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Preview: Travel Channel’s Feed the Beast

From Travel Channel, the network that has brought us some cool food shows the last few years such as the Adam Richman Man vs. Food franchise, and various Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain shows, comes a hip new gluttonous guilty pleasure–Feed the Beast, hosted by Mikey Roe. The show premieres on Wednesday, March 6 with two 30-minute episodes back to back at 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm ET/PT, with the San Francisco and Austin episodes first in line.

The premise of the show is that Roe is a creature of late night, and appreciates everything that the midnight to sun-up time frame has to offer–from night life, to parties, to–you guessed it–food. And, just like night life in general, the craziest combinations and food offerings are also abundant after midnight. Roe is someone who really appreciates these foods too, and he also appreciates the atmosphere, activities and the alcohol that goes along with that food. He also knows where to go, and as a hybrid of, say, Richman and Guy Fieri, Roe knows how to make you want to try some of this crazy food right along with him. In fact, after watching the screeners on Sunday, my wife and I cooked up some Mexican breakfast for dinner.

You won’t believe some of the things Roe gets to eat, and it’s remarkable that he samples all of the crazy combinations of foods–for example, deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich followed by a jackalope sausage and bacon bloody mary. I don’t know if these were literally filmed in one night, or if there was much editing to be done, but if it’s all in one night, I’m seriously impressed by how much of an iron stomach Roe has.

Fans of some of the above mentioned shows are going to love Feed the Beast, and are going to love watching Mikey Roe take us to these crazy places. I just know it.

Jenny’s chalkboard: Mexican breakfast for dinner

With an assist from food TV–including a new show on Travel Channel called Feed the Beast, which I’ll be previewing before it premieres on Wednesday; and then an hour of Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins & Dives yesterday, and after my wife (i.e. Jenny) and I both had this sluggish, head-achy thing going on, we decided we needed to eat something fatty and greasy. We were not hung over, but that’s what it felt like, and we needed a Sunday morning hangover remedy on Sunday evening. Those shows made me crave eggs and fat and salt, and when I saw we had chorizo in the fridge, I knew what had to be done–we had to make Mexican breakfast for dinner. Jenny agreed and put that on her chalkboard.

So what you’re seeing in the photo and that went happily into our bellies last night is this…..first, I took a leftover baked potato and cut that up, and stir fried it in a bit of canola oil. Meanwhile, as the potato was cooking, I took a link of chorizo (by link I mean it was maybe a foot long), removed the meat from the “fake” casing, and fried that up in a pan for about 10 minutes until it was cooked through and crispy, draining on paper towels. I wiped out the pan, and fried four eggs in it. Jenny shredded some cheddar cheese (full fat kickass Wisconsin cheddar), and I cubed an avocado while the eggs were cooking. I also opened up a can of refried black beans, and chopped some cilantro. As the eggs were set, it was time to assemble this creation in a big bowl–

First, the potatoes, which were nice and crispy. Then a dollop of refried beans and the chorizo. We topped that with two eggs in each bowl, followed by the avocado chunks, cheese and cilantro. Oh, and some Mexican hot sauce for good measure. Suffice to say we both felt so much better after eating this dinner. It was one of those food nirvana moments when you feed your body what it’s craving, and then some. And hey, now I know what to make next time we are hung over….and we hope you try it too.

Andrew Zimmern’s crazy awesome wings

So a couple weeks back, I happened on an episode of Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Made, which is the replacement for Best Thing I Ever Ate, for which I think they just ran out of ideas and categories for. And Andrew Zimmern was on there. You know, the guy from Travel Channel who has a show called Bizarre Foods, and eats some of the absolutely craziest things that anyone would ever put in their mouth–including one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen–bull schlong. Quite honestly, I drew the line right there and haven’t watched that show since.

But when I saw him dial up this recipe for “Grandmother’s Chinese chicken wings” and my mouth was watering right away. My mouth is watering as I type this, because I tried these things two Sundays ago and they were phenomenal. I made them again this past Sunday and I may make them every Sunday until the end of time. They were that good. And it’s not like they are crispy–you make them in a large pot and essentially stir fry them for like an hour. But holy crap, the sauce is like a parade of flavors–sweet, spicy, tangy, soy-ee. Anyway, I get it. I get why he tried to re-create these for years before a friend came across the recipe from a Chinese grandma. You have to get a few ingredients you may have trouble finding–dried chiles, star anise, sake and mirin. But you can usually find stuff like that in a store like Whole Foods, or giant grocery like Woodman’s here in Madison.

