuts. When asked by a young fan about the reason behind his aversion, he replied: "Because they're disgusting!"

3. While in town, Zimmern dined at Chris Bianco's Italian Restaurant with friend Claudio Uricuoli, formerly of Prado at the Montelucia, and found the "humble Italian" cuisine up to par.

4. For the demo, Zimmern prepared duck testicles and octopus in and effort to encourage the public to explore alternative proteins. During this segment, Adam Richman made a short boxer-clad appearance, joking about the source of the testicles....

After the show, Zimmern stayed for a half hour of Q&A and even posed for photos with fans. Overall, a family-friendly, educational and entertaining experience.

At 3 pm, the theater filled (Ok, like, half filled) again for Mr. Richman.


Aside from due to the over-the-top theatrics, inappropriate language, and general douchiness - the show was still underwhelming. Richman, a Yale graduate and Brooklyn native, focused on the idea of "food as a universal language," touching on food anthropology and making way too many efforts to make the audience laugh.

Richman, who was wearing jeans and boots and purely decorative suspenders, entered the stage with blaring music - somewhat of a theme to his performance - before commencing to curse despite the clearly visible young children in the first row. "Ooops, earmuffs!" he joked the first time.

But anyway, here are the "highlights."

1.Two words: Baby. Photos. Yup, we got to see some awesome baby pics and even one from high school graduation in which Richman was rocking some pretty crazy hair.

2. A snippet of "culinary anthro" - yeah, he actually called it "anthro" - detailing the history of the bagel from conception to its current standing in modern day breakfast food history.

3. His attempt to make a British inspired brunch combining Bubbles and Squeak and Toad in a Hole, which failed because he had clearly not prepared and was unable to allow the veggie pancake enough time to set.

4.This quote, encouraging all people to make food their own and become a part of culinary history: "The moment something that simple becomes a thing of the elite and the erudite...we're all screwed."

Safe to say, Adam Richman won't ever become a thing of the elite and erudite, not if yesterday was any indication.

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