Exploring tastes and trends with Andrew Zimmern
Andrew Zimmern eats bugs. And he believes it won’t be long before you’re eating them too.
The globetrotting chef and host of Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods America” stayed in one place long enough to share his thoughts on global tastes and trends during a recent installment of Taste Talks – a series for employees, presented by The Kitchens of General Mills.
“I get so energized when I’m on the road. I’m constantly challenged by the work I do and I grow by leaps and bounds as a human being,” Zimmern said.
The mission of his show, he explained, is about “teaching people to practice patience, tolerance and understanding in a world that does not have enough of it.”
Here’s a preview of his show’s new season, which begins March 24.
He said everyone, regardless of who they are or where in the world they reside, has food in common. And that food can be a jumping off point to have deeper conversations.
In addition to using the topic of food as a universal ice breaker, Zimmern – who punctuated his presentation with anecdotes about his travels in Botswana, Madagascar and Nicaragua – encouraged employees to get out, stretch their boundaries and explore.
“The version of myself when I am on the road is way cooler than the version sitting on the couch in my boxer shorts,” he said. “I try to harness that exploration in everything I do.”
Zimmern said his adventures have inspired him to encourage innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit in others, something that translates to the food industry as well.
“People are looking for new ideas and people have other ways of thinking than we do,” he said. “Do not practice contempt prior to investigation. ‘What would happen if?’ – that idea has been missing for a long time and people are starting to embrace that again. Stretch your mind, ideas are valuable. Harness those ideas.”
He used as an example his own son whose experiments with food at age nine are drastically different than what Zimmern said were his own tastes as a child.
Crickets, for example, are a snack his son has embraced during their family travels.
While he’s not sure bugs are going to be the next big thing tomorrow, he did point out that a company he profiled on his show five years ago is doing brisk business today selling cricket flour.
“Sea vegetables, animals from the sea like snails and plant-based foods are going to be a major deal in this country,” he said.
Zimmern also took a moment to encourage the crowd to cast their vote in The Munchies People’s Choice Food Awards, a program on which he has partnered with General Mills since its creation three years ago. (You can vote daily, through March 31).
He proudly described the awards as, “A way to recognize great food and great food culture elements put together by experts and voted on by Americans.”
So cast your votes and eat your bugs, America.
Andrew Zimmern sure would.