So do me a favor and do Zimmern a favor and try these wings for your next party. They will go FAST.

What’s the grossest thing you would eat?

I’ve noticed that on lots of food-oriented TV shows lately, hosts and contestants and just regular people are eating foods that I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Remember “Fear Factor?” They would make people eat bugs, but now it seems like bugs are exotic cuisine. In Asia, they eat bugs like it’s nothing. Yum, bugs in your ice cream? Oh yeah, that’s good! Yikes.
Anyway, on Food Network’s “Chefs vs. City,” one of the obstacle course stations was to eat bugs at some place in New Orleans that specializes in bug cuisine. Really? And I mean they were eating grasshoppers, ants, and other disgusting creatures.

Then they make the chefs on “Chopped” make creations with stuff like chocolate covered grasshoppers, and the one I saw recently–canned haggis. So we’re talking tripe and other organ meats mixed with oatmeal. Oh, and they did rabbit kidneys the other night. Really, does anyone really eat this crap?

On Travel Channel, Anthony Bourdain has partook in some pretty disgusting things, like when in Italy they break open a lamb’s stomach and dip bread in the blood that spews out. EWWWWWWWW. Are you serious?

Then, speaking of Travel Channel, there is Andrew Zimmern. Okay, his show is called “Bizarre Foods,” and while I would eat about 5 percent of what he eats on the show, I recently got hooked on the show a bit and was even DVR-ing episodes of it. But then he did it. The dude was in Viet Nam or Thailand, and he ate at a place that served….are you ready? You might want to look away……he ate bull penis and testicles. Yes, Andrew Z ate a schlong and balls. I know they put weird shit in hot dogs, but i’m almost sure they never use the unit of an animal. But the worst part was, the dude ate it and liked it. And he has the, ahem, balls, to say he refuses to eat walnuts. Are you kidding me???

So I ask you…what is the grossest thing you would ever eat? I think I draw the line at hot dogs, seriously. Let me know and I’ll post this on Facebook too. Blah!

Re-post of an interview with Camille Ford from Food Wars

Last year we had the opportunity to speak to Camille Ford, host of Travel Channel’s “Food Wars.” Camille was just getting started with the show, and it’s been going strong now for almost a year. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that they pit two restaurants against each other in a particular city for what that city is known for, such as New York Pizza or Philly cheesesteak. It’s awesome and looks like it would be fun to be there! Here is a re-post of the interview that ran on Bullz-Eye.com:

March 29, 2010

Travel Channel has recently dipped its collective toe into the food programming boom, and following the wild success of “Man Vs. Food,” which recently wrapped up its second season, they are back with an awesome new show, “Food Wars.” The premise is that there are specialty restaurants in most major cities—Buffalo’s Buffalo wings, Chicago’s Italian beef, Kansas City’s fried chicken. And host Camille Ford has the best job of all—to travel around the country hosting “Food Wars” and getting to sample the cuisine of each “war.” For you guys, Camille is also very easy on the eyes and she isn’t afraid of spicy food or large quantities of food that isn’t exactly good for you. We had the chance to talk to Camille between episodes of “Food Wars,” and she confirmed that she has one of the coolest gigs ever……

Bullz-Eye: Hey, Camille.

CF: Hey, Mike, how are you doing?

BE: Good, how are you?

CF: Good, thank you.

BE: So, I love the show, I’ve become a big fan. I’m a fan of “Man Vs. Food” and I think there are a lot of similarities between the two.

CF: There are, but hopefully it’s different enough that people will be inspired to watch.

BE: So how did you land the gig to host this show and how excited were you to move forward with it?

CF: Okay, I’m going to answer the latter first. Thrilled, like back flips, couldn’t believe how luck I am, and was, to be asked to travel around the United States meeting great people who have worked their whole lives to be passionate about one thing, food, that I get to eat for free. All really good things. And as far as how I got involved, I’ve been working in entertainment and the performing arts for years and years, since I was a kid. I moved to New York about eight years ago to kind of pursue the same thing. And I’d done some hosting things that somehow caught the eye of the Travel Channel and it just so happened that they were looking for someone to fill this position. And when I auditioned, it just kind of made sense.

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An interview with Adam Richman from Man vs. Food

This is a re-post of an interview we did with Adam Richman from Travel Channel’s “Man Vs. Food,” which is entering its third season this coming summer. The interview originally was posted in April of 2009 and this is one of the best shows on television. Well, if you like food!

