Interview with TV Host Extraordinaire, Adam Richman

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AdamRichmanEat My Globe by Simon Majumdar
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Adam Richman Interview Notes

In this episode of Eat My Globe, our host, Simon Majumdar, shares a really fun conversation with one of the most knowledgeable and energetic people in the current culinary field, Adam Richman. As well as discussing his stellar career to date, they also chat about his love of sport, and his new endeavors. It’s a great conversation.

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TRANSCRIPT

Eat My Globe

Interview with Adam Richman


INTRO MUSIC


Simon Majumdar (“SM”):

Hey everybody. It's Simon Majumdar here. And welcome to Eat My Globe, a podcast about things you didn't know you didn't know about food. And on today's very, very special program, I am going to introduce you to an amazing guest who I suddenly realized, when I was putting together the schedule for this program, not only had I never met, but apart from a few tweets, I’d never talked to, which is particularly crazy as we used to share the same management company and it’s someone who I admire so much and I was determined to get him to be on the show. Now, we're gonna talk about all of his career and then we're gonna set him a little challenge here on Eat My Globe. But you know so much about him. I'm gonna get him to tell us more. Let me introduce you to the one and only Mr. Adam Richman. Adam, how the hell are you?


Adam Richman (“AR”):

[Laughter]


Thank you for that very kind introduction. I'm well, thank you.


SM:

Now, Adam, where the hell are you?


[Laughter]


AR:

I am, uh, in New York state. I'm just north of the city in Westchester county.


SM:

Oh fantastic. Fantastic. Well, we've, we've we're crossing the country here ‘cause I'm here in LA. So hopefully the, uh, where, but will keep us going. Uh, before we go on to do anything else, you know, I like to just give people a little general introduction to who you are, but I'm gonna get you to do this.


AR:

Okay.


SM:

Um, because you've got such a fantastic story that brought you to who you are, where you are, why you were so admired. And I just wanted you to share that. Tell everyone about your, your background, you know, Manhattan. I think you were born in Manhattan, living in Brooklyn and then just kind of. . .


AR:

Well. . . . Technically, technically I was just born at NYU hospital, but, but raised in Brooklyn, New York. As you can see, the Brooklyn pride is strong.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

And uh, I, um, for those of you listening, I pointed to my Brooklyn Dodger baseball cap in the zoom. Um, but yes, born in Brooklyn, educated in, in Brooklyn, um, through, uh, religious Jewish school, uh, went to, um, you know, rather secular, uh, high school after that. And uh, yes, um, grew up just loving food in a, in a family of cooks and raised to appreciate the language of food around me in a largely immigrant community in Brooklyn that we lived in in Graves End. And, um, I’m a child of divorce. My parents divorced when I was pretty young. Um, but career stuff. Uh, went away to Emory University, um, in Atlanta and um, started keeping a food journal rather accidentally in ‘95 and started chronicling the places I would eat and contextualizing them. Saw a culinary anthropologist on television once and didn't even know that that was a thing.


SM:

[Laughter]


Yup.


AR:

Didn't know that was something you could choose to be. Um, and I kind of moved into the third floor of the Brooklyn Public Library, my house, and read every book on culinary anthropology I could. And then, um, yeah, uh, after, um, acting professionally for a few years after graduation, um, around the country, I got into the Yale School of Drama. Got my Master's from Yale in 2003 and started acting, uh, regionally. Um, the whole time while I was acting, I was working in restaurants to support my acting habits and kept acquiring food knowledge. And as a gift for getting into Yale, my stepmother paid for me to get my sushi training and um, ‘cause I was supposed to learn how to make sushi with my late father.


SM:

Oh.


AR:

And he passed before we had a chance to do that. So, that was her little gift to me. Um, so I went to Yale 2000, 2003, got my Masters in ‘03, started working around the country, augmenting that food journal with greater, uh, geographic range and signed with really good agents. And then, um, in 2008, whilst understudying all the male roles in the Bela Lugosi Ellis Island story. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

. . . at the, at the theater at Ellis Island – yes, they have a theater there – um, I began the audition process for a show on Travel Channel, which was called, “Pig Out,” at the time. And it was a six-round process. And at my final screen test for “Pig Out,” um, was Valentine's Day of 2008. Um, I said, um, it was in front of Katz's Deli, I said, this is Valentine's Day. It's a new Valentine's Day. I was about to embark on a food challenge. And I said, this is a new Valentine's Day massacre here on the Lower East Side. This is man versus food, and food, it ain't your day.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

And suddenly, the network's like, it's a good title. That's a good title.


[Laughter]


And um, “Man v. Food” was born. I hit the three seasons of “Man v. Food.” Two of “Man v. Food Nation.” Um, “Secret Eats with Adam Richman,” uh, at, um, “Secret Eats,” “Man Finds Food,” “Best Sandwich in America,” “Fandemonium,” uh, where the shows I did on, uh, Travel Channel with a bunch of little clip shows in between. And um, yeah, since then I've done some game shows on NBC and on ITV in the UK. And um, currently hosting four shows on the History Channel. I host “Modern Marvels.”


SM:

Mm hm.


AR:

Um, I'm one of the contributors to “Food that Built America” seasons one through three. Um, I'm the voiceover guy behind snack size. And, finally, my new show, which, uh, just started on the 27th, uh, of February. Um, I host, uh, “Adam Eats the 80s.”


SM:

Which is, I mean, the way you've gone through that, that is such an extraordinary range of opportunities, both from the acting and the. . . .


AR:

Thank you.


SM:

No, I mean, it really is. And you know, I've watched you from long before, you know, when I first started seeing “Man v. Food” and thinking, well, this is fascinating, this is interesting, everybody loved it. And we hadn't seen anything like it. To when I've come to America and started my own culinary career. Uh, I've watched you, and so for me, just to have this opportunity to talk to you, and one of the reasons that I love that is we seem to share, more than anything, a kind of culinary DNA love for “a,” this country and around the world, but also the people who make the food. And one of the things that I like about you, uh, even in “Man v. Food,” it was always about the people who were making it as much as it was about you, you know, eating massive amounts of food.


AR:

Well, that, it means a lot to hear you say that because I feel that, you know, it was always a, a tight rope because for me and you, you nail it. You hit, hit the nail on the head. That's exactly it. It was always about the people, but I think that, you know, a network obviously traffics in ratings and nothing is going to get you more ratings than a spectacle. And, uh, the food challenge most certainly provided that. And I feel, that, um, the. . . that was always the tightrope. We, we wanted to have that loud programming that would get people to tune in, but it really was about the hard work, the ingenuity, the family recipes that they brought to bear to become restaurant successes. All that stuff was, um, you know, so important to me. So, it means a lot to. . .  that, that someone of your intelligence and caliber and experience notices that. So, I, I thank you deeply for that.


SM:

I appreciate that. And, and we're gonna go on and talk in a moment, uh, and everyone knows who listens to Eat My Globe, that when we have fantastic guest like this on, I like to set them a very friendly kind of challenge.


But before we do that, we're gonna talk about the books that you've written as well, because, uh, would that I could write like you. But we're gonna have a little stop here because this is, um, this is my podcast and I can do whatever I like.


Um, we're gonna talk about sport for a moment. So, anyone who's not interested in British sport. . . . Now, I have to hold my hand up, even though I'm an American citizen for many years. . .


AR:

[Laughter]


SM:

And, uh, and I've, you know, lived here and blah, blah, blah. I know nothing about American sports. So, I don't have a hat of any kind with a “B” or anything else on it. Um. . .


AR:

[Laughter]


SM:

But, uh, and so I, I shamefully I should, I should kind of support. . . . But my passion is. . . . I know one of yours and we're gonna talk about it for a little while just because my team's doing very well. Tell me about your, “A,” your passion for the UK and, “B,” your passion for British sport. Uh, well, particularly football, real football, as it were.


