Andrew Zimmern Dishes on New Season of ‘Bizarre Foods’: ‘We’re Taking a More History-Focused Approach’

Chef Andrew Zimmern at the 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival in New York City.
Chef Andrew Zimmern at the 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival in New York City. Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Andrew Zimmern is always game for an adventure. The Bizarre Food host opens up about the new season of his hit Travel Channel series in an exclusive interview with Us Weekly.

Now in its 12th season, the travel series will embark on what 56-year-old Zimmern called “epicurean exploration to reveal the food and stories behind notable characters, cultures and mythology.” 

“We’re taking a more historical route and history-focused approach,” the host explained to Us. “Taking the Romantic Road in Bavaria, driving the Amalfi Coast, following Napoleon’s route across Poland into Russia is a fascinating underpinning, story wise.”

Zimmern also touched on the preparation that goes into each episode, which includes “casting and nailing down the stories and tethering those food stories to the history and the root.” He added: “Just because I’m in Poland doesn’t mean we can say, ‘Napoleon came through here,’ right?”

“The extra level of finish and those extra little boundaries, I think, make television viewing more interesting,” he continued.“To do something that actually updates the storytelling, I think makes it better. Very naturally, we make this show better every single year.” 

The James Beard award-winning TV personality said his favorite part of filming the series is meeting new and interesting people, and the cuisine comes second.“The food is unimportant to me. And when I say that, what I mean is, obviously, I’m a food guy. I interpret culture through food. I can look at a bowl of soup in another country and tell you the history of the people just by looking at the ingredients and the techniques.” 

The celebrity chef, who has been named official Culinary Ambassador of Super Bowl LII 2018, also pointed out he’s not afraid of running out of places to visit or cultures to explore. “There is an endless supply of foods to be uncovered and new foods and new pieces of culture that have risen to the top,” he affirmed. “I don’t think at anytime in human history have we had as a romantic relationship with food as we do today.Everyone all over the world is completely in love with it.” 

Adding to the fun, the Minnesota native, who revealed his guilty indulgence is gas station pizza “because when it has enough sauce on it, it’s the world’s best food,” has a message for those who are afraid to try new dishes: “If you don’t embrace the spirit of adventure in life, you stunt your own personal growth and you’re missing out on the real adventure of being a part of this planet.”

The new season of Bizarre Foods premieres on The Travel Channel Tuesday, January 23, at 9 p.m. ET. 

With reporting from Marc Lupo 

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