Adam Richman is host of The Travel Channel’s new hit show, “Man Vs. Food,” in which he visits different cities throughout the country and samples some of their best cuisine. He ends each show with one of that city’s food challenges, which range from a 72 oz. steak to a gigantic pizza to an order of the hottest curry on the planet. The show is fun and entertaining, and Richman is a natural at his gig. We had the chance to talk to Adam about his new gig and more….

Bullz-Eye: Hey Adam, how are you?

Adam Richman: What’s going on Mike?

BE: Coincidentally I just saw the episode from St. Louis last night where you drank the milkshakes? That had to be one your toughest challenges, wasn’t it?

AR: I don’t know, they’re all pretty tough. It was definitely rough in that it came with a “reversal of fortune,” so that was a little lame. Apart from that, though, I haven’t quite lost my taste for milkshakes yet.

BE: So you have done some acting and had a passion for food. But how did the idea of “Man Vs. Food” come about, and was it your idea or did the Travel Channel approach you?

AR: Actually it was Travel Channel’s idea. It was actually based on a few shows that they had already. They had a series, which still airs, called “Food Paradise,” like “Hamburger Paradise” and “Pizza Paradise.” They have those shows and then they had a special called “World’s 10 Best Places to Pig Out.” So they approached Sharp Entertainment to develop the show. Sharp developed the show and sent out a casting notice, which came to me through my agent. I just sort of launched myself at it both barrels and it was a six-round process. I basically got the job provided there was a job to have. We shot a presentation reel and they showed it to Travel Channel. May 1 of last year we got picked up for ten episodes and they saw the pilot and liked it so much that they bought eight more. And now we’re renewed and we’re going to go into Season 2 in the spring.

BE: Watching the show, it’s easy to get a feel for how much you love food, and it’s a love many of us share. Do you sometimes feel like you have to pinch yourself that you have such a cool gig?

AR: Definitely, especially in this economy. Already being an actor by trade, that’s how I acquired a lot of my food expertise, was by working all these jobs in the restaurant business supporting myself as an actor. It’s to have finally had, if you’ll pardon the cheesiness of the phrase, that “big break” at all to begin with, and that I’m doing it while, like in the San Jose episode, getting to show that I can play guitar. Or in the Atlanta episode I get to show that I can dance. In Portland I showed that I can sword fight. There’s so many different things that it’s kind of like a job that has no routine, no tedium, constant variety, constant gratification, and travel. And it pays better than regional theaters.

BE: Very cool. So out of all the Season 1 episodes, what to you was the most difficult challenge and why? Which one did you fear the most?

AR: Wow, they were all hard to some degree, and that’s not a cop-out answer. L.A. I think may have been the hardest because it was spice and quantity. Generally with the exception of the milkshake challenge, they tend to fall into one of those two categories. L.A. was both. And what made it so hard was that I had only prepared for it as a spicy challenge, not realizing it was going to be an issue of quantity as well.

BE: Now which one was this again?

AR: The spicy ramen. That one was just unbelievable and unrelenting, and unrelenting in its recovery time as well. Also, I love eggs, but it’s “Man vs. Food,” so it’s never, like, eating hard-boiled eggs. It’s something like a 12-egg omelet or 8 ¾ pound breakfast tacos. Egg challenges are very good but you know, eggs are binding and they’re very rich. They’re almost always going to be accompanied by cheese and always with potato. So you have dairy and potato that are going to occupy such volume in your stomach that you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m totally stacking the deck against myself.” Denver was pretty gnarly too. Denver was gnarly because of a bunch of different factors. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was a 7-pound breakfast burrito. And while the craftsmanship and the workmanship and the quality of the ingredients were excellent, some of the things were not necessarily my favorite foods. So while being palatable to be sure, if you don’t really care for something in particular and it’s one of the main ingredients and it’s 7 pounds, you’re kinda hosed. (laughs).

BE: You had the privilege of having the great Gladys Knight cook you chicken and waffles. Was that as surreal as it looked on TV?

