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Andrew Zimmern on SoBe "Horse-Sh*t Restaurants," TV, and Miami's Creative Spirit

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Yesenia Hernandez
Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods America and Appetite for Life.
Andrew Zimmern had been sitting all day.

On a recent wind-lashed afternoon, while his film crew prepped the outdoor set at Wynwood's Blue Starlite Drive-In, Zimmern sipped a Starbucks Frappuccino and yearned to stretch his legs.

Earlier that day, he had taken an airboat ride across the Everglades, hunted for alligators, and eaten the white-fleshed meat skewered on a stick. But that simply wasn't enough for the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods.

So when he finally sat down again, he spoke in bursts of energy -- quoting Malcolm Gladwell, discussing the ethos of the millennial generation, and talking smack about all the "horse-shit restaurants" in South Beach. And though you probably know Zimmern for his intrepid appetite, there's something you might not know: He's a pretty wise guy.

See also: Andrew Zimmern Filming Appetite for Life: DIY Kitchen Around Miami

The writer, celebrity chef, and TV host was in town last week filming Appetite for Life, an online series sponsored by Toyota and broadcast on MSN. We sat down with Zimmern and chatted about his shows, storytelling, and the rise of Miami's dining scene.

Short Order: What do you look for when selecting chefs and cooks for Appetite for Life?
Andrew Zimmern: People distill it down and say it's a long car commercial, but it's actually not. We don't set out to make commercials. I've made plenty of those in my life.

In this round in Miami, we're featuring the Toyota Corolla, which is an entry-level car for young, aspiring professionals -- people who are older millennials that are looking at the world in a different way than my generation looks at it now. When we're looking for stories, we're looking for people who are doing interesting things with their lives.

We did some stuff yesterday with Sam Gorenstein of My Ceviche -- perfect guy, young chef, worked for Laurent Tourondel in New York and here. He could have gone the more traditional route and stockpiled some investors, tried to make a swanky little restaurant down in South Beach, and instead he decided to go back to his own roots and do something that's much, much different. He's about to open his third location. Those are the stories that intrigue us.

You have the ability to showcase local businesses on a national -- at times, international -- level. Do you think this platform comes with some sort of responsibility?
I do with Bizarre Foods, because it's all my say. We have a crew of ten or 12 people, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I've said out loud in many, many interviews that it's shameful that a lot of people who have achieved the success that I have don't use their platform for greater good.

What stories are you trying to tell when you feature Miami on your shows?
When we were down in Miami a few years ago, and we did this thing at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink -- we were telling the story about his fishermen. We ended up bringing some pretty unusual species back to the restaurant. His divers go diving for them and shoot them with a Hawaiian sling.

There was a creative spirit that was alive then -- to show the sort of unbridled passion that people down here have for food. My favorite story was the one with the old Greek sponge divers. Actually, no, my favorite one was dressing up in drag at Lips in Fort Lauderdale and singing. That was great.


Location Info

Map

Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In

3500 Main Highway, Miami, FL

Category: Film


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40 comments
Ernie Torres
Ernie Torres

I hate how all these TV shows that come to Miami end up going to the same damn spots. I'm sick of seeing "El Rey de las Fritas" or "La Camaronera" or w.e. that place is called. There are so many great restaurants that have opened up & haven't been recognized.

Chris Funk
Chris Funk

Isn't this the guy that would eat a cucaracha croqueta? We don't answer to you, gringo!

cat1979
cat1979

He's right. Barton G is an overpriced, gimmicky money grab

Dade DivaCo
Dade DivaCo

oh wow.This comes from a guy who literally eats d*ck. hmmkay

Charles Solano
Charles Solano

Fuck this guy, never liked him to begin with. He's such a racist douchebag on his show! He's no Anthony Bourdain!

Chris Anthony
Chris Anthony

those who say his opinion doesn't matter need to realize one thing, he is not the only one that is saying it... it is not like we manufacturing anything in this state... All of us live on what comes in via TOURIST dollars... so his matters a whole lot more then yours!!!

