Mar 20, 2024 - News

Exclusive Q&A with "Bizarre Foods" chef Andrew Zimmern

Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern

Chef Andrew Zimmern in his natural habitat. Photo: Courtesy of the Harry Walker Agency

Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern understands few people crave politics nowadays, but many won't refuse a good roast pork sandwich.

Why it matters: Zimmern, the award-winning host of "Bizarre Foods," is using cuisine as a table-setter for deeper conversations about less palatable topics, such as immigration reform and social justice.

Axios exclusively interviewed Zimmern, whom the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia invited to speak about those issues tonight at the Suzanne Roberts Theater.

  • Zimmern discussed Philadelphia's red-hot dining scene, his favorite spot to get a cheesesteak, and the most memorable foods he's tried worldwide. This interview was condensed for clarity.

On why chefs can drive change: "When we were in kitchens, we came face to face every single day with our farming crisis in America, with our immigration crisis in America, with our healthcare crisis in America."

On his favorite cheesesteak spot: "John's Roast Pork makes the best cheesesteak in town.

On whether he's wit or without: "I'm very pro wit. There's no doubt about it. I just happen to like the salty tang of aged provolone in there as well."

On Philly's top restaurants: "Kalaya, Suraya, Zahav, Vernick Fish. I'm dying to go to My Loup. … I can't mention Philly without talking about South Philly Barbacoa."

On the most bizarre Philly offering: "Easy. That chocolate-covered onion. That was very hard to choke down."

On Philly's food ethos: "Philadelphia has always been a little more rough and tumble, a little more blue-collar. The food of tough people is the sandwich. … It's a grip-it-and-rip-it food city. That's what I love most about it."

On his favorite hoagie: "A traditional Italian hoagie."

On a delicacy that he's tried but wouldn't try again: "I had these coconut palm grubs. It's one of the most awful-looking things in the world."

  • Zimmern tried them again in Peru and loved them: "The lesson is: It's more about who's doing the cooking."

If you go: The event is from 5-7:15pm. Tickets: $50.


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