AR: It was beyond surreal. I think TV caught very jovial moments. They didn’t have the sort of moments when I went, “Yep, that’s the empress of soul feeding me fried green tomatoes. That makes sense.” Yep, bizarre. And the fact that she’s so unassuming and everyone around her gets who she is…it’s like everyone there has found out that she’s Gladys Knight, except Gladys Knight. It’s like (in hushed voice), “I think she’s coming, here she comes, her bus just pulled up.” And then she’s like, “Hey baby!” You know what I mean? And her son Shanga is like the greatest, coolest guy ever, and totally has his mom’s smile and her affability. But yeah, to see the mom and the mother and the woman and the child of the South that is Gladys Knight, independent of the woman who sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” and all these amazing, iconic tracks that I grew up listening to, then to see her strap on an apron and go, “This is the chicken recipe that I grew up eating, and now I’m going to make it for you.” And then to watch her sit there and fry stuff and bread stuff and coat stuff…..

BE: That’s amazing. And you had no idea that was going to happen?

AR: No, I mean I knew that the possibility existed but there were no guarantees. She knew we were coming, and same with Kevin Youkilis in Boston, that was a complete, complete accident. There was not even a feeler sent out. They were, I actually just found out on a blog, they were at the funeral of a little boy, a cancer patient he had become friendly with. His wife was familiar with this place from Boston College, where she had gone, and “Youk” wanted a burger. And he went there and all of a sudden there’s the “brother love traveling show” in town, and he was just the best sport.

BE: Yeah, it’s horrible that that’s why he was there, and I was wondering why he was dressed up in a suit and tie in the episode.

AR: Yeah, he had won the Hank Aaron Award the day before and we thought that maybe he was on his way to the ceremony. But there’s a blog called “Out of the Park (Paak)” and on that Kevin was saying, “We were sad, we were driving around and we were hungry and my wife knew this place.” And I had just seen Youk at the Celtics season opener the night before, and he was joking around on the Diamondvision and so I was able to start a dialog with him based upon what he had done the night before. And he was so great, just so so great. The challenge and the Red Sox fans, less so. (laughs).

BE: What are some cities and/or challenges you are talking about for future episodes, and how much input do you have on the whole process?

AR: I would tell you if there was anything in stone. I know that what we’ve been batting about has been, well, I’m still trying to fight the good fight for a Brooklyn episode. I would love to do a Brooklyn episode because it’s where the heart is, and it’s literally where the home is, and in fact it’s where I’m talking to you from right now. But also we’ve talked about the idea of kind of like, just for one or two of them, like concept shows….like an all-stadium show, or an all-tailgate show, or a show doing stuff with members of the armed forces. Or a cruise line show, or resorts, that kind of thing. Something that sort of focuses on genre as opposed to geography. But nothing is set. Like one of the first meetings for Season 2 is going to be happening in the next week or so and we’ll have a better idea, but the thing is, it’s been a learning curve for everybody and I think that’s kind of important, but I think no one really knew the effects of a meter-long bratwurst on a human being. I feel like I’m John Glenn in “Do The Right Stuff.” Like we don’t know what a human’s going to do in space, but we have ideas. But it’s cool.

BE: Well cool, are you coming to Nashville at all?

AR: That’s actually something that’s been discussed as a possibility in Season 1, but we had just done Memphis. People said, “Well, you did L.A. and San Jose,” but Northern California and Southern California, there’s such a disparity in mindset, architecture and climate that there’s a significant difference. I personally have been to Nashville and love it, and been to Memphis before and loved it, so yeah, I would love for that to be the case. I’d love to go to Nashvegas.

BE: Yeah, there’s a lot of great food here.

AR: Yeah, oh my God. They may have to butter the door of the plane when I leave.

BE: How many days does it take to shoot one episode? In other words, you’re not eating all of that food including the challenge in one day, are you?

AR: Oh dear God, no. Generally I would say between four and six days, sometimes including or not including travel days. Essentially there’s like a travel day, a shoot, an off day and then a shoot and a challenge. I always love it when we do the two other places and then I have an off day and then the challenge. Those are always the most effective, especially when it’s a quantity challenge. You like to be as empty as you possibly can going into those. But generally four to six days. But let’s say, pick a place, like you just saw St. Louis. We did Pappy’s Smokehouse one day, we did Iron Barley with the hot dog Monte Cristo and the pork loin. And those are like, in my opinion, of all the menu items, the pork loin’s pretty great and the Monte Cristo’s pretty great, but I’d give those, as good as his menu is, those are like 8’s, 7’s and 5’s and he’s got a whole slew of like 10’s and 11’s on that menu. It’s crazy. So there’s those places, and then the following day would be the other challenge, the milkshake challenge. It’s nice to have some recovery time in between to just sort of get empty and get ready for the actual thing ahead.

