After a long day shooting your show, Bizarre Foods, what is your favorite guilty pleasure to eat? “Cold leftover Chinese food. Nothing else comes close.”
Is there one dish you won’t cook? “No fat, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan crème brûlée…In my world, I call that an apple.”
All-time favorite spice. “Wow, assuming we aren’t talking about herbs and other seasonings, I would have to pick dried chiles. Very versatile and I love heat.”
What is your favorite music to listen to while you cook? “Recently, it’s been lots of Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell, and when it’s raining the collected works of Mozart by the Academy of St. Martin in the Field.”
Did you grow up cooking as a kid? “Yes.”
What cookbook is your go-to resource for inspiration? “Anything by Fuchsia Dunlop. I’m in a heavy Chinese cooking phase.”
The 12th season of Bizarre Foods is about to start airing. After all these years hosting the show and working in restaurants, do you still enjoy going out to eat? “It’s one of my favorite ways to connect with people and have a fun few hours eating. I love restaurant people.”
Is there one chef you’d like to cook with? “Marie-Antoine Carême, because I would love to show him where we are today and see his reaction. Pierre Gagnaire because I got to cook with him once and it was the thrill of a lifetime talking about the moment-to-moment decision making process as a cook…and I guess I’m still reeling from Tony [Bourdain’s] death. I want to make breakfast with him and tell him all the things I wish I had the time to but sadly never did.”
Name the all-time best cooking show. “Strictly cooking, I would have to say the Best Chefs of series. Food-focused and tight, inspirational and varied.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “I always bring a knife, hot dried chiles, and an electric kettle for making instant noodle bowls.”
Andrew Zimmern is the James Beard Award-winning host of Travel Channel’s hit show, Bizarre Foods. The premier of the new season begins airing on Tuesday, July 3rd.
Interview has been condensed and edited.