AR:

Uh, well, so I must cop to, I must own up to a deep Anglophilic sensibility since my youth. So, I am a quarter, uh, British by birth. My, my great-granddad was from Leeds.


SM:

Oh, very close to where I'm from.


AR:

Uh, exactly, exactly right. And, um, I, I've actually like very much wanted to go back. I've only been to Leeds once very briefly while filming that ITV show. And I want to go back and retrace, uh, family steps. But I grew up in a home where my father, may he rest in peace, and my mom had Westminster church rubbings in our living room.


SM:

Wow.


AR:

. . . and would talk about a restaurant called Manze’s.


SM:

Yeah. Very, very famous. I used to go there all the time. Very famous.


AR:

It’s a fish restaurant.


SM:

Fish restaurant.


AR:

Oh, I, I just got goosebumps. No one's known it, Simon. That, really? Wow. I'm, like, a little bit verklempt, as my people say. But no, it means a lot like I'm, I'm welling up. I almost wanna call my mom now and be like, Simon Majumdar knew Manze’s.


SM:

Oh yeah. I used to go in Leicester. It, it was in Leicester Square. And, um, it, I remember I actually went in the day that they closed. I'd had a reservation. I walked in and they went, we closed last night and I cried. I used to go. It was one of the great old restaurants with, uh, waiters who were there before the flood. I think most of them, you know. And, uh, it was classic old school, Dover sole, and, uh, and the best, best, the best fries or chips, as we said. They did great Fish and Chips and yeah, it, and then it got taken over by Fergus Henderson from St. John for a very short while. And he ran it as St. John at Manze’s and that didn't last terribly long. And then, uh, and then it closed. And that was one of my old haunts. I used to go regularly. uh. . .


AR:

I am. . .


SM:

. . . for lunch.


AR:

. . . so shook. I am so shook right now. You were. . . . So, the only other, uh, feeling I can equate this with, there was a place that my father and mother had gone, and I went to England for the first time when I was about nine and a half years old. Uh, my grandparents had gotten my mother, uh, a tour as a birthday gift. And, um, we. . . . There was a restaurant called Borscht N Tears.


SM:

Yeah. I remember. . . .


AR:

I wanna say it's in Kensington, but I, I could be mistaken.


SM:

It was very close to where I worked at Penguin Books, which is Kensington. I know exactly where it is. Yeah.


AR:

So, it is Kensington. Okay. And, uh, they have the little bottles of Sherry on the table and it kind of like a cave-like feeling. So, my mother and father had gone. I had gone, and I remember one time, um, while driving around England, uh, or being driven because I'm terrified of driving in the UK.


[Laughter]


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

Um, uh, I saw it and I begged the driver. I said, please pull over. And I FaceTimed my mom. Time change, be damned. I was like, mom, you must see, look where I am. So, it means a lot. But anyway, um, so they would talk about going to Manze’s walking around Whitechapel with newspaper cones, full of fish and chips. Um, my father was very, very. . . . A rapacious appetite for reading and, uh, especially loved Shakespeare and, uh, got me into it to the degree that I did a book report on the Scottish play when I was in fourth grade. Um, so I think that I've always loved it. And back when I was younger in New York, we would get a lot of the Thames, uh, programming. So, we would get “Benny Hill.” We would get “Are You Being Served?”


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

We would get “Keeping Up Appearances.” We would get lots of “Monty Python.” We would get, um, “Masterpiece Theater.” Um, and you know, obviously there would be, I mean, I, it was funny. I finally, later on in life, had a chance to audition for Roger Rees, may he rest in peace. . .


SM:

Oh.


AR:

. . . and all I could see was Nicholas Nickleby


SM:

One of my favorites. One of my favorite shows. . . that they did.


AR:

And so I loved it. Yeah, absolutely. And I loved it. My father loved, uh, older films and, um, and it was funny how certain films that were decidedly American that used British actors would send me down this rabbit hole of Anglophilic love. So, I know we want get to sport, but like I love 20. . .


SM:

No, no.


AR:

The Walt Disney “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” stars, Kirk Douglas and the great late, uh, late great James Mason as Captain Nemo.


SM:

Absolutely.


AR:

And, uh, his voice and this, and then suddenly it was like Lolita and whatever. And then all of a sudden, you know, all the “Star Wars” movies are starring Peter Cushing and, you know, and, and Alec Guinness, of course. And then, so you start watching David Lean movies in “Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Lawrence of Arabia.” So, I guess I've always loved it. Always loved the accent. And always loved the, uh, the variety of accents from what we were told at Yale is called RP. . .


SM:

Yep.


AR:

. . . or like the Queens English to what you hear when you're getting a salt beef bagel in Brick Lane. To what I heard when I was filming in Hampshire, uh, for ITV and what I, what I heard. Up north [Ed Note: AR pronouncing as, “Oop, noth.”] When I was working with Meat Lust, creating sauces in Manchester [Ed Note: AR pronouncing as, “Man-ches-tah.”], and like I never knew City was spelled C I T E H in Manchester.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

C’mon City. [Ed Note: AR pronouncing as, “Kum-on See-teh.”] C’mon City. [Ed Note: AR pronouncing as, “Kum-mon See-teh.”].


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

And so, um, so I’ve always loved it. And, um, was blessed that. . . . What happened was, in between the sale of, um, Travel Channel, went from Discovery to a Scripps property, “Man v. Food” was in limbo. And during that time, Free Mantle Media had brought “Man v. Food” to the UK. And suddenly I was on, if I recall, the Dave Channel Food Network and a network called, Good Food. All at once.


SM:

I remember Good Food, too. Yes, absolutely.


AR:

And, um, shout out to Nicola Rowley, our, our point there. And, uh, the, and I'll never forget I was doing voiceovers. . .


[Laughter]


. . . and the, it had said in the script, Hey, everybody, it's me dietary dare devil, Adam Richman. And I did two takes and I hear her click it from the control booth going, um,


[AR speaking in a British accent] Adam, sorry, is that how you, is that how you pronounce dietary?


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

And I said, well, yes. It's. I don't know if I could curse on your podcast.


SM:

You could curse as much as you like.


AR:

But I just said, yeah, ‘cause it's got a [. . .] “a” in it.


[Laughter]


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

She’s like, right.


[AR speaking in a British accent] Is that how you pronounce dietary?


And I said, dietary? I said, I can say dietary [Ed Note: AR pronouncing the second dietary as “diet-ry.”]. And like, you know, that has been the big adjustment. Uh, but I've loved it. I mean, it, it's humbling, you know, you, you, it's a culture that I share tenuous connective threads with, at best. Yet, to be so embraced. Um, and my, my friends that are English are mesmerized at my ability to be fascinated by the most mundane [. . .]. Like I go to news agents. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

. . . and I just stare at the crisps and I. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

. . . not because it's just full. . .  another world.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

What's Monster Munch and, and, and, and O’s and, and what is. . . . There’s a raccoon flavor? And why is Gary Lineker selling this?


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

And what's a Kinder Bueno. And I had never heard of a Lion Bar or a Wispa or a Yorkie or whatever, a Malteser and, uh, a Minstrels. And so, um, a friend of mine who worked at Ealing Studios was putting me through my, um, news agents education.


[Cross Talk]


AR:

I'm also told them I have to go to a Wetherspoons. I'm supposed. . .  My first. . . .


SM:

Really? You have to go eight o'clock in the morning, ‘cause they're open 24. You have to see the people who've been in there all night to, uh, have nowhere else to go. And they're all looking a little kind of sorry for themselves. That's when you need to go to a Wetherspoon. And have their breakfast, which remarkably is actually quite good.


AR:

I've heard. I've heard as much. And it's funny, my friend Mike Gibson, who's the editor of Buddhism UK, shout out Gibo. Um, and I, I, first of all, look. Imagine you're an Anglophilic American who, who sucks the marrow out of every moment, you, you. . . from the moment you land at Heathrow. And it's the truth. Um, I love the fact that it is just little greetings.