BE: Right, well that makes sense. So off camera, and when you’re at home, what does your diet typically consist of? And do you cook?

AR: I do cook. It’s different, since the show has begun. Since it’s the off-season, I have to really limit any indulgences I have, and that’s very, very hard because I love food so much. But to know that now, especially in the off-season when I have to lose weight, I have to do a lot of discipline. But generally, you know, I do eat a very healthy diet. I have a mom who’s very doting and doctors in the family and I go to physicians regularly because of the show, you know, on my own, because of concerns preventatively, and for checkups. My diet is, I guess a balanced diet, you know, lots of vegetables, lots of chicken and fish, egg whites. I work out with a personal trainer, I stay super, super hydrated. I pretty much stick to wine, and try to avoid beer and brown liquors and stuff like that. And yeah, I find that generally speaking, I almost go completely vegetarian when I’m home. It’s like from the show, when we come off the road all of us go completely vegetarian from the time we get home.

BE: Yeah, it kind of makes sense to do that.

AR: Yeah, it’s a balance and I think that’s what the basis of the show is. You can’t eat these things all the time, but it’s a balance. I can’t travel a one-camp travel all the time. But when you do, when you go into say Nashville or Memphis, there are places you have to try. And it may not be the healthiest food per se, or the most waist-conscious food, but you know it’s going to be an experience, you know it’s going to be delicious, and it’s going to be something you can only get in Tennessee.

BE: So if you had to live on one food item, what would that be?

AR: Oh my gosh, great question. Oh, wow. A food item? I don’t know. I’d say it’s like a deadlock tie between sushi and pizza. And I think it’s just because there are variations within those things, like pizza comes in so many incarnations. But I’m fairly certain I could have either pizza or sushi at pretty much every meal.

BE: What are some hobbies and interests you have outside of food?

AR: I play guitar, I write, I still act and have agents and stuff. The schedule doesn’t always accommodate that stuff, but I’m a Yale School of Drama graduate, so I do pride myself on calling myself an actor. But guitar, alto saxophone, I still love cooking. I love travel, I exercise pretty regularly, and not just in the gym. I live right by Prospect Park so pickup soccer games, and you know New York is such a font of art stuff, like going to theater. I’m a museum junky, so I think there’s definitely something in that. And I also, now that I’ve got a little digital camera, I’ve been shooting some stuff with friends. So that’s also kind of great. Oh, and I teach. I am on faculty at two acting schools. I really love that, because in the absence of the opportunities to perform as an actor, I learn the most when I teach and there’s something very edifying about sort of watching other people grow. And my mom’s a guidance counselor so I think it’s definitely like a genetic trait.

BE: Right. Have you released any music?

AR: No, oh my God no, I’d be terrified. Because generally if it’s accompanied by my singing, that’s something you don’t want. I’ve released it in showers and on road trips all over the world. But no, in terms of acting stuff, I played God on “Joan of Arcadia,” I was in “Law and Order” and stuff like that. But you know, I do love music quite a bit and at Yale I was able to study some sound design stuff. So I’ve made some beats for some local rappers here in Brooklyn that they’ve used. I’ve made some music on my own, but generally it’s much more, as you say, a hobby or a pastime. I made possibly the ill-advised decision to buy an X-Box 360 not that long ago. So I make sure that I do intellectual pursuits to counterbalance the Guitar Hero.

BE: One last question, Yankees or Mets?

AR: Oh, Yankees, absolutely.

BE: I grew up on Long Island and I’m a big Mets fan.

AR: Oh, are you? You know, most Brooklynites are Mets fans because of the relationship the Yankees had with the Dodgers. And I don’t really know…my dad was a Mets fan. I’m not really quite sure, I think it was just my experience at the first game, and just going into that ballpark and knowing what history it had, and going through the little Legends Memorial Park behind left field. I don’t know. I felt something I didn’t feel at Shea. And it was just real and truth be told, my very first little league team was the Yankees, and then it was the Angels. And it was hysterical because I went from the Yankees to the Angels at the same time Reggie Jackson did. I was like, “Okay, it’s fate, I was meant to be a Yankees fan.” And I had Mantle’s number and all that stuff.

BE: Well great, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.

AR: No worries man, thank you so much for being so positive about the show. It really means a lot.

For more information on “Man vs. Food,” visit www.travelchannel.com

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