Friday Fives: Andrew Zimmern

We’ve been grilling AFW chefs every Friday to find out more about their favorite recipes, restaurants, and more. This week, it’s three-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher, Andrew Zimmern. As the creator, executive producer and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise on Travel Channel, Andrew has explored cultures in more than 150 countries.


1. What’s your favorite easy dish or cocktail to make?
Black bean spare ribs with green onions. I’ve made this Chinese dish a hundred times. Friends and family clamor for the recipe and are always surprised at just how easy it is to make at home.

2. What inspired you to become a chef?
Traveling with my father overseas and being exposed to a variety of cuisines from an early age inspired my love of connecting with cultures and exploring new culinary realms.

3. What’s your favorite restaurant (besides your own)?
I can’t praise my adopted hometown’s food scene enough these days. Now that we have chefs like Gavin Kaysen returning home to open amazing restaurants, the world is finally paying attention. Spoon & Stable is your best bet by far in Minneapolis.
Atelier Crenn, Nomad, Trois Mec, Dai Ho, Cockscomb, Husk, Qui, Franklin BBQ, Del Posto. Vaucluse, Peter Chang, Mission Chinese, Raku, Cochon Butcher, Shaya, Zahav, Johns Roast Pork, Le Pigeon–all come to mind as I’m sitting and writing of restaurants that I’m loving these days, or hit recently and can’t shake.

4. What’s your favorite cookbook or book about food?
La Methode by Jacques Pépin is one of my essentials.

5. What are you most excited about doing / seeing/ tasting at AFW?
The Austin Food + Wine Festival is one of the most fun, intimate festivals in the country, featuring great music and some serious culinary talent. There’s a lot of amazing barbecue coming out of Austin; I tend to leave the festive weekend with a meat hangover. I’m always excited to try newcomers’ takes on smoked meat tradition, as well as hit up old favorite joints (Franklin Barbecue, I’m looking at you).