[AR speaking in a British accent] You're right, boy.


SM:

Yep.


AR:

[AR speaking in a British accent] You're right then.


SM:

You’re right, mate.


AR:

I love that. Yeah. I love that. And uh, Gibo was. . .


[Laughter]


. . . laughing. He was like. . .


[AR speaking in a British accent] We've gotta take him into Curry Club. He's gotta have the $5 Curry.


And is it true that they, that every Weatherspoon has a different carpet. And then when a Weatherspoon closes. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

. . . they, that there is a, like a clamor for people trying to get that carpet because it's a one off.


SM:

I have no idea, but I've gotta go find out if that is true. You know more about Wetherspoons that I do.


AR:

Hardly. Hardly.


[Laughter]


SM:

Uh, but I mean, it is, I. . . . Just your passion for it makes me really. . . “A,” I'm missing home because I still have my apartment in London is right. . .


AR:

Where?


SM:

. . . very close to Brick Lane. It's on, off Old Street.


AR:

Really?


SM:

Yeah. It's very close to Brick Lane.


AR:

Wow.


SM:

Very close to. . . . That's my area. I love that area. I li. . . obviously I lived in London for 30 years. I ate in London. I wrote a blog in London. So, I had the opposite thing when I came here. I remember, uh, and people are indulging us now, which is great. ‘Cause as I said, it's my podcast. Um, is, I came here when I first did “Iron Chef.” Well, “Next Iron Chef,” when we're choosing the new Iron Chef. One of the things was innovation, one of the challenges one week. And I said, innovative. [Ed Note: SM pronouncing innovative as ee-NOH-vah-tive.] And I got the same thing from thing going, excuse me, is that, what did you say? Innovative, which is a very British way, apparently. [Ed Note: SM pronouncing innovative as ee-NOH-vah-tive.] And uh, then than what you might say in the United States, innovative. [Ed Note: SM pronouncing innovative as ee-noh-VAY-tive.]


AR:

Innovative. [Ed Note: AR pronouncing innovative as ee-NOH-vah-tive.]


SM:

And I go, innovative. [Ed Note: SM pronouncing innovative as ee-NOH-vah-tive.] And the other one that I got into, I get into lots of trouble with my well, not lots of trouble probably get is the only reason I get any work, but uh. . .


[Laughter]


. . . but the, but the. . .


AR:

You’re awesome is why you get work. . .


SM:

Probably, but it was. . .


AR:

For those of you who don't know, I blurbed this man's book before we ever, ever spoke to one another or saw one another because of his deep intelligence and his respect. One of the things that I love about you personally is the fact that, um, Anthony Bourdain really ingrained in me the essential nature of openness and respect when traveling. And it's not just, you know, eliminating the, Ugh, I'm not going to eat that. Ugh, you eat that. But it's much more about really throwing yourself into the void and you know, embracing it. And, um, for those of you, I'm sure if you're listening to this, you know, “Fed, White, and Blue,” but you. . . . As an American who loves my country and works with veterans and son of a veteran grandfather.


SM:

Yes, you do. Absolutely.


AR:

That, that you have come to the nation that built me and shown it such love and reflected things that Americans may not be able to see. Anyway, here is the end of the catechism.


SM:

Oh.


AR:

But yes, I, I too, when I did ITV’s “BBQ Champ” with Myleene Klass and my buddy Mark Blatchford, I'm saying shallot, and they're like you mean, shallot. [Ed Note: AR pronouncing shallot as sha-LOT.]


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

And I was like. . . Huh?


SM:

Oh.


AR:

And then I also had to remember it's coriander, not cilantro. It's aubergine and not eggplant. Courgette and not zucchini. And then I also had to remember pants mean underwear.


SM:

Yes.


[Laughter]


AR:

Trousers mean pants. And. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

. . . I have a wonderful female director with whom I've been friends since I was 22 years old and she's a great, great talent. And she also has the distinction of being one of the people who helped put me back together after my father passed that year. A brilliant Emmy nominated director in Cap Pappas. Um, and I'll never forget our fixer in England said to her. You know, we got to the hotel, um, which allowed me to discover one of my favorite neighborhoods in London. Never knew it existed. Little Venice.


SM:

Oh yeah, of course, absolutely.


AR:

Splendid. like, gorgeous. I dunno how everyone doesn't know about it and I'm probably ruining it now that everyone will. But anyway, I remember we got settled in our little hotel by Paddington Station or whatever else. I think he said. . .


[AR speaking in a British accent] Alright cat, you good? Okay. I'll come around and knock you up at eight.


SM:

Oh dear.


AR:

And she was like, oh, you'll what?


[Laughter]


SM:

Oh dear.


AR:

I'll knock on, on your door. He'll knock on your door at eight o'clock.


SM:

I've made that mistake, uh, with people here in the United States.


AR:

[Laughter]


SM:

We should probably move on from that quickly before people go and look up what it is. Um. . .


AR:

[Laughter]


SM:

So, I, we, we, people have indulged us and I'm glad to share that. But one of the things that has come out of this – and I think everyone will get this listening at home – is just, first of all, your genuine passion for food, your genuine passion for the people who make food, and your genuine passion for the areas where people make food. You, one of the reasons that I, I love reading your book and I want to just mention, even though I know it, you know, this book came out a little bit ago, but uh, “America, the Edible,” which is one of my favorite books and I bought that and I. . .


AR:

It's so kind of you.


SM:

Yeah. And I, and, and, and I do say, you know, there are certain people that I go, I, I may disagree with. I, I think about Jonathan Gold with this, where I go, I used to disagree with Jonathan Gold all the time. But I wish that I could have written like Jonathan Gold. And I can't. God didn't give me that talent. But I, but I get by. And when I read, “America, the Edible,” it has this just kind of joy about food, this passion about food that I just think is, you know, really impressive. And even though this book I know is written a little while ago and some of the places aren't maybe not open anymore. If people want to go and read just joyous food writing, I want them to go and, you know, get the book and. . .


AR:

What a thoughtful thing. Thank you.


SM:

. . . and, and go and read it. So, but what that made me do then let’s, let’s move on to our challenge because. . .


AR:

Have we already eclipsed football that I. . .


SM:

Oh, no. No, let's talk. Okay. Let's go back to football very quickly.


AR:

I'm so sorry I over talked it.


SM:

No, no.


AR:

Are we talking about England?


SM:

This is great.


AR:

Nigella said. . . Nigella said, I can talk the hind legs off a donkey. So, I have to be careful.


SM:

This, this is perfect for me because we are just having a conversation and we, I don't wanna be. . .


AR:

[Laughter]


SM:

So, let's, let's just very quickly, everybody. Apologies to everyone.


We’re now gotta talk about why you love Spurs and I, I'll come from my point of view. I think when you grow up in England and you watch football clubs, there are some teams that you actively hate and some you actively love. Uh, and it's, it's in your body. It's from watching them play. It's not even if you support them or not.


And Spurs has always been a club that I actively really enjoy. If they play, if they're playing Arsenal, I want them to win. If they're playing Leeds, I want them to win. ‘Cause I come from an era when Leeds were not a team that you supported, unless you. . . the Don Revie era and all of this. So, and, and so I, when I know that you support that and I know you really do and you go and see it. Um, I just, I just love that connection and I just love why. And you follow not just the big sports. I know you sponsored Broadly FC. I remember reading about that. I, you know, uh, you work with, oh, you sponsored or you've done some things with Grimsby Town, I believe.


AR:

I'm a shareholder. I'm a shareholder in Grimsby.


SM:

See, I've always dreamt of being rich enough to be a shareholder in Rotherham United.


AR:

[Laughter]


I'm not that rich. I just bought a few shares.


SM:

I'm gonna have to buy some in Rotherham. But those are the sort of clubs that I love. And I just, I'm just fascinated with that too.