Jen Die
Jen Die

this is from a guy who literally eat ish tv...hmmm

Eric Vazquez
Eric Vazquez

On point, the best food can be found at the local dives, mom and pop shops that are normally found in the neighborhoods that aren't talk about in travel guides per say, the rest is pure horses shit, especially the over hyped restaurants on the beach, wynwood and the design district, there are some exceptions but you have to know where to look

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

........................i think if YELP can be trusted it is the most informative source of food and beverage operations since it can be immediate and detailed by people who like to try patronizing different places BUT don't want negative surprises (read RIPPED-OFF like tourists) - otherwise guys like this only come and go too INfrequently to keep up with what is happening today and now not four months ago

Gabriel Geronimo Pedraza
Gabriel Geronimo Pedraza

Who cares what this guy or anyone else says about our restaurants? They talk shit about a burrito in California about it not being authentic then they eat the same burrito in Mexico and then it's "Fusion"

Diana Elena Carioca
Diana Elena Carioca

Thing about Miami is that the locals know exactly where the good places are. The places targeting tourists are crap, and I would NEVER DREAM of taking my out-of-town friends there. Even Versailles has gone to seed! Sergio's which is about a mile due south (on historic Coral Way) has significantly better food AND atmosphere!

Igor Nico Massimo Beghetto
Igor Nico Massimo Beghetto

Try #mckitchenmiami food is awesome! Miami food scene is changing. Soul food is the key. Corporate restaurants have no soul. New chef/owners generation care more about freshness,quality and taste. Less fancy food more substance. They care to make your food experience comfortable and tasty spending the right money with a good service. Fancy over price food scene is kinda over finally.

Michael J. Aceti
Michael J. Aceti

Of all the food critics out there, this frauds opinion is meaningless. He'll eat a grub from an African tree but can't stand to put SPAM in his mouth? A joke.

Luisa Erika Patroni
Luisa Erika Patroni

Miami has gotten so much better in the past 5 years! I'm glad to be back!

Danny Diaz
Danny Diaz

He's right about these small little restaurants which offer substance over style. Get out there and discover new places to eat Miami!

CheckpointCharlie73
CheckpointCharlie73

How many horse cocks did he eat? Somebody is killing the horses for their meat. 

Chris Anthony
Chris Anthony

no news there, the food is now as bland and tasteless as their corporate owners... I no longer want to pay for your marble walls and over-trained chief... that is not cooking ;)

Evan Rice
Evan Rice

He would eat horse sh*t if they changed the name. Food scene is getting better here.

Samirv420
Samirv420

How is he a "racist douchebag"? The guy's show is based entirely on respecting different peoples and cultures.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................it's that his opinion and observations can be dated by MONTHs and in that time the snow-bird season is over and gone

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................for out of town visiting GRINGOs i typically send them to LA CARRETA for a general overall hispanic experience and even with the obvious language barrier they feel they get good food at a reasonable price consistently

otherwise i myself trust my hispanic friends to take me to places they frequent for that "mom and pop" type experience (and i find that when someone in my group IS really hispanic we get better treatment as well)

jarnold197621
jarnold197621

Your right except for the locales knowing where to go. Yes, locales know what's in a 5 mile radius around them but outside of that we don't know what's out there. Take someone from Ft Lauderdale that has no clue there is an amazing hole in the wall Columbian restaurant serving super inexpensive charrasco in Miami Lakes. SFL is filled with places like this that anyone outside that 5 mile mark has no clue.

jarnold197621
jarnold197621

You have no clue what your talking about. The man has an amazing palate which has nothing to do with not liking spam versus putting larve in his mouth for TV. I'm quite sure he's tasted spam however I would put spam in the same boat as larve. Wait, I take that back. Larve isn't canned!

DvEinc
DvEinc

@frankd4 this state is all about the tourist, we don't accomplish much of anything else... so if you are not going to cater to them they you need to be living somewhere else... we don't make anything here worth the business!!!! 

DvEinc
DvEinc

@frankd4 @DvEinc The big money is not made in Florida, only fools follow that pipe dream... so unless you are part of the Cocaine cartel you need to be looking north!!!


Snowbirds have the extra money to travel as they wish... it is embarrassing to find people in Broward tell me they are vacation... from Miami???   That is the extent of their travel 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@DvEinc @frankd4 


i totally agree and encouraged my kids to seek employment in the food and beverage and girlie girl salon type business where one can get the best return on investment from full-priced and even premium-priced products and services PAID FOR by money spending TOURISTs and snow-birds from NY 


otherwise i would also add my point on the source of information is those sites frequented and posted on by NYers like ZAGAT and YELP for real time continually updated data instead of stale dated information ZIMMERN which could be seasons old by the time it airs

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