AR:

[Laughter]


Yeah. Well, in a nutshell, um, I went over. I've always, I played the game in my youth. World Cup ‘98 sort of re awoke or reawakened a, uh, a, um, I don't know a love of it. But the truth of the matter is, in America, we couldn't regularly see games. There was briefly a cable station called Setanta.


SM:

Yes, I remember.


AR:

Expanded cable. Um, the truth of the matter is, and I say this without one hint of twee glib wanting to have a catchphrase, but I could not afford cable until I was on cable. So, for a long time there was nothing. And then Fox was the first one that allowed you the opportunity to regularly see games in the Premiership. And then, um, the one team that most Americans heard about was Manchester United. At that point, it was, you know, I didn't even know the history. I had no context. So, the United I first watched was Wayne Rooney. Dimitar Berbatov.


SM:

Oh, wow.


AR:

Nani, um, you know, you still had, uh, Giggs playing. You still had, I think it was the, towards the end of Scholes’ career, right before he came back one more season ‘cause Fergie begged him too.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

Um, but you had, um, yeah, I remember you had Nani, you had Rooney really at the height of his powers to some extent. Um, and, uh, you had Ji-Sung Park and I'm very into Korean culture and Korean food. So, at the time I was actually dating, uh, someone, uh, that, that shared that lineage. And so, I was really, uh, just really into that team. And, you know, everyone said, oh, glory fan, glory hunter. And I didn't understand that that was the case, ‘cause quite frankly it was all I knew. And um, then, uh, a friend of mine told me about the links, uh, that Tottenham had with the Jewish community.


SM:

Huge. Yes, absolutely.


AR:

And I was really into that. And then, my very first press junket, I'm sitting in my room, um, at the Soho and I am watching Sky Sports or something. And I guess Gareth Bale had just re-signed his contract with Spurs and I watched, uh, Gareth Bale destroy Inter Milan. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

. . . uh, rag, um, Maicon, who was the best right back in the world at the time. And people were shouting Taxi for Maicon and what he could do with his left foot and someone said his left foot alone could be insured at Sotheby's for $17 million or something. But I was deeply in love with Garrett Bale and I just said, okay, wherever he is. And then I saw Rafa van der Vaart talk and his passion. . . . That it wasn't just cashing a paycheck. You know, they said, what's your best goal you scored at Spurs. He said, easy, everyone against Arsenal.


[Laughter]


Like little things like that. So, then I, I like the fact that it wasn't Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, United. That I would say to people, they would say, and I wasn't gonna support anyone. My sound guy and best friend, Eric Beanie, said, dude, don't. . . even if you have a team, don't tell anyone your team. ‘Cause once you have a team, you're gonna be hated by everyone else. And you should just say, I love the game. I love the game. And he's probably right. But I thought that that was a little bit of a [. . .] maneuver and I figured I wanted to have skin in the game. I liked van der Vaart. I liked Bale. I love the aphorism of Audere est Facere – to dare is to do – which is the club motto. So much so, I have it tattooed on my wrist.


SM:

I love it. I love it.


AR:

And I love it. I'm actually, I'm staring, I'm setting up my office. I just moved in. I have Ryan Mason's autographed Jersey facing me right there.


[Laughter]


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

And uh, so yeah. So, thank you for indulging me. But the thing is, I also love going to smaller clubs. That's why I bought shares in Grimsby. I contributed to Operation Promotion, uh, when they were looking to try to get funds to get better players as they themselves got promoted. But, it's the smaller clubs that I think is the backbone. Like someone was shocked. I met someone from Kidderminster that was shocked. I knew the Harriers. Or that I knew who Dagenham & Redbridge was.


SM:

I love it.


AR:

Or that I. . . You know, oh. Your team, Rotherham United, I knew Rotherham from the Arctic Monkeys. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


Of course.


AR:

. . . from their lyrics.


[AR singing a line from Arctic Monkeys’ “Fake Tales of San Francisco”] You’re not from New York City, you’re from Rotherham.


And so, I love it. And I, I, um, there's just a tribal passion and fury and beauty to the game in England that is something to behold. And, and I love it.


[Laughter]


SM:

I, uh, before we move on. We, I probably should get back to food. But the, the joke I always talk about Rotherham when I go there is, you phone them up and say, what time will the game start? They go, what time can you turn up?


AR:

[Laughter]


SM:

But I love Rotherham United with all my heart. And, uh, I watch every day. And I'll watch the videos. And I'll, I'll see everything. So, there, my father was the club doctor there. And that. . .


AR:

Really?


SM:

Yeah. Yeah. My. . . that's the team that was. . . . They're just in my soul more than anything else. I could watch. . . .


AR:

That's beautiful.


SM:

I could get a ticket for any game in the world. And I would still rather go to the place that's called the New York stadium. And the reason is Rotherham was a big steel town and they created, if you go around New York, they created all of the manhole covers in New York were created in Rotherham. 


AR:

No idea.


SM:

So, there you go. Now. . .


AR:

No idea.


SM:

Our poor editors gonna go, should we keep this in? And I go, yes. We're gonna talk about football. It's my podcast. So anyway, let's go, let's go back and do some food.


AR:

Sure.


SM:

Um, and one of the things I did when I was reading, um, uh, “America, the Edible,” and that joy came out. And one of the things that came out was just how wide your understanding was of these extraordinary immigrant communities that we have in the United States. So, when I talk about food here in the United States and people ask me, I go, I actually think, pandemic aside, that we're on the edge of a golden age. We've got this incredible craft industry rebuilding up here in the United States. We've got these fantastic chefs moving from New York, LA, Chicago into smaller towns, ‘cause they want to raise a family.


And the other thing that makes me so excited, I mean, so excited about food in this country is we've got second and third generation immigrant. . . uh, people who've come through immigrant communities and are now bringing their kind of culinary styles into the American vernacular. And so, what I want to do is rather than go top, ‘cause usually I said to people, tell us your top five or tell us your, whatever this season particularly I've been chatting or previously with Alton Brown or whoever. What I wanted is your favorite immigrant communities. ‘Cause I think they all contribute to the food that we have here. And I think we have one of the most exciting food scenes. I mean probably the most exciting anywhere in the world right now in the US. So, I just sent that out to you and said, why don't you tell me, you know, top five, what you love, what you love about the people, what you love about the history of them, what you love, and what food you would go, and where would you go and get it?


So not much of a challenge.


[Laughter]


AR:

Well, I mean, I, I can say like, ‘cause you know, I, I, I personally. . . . Look, you know, my, my family, like so many Jewish families were immigrant families that settled on the Lower East Side and settled in Brooklyn and settled throughout lower Manhattan. So, I, I don't, you know what I mean? I respect and revere anyone with the courage to immigrate to America and assimilate into our culture ‘cause we don't necessarily. . . .


SM:

Oh, I’m one of them.


[Laughter]


AR:

Yes, exactly. And, and we don't necessarily make it, uh, very, very easy. Um, so I, I would say culinarily, I mean, right now some of my favorite contributions from immigrant communities, I would say number one, bar none, the Korean community. Um, whether you're talking about Los Angeles or Bayside Queens, or you're talking about 32nd street in Manhattan, I think their influence is massive and broad ranging. I think that there is, um, you know, everything from Korean fried chicken finding its way into the popular zeitgeist to flavors like Gochujang, Doenjang, Ssamjang finding its way in where white people are talking about let's get some KBBQ. Where, um. . . . I also think that there is a profound degree of visual showmanship to so much, uh, of the food within the community. That is to say, not even. . . . Not excluding Korean barbecue itself. The visual array of banchan, the side dishes, you get.


SM:

Yes.


AR:

Cooking your own meat. The way you can create a different flavor in each of the little bites when you use the lettuce. And you can marinate. And you can add a pickle this and a fermented that, and a grilled that, and a, whatever. It's just magnificent.


And that's not even touching the stews, the soups, the soondubu-jjiggae, the, the, the yukgaejan. You know, there's just these myriad dishes. You know, the pancakes, the haemul pajeon. The, the japchae, the noodle dishes. Um, you know, dishes that mix, uh, proteins that we ordinarily might like. Osam bokkeum that has pork belly and squid with rice cakes. And, you know, it's magnificent. So, and then just to augment that, um, Korean culture has so permeated American culture, that now you have one of the number one things on Netflix being a Korean series.


SM:

Yes.


AR:

You have one of the number one bands in the world being a Korean band with BTS. Suddenly, you have rappers like Lil Uzi Vert saying, this is my favorite K-pop band. There was a K-pop. . . . I, I stay in West Hollywood usually when I go to LA. On Sunset, right by The Roxy, there was a huge line. I went over. I said, what's this for? And it was for white people, Black people, Latin people lining up for a K-pop band.


SM:

Wow.


AR:

So, I think that there's definitely something, something there.


Um, I would say number two would be. . . . I know that the US government has a One China policy. I do not. So, I'm gonna sort of do a one, a 2 and 2(a) with China and Taiwan. Um, I am personally obsessed with Sichuan food. . .


SM:

Mm-hmm


AR:

. . . um, because it's not hot for hot’s sake. Like some of the stupid challenges I did on “Man v. Food.” Um, the, the big buzzword is. . . in Sichuan is Mala. . .


SM:

Yep.


AR:

. . . it's ting. . . hot and tingle.


SM:

Have you been, have you been to Sichuan at all?


AR:

No, I am dying to. I've never been to China.


SM:

Oh, it, it. . . . I will say that it is one of those great experiences. I've been fortunate enough to travel around China quite a bit. And when you go there and you will literally see both the berry, you know, the ash berries or the peppercorns or whatever they call. . .  uh, in one, and you'll see the chilies just drying on the streets in some of the villages and, and you. . . . The smell as you walk through is that very, uh, almost numbing smell that you get, obviously, from them. And to me, that. . . . China is, obviously, is like saying Chinese food. . . . It's, there's so many different cuisines from the south. . .


AR:

Right, exactly.


SM:

. . . to Chang Mai, which is probably not, Chang Mai, sorry. Um, from Xi’an rather.


AR:

Chengdu.


SM:

Chengdu and Xi’an. those are the two areas where I tend to go to and just go, this is incredible.


AR:

Yeah.


SM:

But tell me more about your, for, for your. . . .


AR:

For Chinese cuisine. I mean, for me, it's, it's, my father, may he rest in peace, had a law office in Chinatown. So, it was one of the foods I was exposed to very early on in terms of what Americans might consider unusual. Things like chicken feet and jellyfish and bitter melon soup, or winter melon soup, excuse me, things like congee and savory porridges. Um, but also, um, you know, knowing Taiwanese people and seeing that distinction and seeing where that bleed through is. So, like, I was in Hong Kong and there was a place on Jaffe Road in Hong Kong called Hot Star. And it was the spectacular fried chicken. But I heard that that is a Taiwanese style, fried chicken. Popcorn chicken is decidedly Taiwanese. Um, there are flavors like egg and tomato, and oxtail and things that I normally. . . . Like oxtail. I always sit with Caribbean cuisine. Um, I, I, I really had to remember, you know, that this does exist in other continuums. Um, but I love, I love that. I love, like you said, I love how region to region within the same nation, you know, people are mesmerized how American barbecue changes from region to region.


SM:

Yep.


AR:

But that's from Hunan to Sichuan to Canton to Peking. I mean, there's just so many different. . . . Fuzhou. There’s all these different intricacies. And whether a river runs through like Wuhan, you know, the eels and rivers. So. I think that it's so fascinating. So Chinese, uh, without question, and I think that also, uh. . . .


SM:

Can I, I just like, I'd just like to add there, just, just to throw in some history to the people listening to this as well. You know, one of the big questions we have often people go, well, why are there so many Chinese restaurants? And a lot of that goes back to the Chinese Exclusion Act, obviously. . .


AR:

Correct.


SM:

. . . which was, were, you know, Chinese people were not allowed in, but the only reason you were, was if you were a merchant or you ran a restaurant. So, a number of people started, we've got over 40,000 Chinese restaurants here in the United States. And the reason that we have so many of them is in a lot of towns, those people who were there, who had worked on railways had done all kinds of things, decided they would open a restaurant and it was their way of staying in the United States.


So, from a historical point of view, I think Chinese food is extraordinarily important to the way that America is being created. And so not only the food. And if you ask me one of my favorite things in New York, Dim Sum Go Go that does a roasted chicken completely covered in pan fried garlic, crunchy garlic bits, and it's a whole chicken spatchcock deep, you know, in that beautiful way, deep fried and just entirely covered in amount of garlic.


AR:

Love it.


SM:

If you get ch. . . and, and it very cheap. It's in, in Chinatown. And if you get chance go there, it's called Dim Sum Go Go. But anyway, I just wanted to add that little, the history in.


AR:

Done. I wanna go there today. But no, it's funny you mentioned that. That was in last week's episode. Nevada meets the ’80s. ‘Cause we filmed with the very first Panda Express and they're all still family owned, first generation immigrants. It's the Cherng family. And um, we talked about that, how initially there was this wave of Asian immigration and the Exclusion Act came in and um, it's interesting. The euphemism was Chop Suey House. That's what they were all sort of categorized as. And um, I think that it is one of those moments where you come to the place where you started the seed again for the first time. And I think, you know, there is that Americanized Chinese food that maybe foodies turn their noses up at. You know, uh, the General Tso’s, the Beef Lo Meins, the Orange Chickens. What have you. Honey Walnut Shrimp. What have you. But the bottom line is all that stuff that we may consider mall Chinese or consider Americanized Chinese. That, still, is doing the very important job of introducing Americans to flavors outside their immediate world. Their immediate purview.


SM:

And my. . . no, sorry.


AR:

No, I'm just saying it's extremely important. That's all.


SM:

And I think my view on that, sorry to interrupt. My view on that is, if it. . . . I treat it as a separate cuisine, just like I treat American Italian as a separate cuisine or just like in England, I treat Britain in British Indian restaurant food as a different cuisine from Indian food.


AR:

Yes.


SM:

So going in and having Chicken Tikka Masala, which is a British dish, is very different from going to a regional Indian restaurant. But you go to a great Tandoori House in England, in Manchester or wherever after a football match, there's nothing better in the world. And actually, really, really good. You know, orange chicken is fantastic.


AR:

Yes.


SM:

And so sometimes I get people going, oh, well this, this or this. And I go, no, no, you treat it as a separate cuisine. But it plays that part.


AR:

I love, I love that euphemism. And you know, that’s the other thing that I love about diners in the UK is that Southeast Asian cuisine has so been assimilated into English culture, just like Turkish cuisine with regard to kabobs, you can’t go up and down Edgeware road. . .


SM:

Oh yes.


AR:

. . . and not hit a kabob place. That, um, the thing for me that blew my mind is I have a friend from East London who can order mellifluously. Like at an Indian restaurant, not like he's ordering in Hindu or Urdu. But I'm saying that to hear my friend Kev, my buddy Kev AG is going. . .


[AR speaks in a British accent] Yeah, I think I have a jalfrezi. Oh, think I maybe have a couple, couple papads and like a jalfrezi.


And you're like, what, what, you know, but that's the thing that there is this incredibly well known. . . .


SM:

Yeah. It's part of our culture in, in a . . . . And if you want my recommendation for one of my favorite places to go, uh, in the East End is Tayyab’s in Whitechapel.


AR:

Oh, I love Tayyab’s. Yeah. I've been there. I filmed there. The lamb chops.


SM:

Oh yeah.


AR:

Gotta know about the lamb chops and Tayyab’s in Whitechapel, baby.  [Inaudible] the Dalton Yards.


SM:

Wassim has been a friend for 20. . . . The owner has been a friend for 20 something years and uh, I keep threatening to go to Pakistan with him whenever we get the chance. So, if anyone's listening and they're in London, go to Tayyab’s in Whitechapel and have the lamb chops.


AR:

Absolutely. It even says on Twitter. I love that that's what their bio says on their Twitter profile. We're the, we're the place with the lamb chops.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

It's, it's breathtaking. They have their own marinade. And what they do is when they mallet the lamb chops thin they take care to slightly crush the bone.


SM:

Oh yeah.


AR:

The tail bone of that chop. And it releases that marrow and that flavor. It is spectacular.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

Um, so I would say, uh, without question, I would say the other community, uh, I would take care to mention, um, I would say Mediterranean is a little too broad ranging, but I would say certainly, um, it, it's, there has to be like a focus certainly in New York. Somewhere between Turkish, Lebanese and Greek, uh, because, “A,” kabobs it's ubiquitous, especially after football matches, as you say. But in America, if you pull up the average delivery app, you're gonna find places that have Haydari. That are gonna have, um, different types of, of kabobs, like chicken adana. Or, um, different types, as opposed to just gyro or shawarma. That you're gonna find, um, things that are beside Cacik, um, which is a yogurt cucumber one. Haydari, which is my personal favorite with walnuts and garlic and dill with lemon with this thick yogurt. It and red meat go together like hugs and kisses.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

Um, but then also, you know, muhammara and these other dishes. But then you have Lebanese variance and you're finding these wonderful lentil soups, and you're finding, um, other sort of roasted eggplant dishes. And, you know, you have these different drinks, um, that, that you can order and, and different teas that are flavored with rose and mint and, and, um, even the, the sweets. You know, you have knafeh and the stringy sort of crispy pastry stuff. . .


SM:

Oh wonderful stuff.


AR:

Baklava. And I feel that, um, again, especially because, in recent American history, I think, um, people from the Mediterranean and from the Middle East have been so demonized and have been, uh, depicted as the villain, the other, the dirty, the evil in myriad, uh, aspects of pop culture from the ‘80s onward, quite frankly, that I feel that, um, the culinary contributions to the degree that you're finding, you know, white American kids though, they pronounce it “jyro,” uh, that they know what shawarma is. You know, in LA, uh, Vartkes and the whole gang from Zankou Chicken are dear friends of mine. And it's one of my, I can like. . . . I'm planning on going to Los Angeles later this week. I guarantee you a double double, animal protein style and a chicken shawarma from Zankou. [Inaudible]


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

Uh, but I think that, that those are some of the most wonderful flavors. And I feel that people who haven't explored them yet, should.


I guess maybe the fifth one, culinarily, speaking might be the Thai community. And I think that, simply put, Thai food is as ubiquitous as a burger joint these days. I just. . . I, I, I have not traveled to one city and, and especially filming the shows I'm currently doing where that's put me in places like Elyria, Ohio and Petaluma, California, and random little towns in Florida and in Mississippi and wherever, and in, in random little towns in, in, in Minnesota, Wisconsin. You can still find Tom Yum. You can still find Tom Kha Gai. And that you're finding. . . like you haven't lived until you've listened to someone from Massachusetts order Thai food.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

You know.


[AR speaking with a Boston accent] Tom Yum. Yeah. I'll have, uh, Pad Thai and, uh, I'll have that Satay.


Like, sure, buddy. And, uh, I, I just, I think that that's so fascinating. When I lived in Montgomery, Alabama, Hyundai had just moved, um, a plant there. So, you started to slowly see a proliferation of Korean restaurants, which were, you know, struggling in, mostly living on the back of the Hyundai population. And they, I spoke to one of the people from there who was shocked that I knew what to order, uh, being, uh, a white boy. And they said that the community was used to Chinese. They were now becoming acclimated to Thai. It was like slowly gonna take the inertia to get them. . .


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

. . . a little bit more into Korean food. But I think, uh, Thai cuisine, I think, um, at least where I live in New York, now it's a little provincial and you're finding lots of Pan-Asian places. . .


SM:

Yep.


AR:

. . . that are doing catch-all. So, it's a sushi place, but we also have ramen and we also have Pad Thai. And we also have satay. And we also have hand rolls. So, it's like all over the place. But, uh, I think that that is a profoundly influential community. And I think you look now. Lay’s potato chips, iconic American brand that dates back to, you know, World War II and beyond. . .


SM:

Yep.


AR:

. . . had sriracha flavor. You know, we're finding lemon grass and basil and limes and all these things. I mean, I went into a market in a very lily white area in Westchester County and I'm buying fish sauce and I'm buying coconut milk and galangal, and there's no way that was happening without the Thai community.


SM:

It isn’t. And I want to just give it an opportunity to have a shout out to one of my good friends in the business who I work with a lot is, uh, I think one of the people of. . .


AR:

Jet.


SM:

. . .Jet who's just, one of the, one of the good guys and has, uh, pushed . . .


AR:

Love you Jet Tila.


SM:

Yeah. He's pushed Thai food out. And I think does it in such an authentic, but accessible way that I think he, because he's such a great guy, that people just love it.


And the way, the way you talked about, uh, people in Britain talking about Indian food is the way I see a lot of Americans talking about Thai food. It's so much part of their kind of, uh, understanding now that they know what the different kind of noodle dishes are. They know what the rice dishes are. And it's something that's become part of the, kind of in a, in a good sense, the takeaway culture. You know, we have a very good Thai restaurant very near us. We order from it. And I think it's become part of that culture.


AR:

Jitlada.


SM:

Now that's part, uh, uh, no, I'm not. I'm away from there. So I'm near, uh, uh, Culver City, West LA. So, there's places here, but very good. Uh, Jitlada is, again, we like to give, um, recommendations where we talk about it. To me Jitlada is just one of the most remarkable places. And, and, uh, she's such an amazing woman who runs it. Unfortunately, her brother passed away a few years ago and he was incredible, but it's still going strong. It's still. . . . The, a menu that reads like the. . .


AR:

The Bible?


SM:

. . . the, I mean, it's so thick. Um. . .


AR:

Like even the cheesecake factory menu looks at Jitlada's menu and goes, damn that's long.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

When I was filming there, they, the Thai consulate workers from the consulate came there and I was like, they take people there. And it's, it's breathtaking ‘cause it's regional Thai cuisine that you're not normally going to get. It's ingredients like silkworm and frog that you're not normally going to get.


SM:

Yep.


AR:

They have an off-menu burger. You have to order a day in advance. Uh, which is. . .


SM:

I have never tried that.


AR:

Spicy as God tempting. I ate a chili. It was so hot the inside of my ear began to hurt. Um, but yes. And shout out to Jet Tila whose family owned the very first Thai market in the country. So yeah. And I think the fact that you and I know them, you and I culturally don't share a common thread necessarily. And yet here we are extolling the virtues of this one, brilliant Thai chef in Los Angeles. And I think that’s, that’s the key thing is that. . .


SM:

That's where our community comes together, I think. So. . .


AR:

Yes, sir.


SM:

. . . people often think that because we're in the same business, we all kind of drive around in a minivan solving mysteries together.


AR:

[Laughter]


I wish.


SM:

But. . .


AR:

I actually pitched a show like that once.


SM:

[Laughter]


But I think the fact that we all, we have certain people within there. . . .


I’m gonna ask you to add one more in ‘cause I want, and then we’re gonna ask you some fun questions.


AR:

Yes.


Really quickly. I'm gonna say, and I feel I'm being unduly, uh, Asia centric and I, I, I, I don't, I don't intend upon it, but I was, I guess probably this is from my own purview, but I'm now finding, uh, the Vietnamese community really. . . . I mean, ‘cause I could say the Latin community without question, right? Like, I had Mexican food last night.


SM:

Yeah.


AR:

And again, talking about communities that have been demonized by certain political forces that have risen above, risen above poverty, risen above profound disenfranchisement, uh, found a profound lack of, um, upward mobility from, you know, working in farms and working in production to finding that. And so, I feel that the, the Mexican and Latin American community is, is. . .


SM:

It's incredible.


AR:

. . . is, is so profoundly essential. And I think now the, the, um, now I think Americans again are now slowly realizing the difference. That you can't do pan Latin anymore.


And where I live in Westchester that now you're finding, you know, this Peruvian places is Ecuadorian places, Colombian places, Mexican places, Spanish places, even though that's Iberian and it's not Latin America. I still think that, uh, you're finding Americans being able to make that distinction and wanting Quinoa and roast chicken. And Aji Panca and Aji Amarillo from a Peruvian. . . . they may want Bandeja Paisa from a Colombian meal. Or a pupusas. I was so happy. I saw an El Salvadorian place. I just went for a drive yesterday and I found this El Salvadorian place. So, pupusas and you know, you can get cachapas and you can find ceviches and you know, um, leche de tigre ceviches. 


And I think that, uh, the, that community, I was going to say Vietnamese community, but as I was talking, I think, you know, to change it up. But also, um, just a few years ago, our commander in chief was talking about people crossing the Southern border being killers and rapists and bringing drugs, crime and violence.


When you realize, if you drive through LA, these are the hardworking guys selling oranges at the corner, these are the people working in the fields. These are the people that are working hole in the wall restaurants serving the best damn tacos. And these, these trucks that are family owned and these people work ridiculous hours to make it happen. And, uh, here they are in this city with a Latin name, uh, where the streets all have Latin names and saw profound disenfranchisement and demonization and a lack of inclusion.


SM:

Yep.


AR:

And now we're living in this place where there's Gracias Madre on Melrose.


[Laughter]


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

There's these beautiful places where you can sample these guisados tacos that Jonathan Gold was, may he rest in peace, singing the praises of. So, I think that, um, the Latin community, um, undoubtedly. . . . And again, you stop and you take a step back and you look at pop culture and you look at artists like J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, Maluma. Huge. 


Then you look at, you know, whether it's movies like Y Tu Mama Tambien breaking in. Or whether it's Narcos or whether it's, uh, Money Heist. And Spanish language programming is now as vital as current. Like I learned Bad Bunny songs, phonetically, I speak a decent amount of Spanish


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

But like, now, my favorite song is “Soy Peor” by Bad Bunny.


[AR singing in Spanish]


And I'm like, so like, oh, you speak Spanish. I'm like, no, I know the sounds he makes. I imitate the sounds.


[Laughter]


SM:

I love it. I love it. Uh, uh, I, I, I know we could, I know we could talk a lot about this.


AR:

I’m a gin wagger, baby. I admit it.


SM:

No. Are you kidding? I could, I, I could do the same, even in the fact that I have an RP accent and I, ‘cause I had all my Rotherham knocked out of me when I was a kid.


AR:

You've got a beautiful accent. I'm very jealous of it.


SM:

[Laughter]


It’s like I said, it’s the only reason I get any work.


AR:

[Laughter]


BREAK MUSIC


SM:

Hi everybody, this is Simon Majumdar, the creator and host of the Eat My Globe food history podcast. Now, those of you have been listening to the podcast since we began over two years ago – nearly 50 episodes so far – will know that we have never sought out sponsorship for the podcast. It’s very much been a labor of love. However, along the way, a large number of people have approached us suggesting they would like to support the podcast. And so, we have opened up a page on Patreon dot com to allow those of you who listen regularly to do just that. Any support we will get will allow us to purchase research materials, buy ingredients for recipes, and maybe, when we can get out and about, to bring you some very special in-the-field reporting. But, and this is really important. This is not just a one-way street. For varying levels of membership of our Patreon club, there will be access to fantastic Eat My Globe swag, including that incredible chopping board so many of you have written to me about, recipes based on historical periods about which we chat each week, video shout outs, signed pictures, and even along the way, some very special episodes just for members. So, if you’ve enjoyed the episodes of Eat My Globe you’ve listened to so far, and would like us to make many more into the future, do head over to www dot Patreon dot com slash Eat My Globe and consider taking out a membership. Any support will be much appreciated. Remember, that’s www dot Patreon dot com slash Eat My Globe. So, thank you very much, and keep listening.


SM:

Let's some fun questions and then we're gonna get you to give everyone all your social media and blah, blah, blah.


AR:

Copy that. Copy that. Let's do it.


SM:

So, let's do some fun questions and before, um, okay. If there was a period in time where you could return to, to experience a meal or a style of a meal or a cocktail or whatever you want, what would it be?


AR:

Hmm. In America?


SM:

It could be anywhere. It could be any period in history.


AR:

Oh, man.


SM:

It could be any, it could be any, any time, any place anywhere.


AR:

Yes. So, I read Agatha Christie at a really impressionable age and I read about the Paris-Simplon Orient Express.


SM:

Yeah.


AR:

And so, I have struggled with insomnia and I've been using the com app. They have, uh, they have a, um, sleep stories. And one of them is about a British train called the Golden Arrow. And uh, and it would meet the Flèche Dorée, once you got to, uh, Paris, which is the French for Golden Arrow. And some of the meals that were prepared on these grand old trains. Uh, and I think that I've always loved that aesthetic of early 19, early 20th century, man, the waist coat, the, the, the, the comportement and, and, you know, I went to Rules restaurant in London also.


SM:

Know it very well. Very well.


AR:

I mean, but you stop and you go, well, the Charles Dickens ate here. Royalty ate here. And, and you know, the, the history of this place. That, um, there, there is just something, you know, having tea at the Dorchester or the Ritz. That there is just something there is, I don't know. When you put on the dog a little bit and get maybe a little tipsy and you indulge going to Bob Bob Ricard and pressing the champagne button while you. . .


SM:

I know, I know all those guys. Rules by the way, the room upstairs, which used to be the room that Edward VII would go and have his affairs in. . .


AR:

Sneak up.


SM:

. . . has the best, is the best bar in London.


AR:

Is that right?


SM:

They turned it into the most gorgeous. . . . Every seat is, uh, is from Rolls Royce red leather. Every seat, every cocktail is exquisite there. Uh, and they do the most incredible kind of little goodies while you're eating them. Next time. If we, we should go, what we should do is go to a Tottehnham match and then go to Rules and have some wines from the former colonies.


AR:

I would love to, because normally I go to Tottenham matches and they lose. And there's one place I go to, to drown my sorrows and cholesterol. Uh, I go to a, a place, uh, not far from, uh, oh my gosh. Uh, uh, why can't I think of. . . with the Landmark, the Landmark Hotel is in Marylebone.


SM:

Yes.


AR:

And it's called SeaShell of Lisson Grove.


SM:

Oh, yeah, yeah. It's one of the famous fish and chip shops.


AR:

That's what I drowned my sorrows in. After the battle of the bridge, I made a B line for that. After, I remember, uh, Tottenham were down two nil to Chelsea.


SM:

Oh.


AR:

And I said, am I the guy who drives me around is a West Ham supporter. So, he loves when Spurs lose. So, it was two nil. I walked back down to the car and he was making fun of me. And I go, come on, it's two nil. He's like. . .


[AR speaking in a British accent] Four nil, mate.


And I said, what do you mean four nil? He's like, oh yeah, they brought on, um, I think it was Demba Ba or, oh, I think it was same. And he came on and scored two more goals in the time it took me to walk from the stadium to the car.


[Cross Talk]


So, anyway, um, but yeah, so I, I think that I would love to go back to maybe Roaring. . . like Gatsby era London -ish and, uh, and, and experience that, uh, that food, because I guess swinging London in the sixties is probably awesome. But I don't really know too much about the food then, but I definitely think that when I read about these grand teas and these grand meals and these wonderful, beautiful train cars, these opulent grand hotels, there is some kind of Merchant Ivory fascination I have with it.


SM:

That that would be perfect. And I'm just gonna drop in here ‘cause we're again, all about the recommendations. My favorite fish and chip shop is actually Master’s Superfish in Waterloo. If you don't know it just around the corner from the Old Vic.


AR:

On the South Bank.


SM:

Yeah. Uh, further down towards Water. . . . Right close to the Elephant and Castle, right around, right around the corner from the Old Vic Theater. It's called Master’s Super Fish. Best Fish and Chip shop in London.


AR:

Really?


SM:

Yeah.


AR:

And I'll give you two bars. The mirror bar at the Landmark Hotel. . .


SM:

Oh yeah. Awesome. Awesome.


AR:

Marylebone.


And is wonderful. Great absinthe drinks. Great, great drink. And my favorite cocktail, one of my, uh, favorite was at the Dalaunay.


SM:

Oh.


AR:

They make a sazerac, but with Cognac. Blew my mind. So good. And then I would say the third one is called the Arts Theater Club in Soho. It's a long flight of stairs downstairs, but they make cocktails. You can share out of vin. . ., they serve out of vintage teapots and uh, they're wonderful. And they do drinks where they take a shaving from a barrel stave, burn it and they put you, they invert the glasses. So, the glasses get filled with the smoke. And as they, as they turn it up, they pour the cocktail. So, the smoke and the liquid mix.


SM:

I've never been there. I, the, um, the Cognac drink – just throwing in a little bit of history there – originally, sazerac was made with Cognac ‘cause it was French. And then when they blockaded New Orleans, they started to add rye to the Cognac to water it. . . not water it down, but kind of make it last. And then they, by the time they finished, it basically became a rye drink. So, in fact, my, my lovely wife actually drinks her, Cognac, her, uh, Sazerac, half Rye, half Cognac.


Okay. Couple of quick other questions.


AR:

Yes. ‘Cause I'll be quicker on these next ones.


SM:

No, no, no. You can talk as much as you'd like. I just wanna, I'm conscious of your time. You can stay all day.


AR:

No, please. My pleasure brother. Uh,


SM:

Okay. So, if you were gonna have a dish named after you, like, you know, you had Lobster Newberg or Peach Melba or, and it was gonna be so and so Richman or so and so Adam, what would it be?


AR:

I would like, uh, like a type of steak preparation, like the way that there's like a Pittsburgh, you know, you can get a Pittsburgh style. . .


SM:

Yep.


AR:

. . . or you can, um, an Imperial, excuse me. Means like topped with crab meat or something like that, that it's like, like a rib eye, uh, medium rare. And can you give it to me Richman? Or can you, can you, can you do a Richman on that?


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

Like, or can you, can you do like a Richman style? Like I would love to, I don't know. There's just something about the steakhouse experience where, I don't know, it's sort of like becoming part of male lore.


SM:

Would you have a, would you have your, a cartoon of you on the wall, like at the Palm?


AR:

[Laughter]


Oh man, I certainly hope not. This face is cartoony enough. I can't imagine. The last time someone drew a, a caricature of me, I, I came out. It was, it was, uh, wow. It looked like Seth Rogan, Jay Leno, and a bear ran head long into one another. It was not a good look. Um, but I, I think that it would be one of those things where like someone must have been like, oh, it's what rich men ordered. Like, no, no it's named for someone. Richman is someone's name. And then you, you know, I just think that, you know, you hear about like a cocktail called the Gibson. . .


SM:

Yep.


AR:

. . . or whatever. Um, I don't know. I mean, I, I think that Marie Antoinette gets the, the distinction of knowing that a coup glass is the size of her breast. I don't necessarily want any sort of serving dish made after a part of my anatomy.


SM:

[Laughter]


AR:

Not even for a banana split. But I do think that like going, uh, I'll take a Filet Mignon, medium rare. And can I get that Richman? Thank you.


SM:

All over the world. I, well, I think we're gonna have to set out to make that happen.


AR:

Like I don't know what it would be like. Do you flame the, do you do like a, I don't know, some kind of a gremolata. I don't know what it is. I don't know if it's flaming it off with bourbon. I don't know what it is. Bourbon and butter and you flame it. I don't know something like this. So, it's kind of got that burned noisette melted corn toasted cooked bourbon feeling. I don't know. This doesn't exist, but it would be, it'd be cool. Nothing else just Nachos Adam. I’ll take it.


SM:

[Laughter]


Nachos Adam sounds good too. That sounds like a bad country singer.


AR:

[Laughter]


SM:

Uh, okay. Final one of the fun questions before we let you give everyone all your social medias and everything. So, uh, you you've traveled all over and you've seen dozens of inventions. And if you had to choose what was the single most important invention in food or drink history? Like it doesn't matter. It could be, people have said ice. People have said. . .


AR:

Yeah.


SM:

I think Alton, Alton, I think said the brown paper grocery bag, which was really fun. Interesting.


AR:

He's, I mean, he's a brilliant, brilliant man.


SM:

Just the best.


AR:

Um, I might say the refrigerator. I just think, um, allowing p. . . .  Minimi. . . . It allows us. . . . I mean, sadly the United States is still the country that deals with the significant amount of food waste. But. . .


SM:

Yes, it does.


AR:

I think that it eliminates, eliminates a lot of it. Allows families to hold onto things longer than they might, uh, which adds value. It eliminates, uh, a great degree of airborne and foodborne pathogens, which can lead to profound, profound illness. Um, and I also think refrigeration. . . . Um, I filmed an episode of Modern Marvels with the Blue Apron, uh, meal kit company.


SM:

Oh yeah.


AR:

And they talked to me about the cold chain. The cold chain, for those of you who don't know is, is a temperature-controlled chain of shipping from the farm or the processing plant to the market. So, raw beef has to be kept at a certain temperature from the time it leaves the slaughterhouse to the time it reaches your butcher counter, um, as does your cheeses, your dairy, whatever. And I think, um, the refrigerated train car, the refrigerated, uh, uh, trailer on a truck, um, and the refrigerator in one's home, I think, allows for choice and variety, which I think is, uh, important for everyone. You know, I, uh, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York, um, my crew and I got together. We made a bunch of dishes. We made a bunch of sandwiches and I remember a reporter said, you know, why did you do white and wheat?


Or why did you do chicken salad or tuna salad and peanut butter and jelly. Like everyone's hungry. Wouldn't it have been easier. . . . It seems like it's quite labor intensive to do. We did 30 of this kind. I said, because they’re still human beings.


SM:

Yep.


AR:

And just because the tragedy has struck doesn't mean we should lose agency. Doesn't mean you should lose the parts of you that make you, you. It doesn't mean, first of all, I wanted to allow for religious sensibilities and Brighton Beach, there's a Muslim community and the Seventh Day Adventist. And so, you wanna be accommodating there. But I also feel that just, um, giving people a choice is a sign of respect. And it, at times, when fate seems to have robbed you of everything that makes you, you and make you human for someone to remember that, I think, is just, uh, so important. And, uh, so yeah, I just think that having a refrigerator gives you choice. And, uh. . .


[Laughter]


I remember in the UK, I was pitched a show. There was a study that said that people eat the same foods on the same nights.


SM:

Oh yeah.


AR:

Like year in, year out.


SM:

It’s a big thing in England.


AR:

Yeah. Yeah. That it's understood. And that they sent me the sketch of someone going. . .


[AR speaks in a British accent] garlic bread. You mean garlic?


SM:

Oh, Peter K. I know who it is. Peter K.


AR:

[AR speaks in a British accent] You bastard, you bastard.


Yeah. And that's what I mean, that is this exploration into other flavors. But I think that you have the ability to have variety. You have the ability to precook certain dishes before your company arrives. You have the ability to take dishes home from expensive restaurants and preserve them and save them and repurpose them. Um, you can keep things at a safe temperature. And if you do little research or take a, a health department course, and you know where to put raw and where to put cooked and where to put vegetables and that, I think, um, it's allowed us to have a, a wider edible world, but I also feel it has allowed us to leave lead healthier lives. And plus, now, you know, you can store medicines that have to be kept at a certain temperature at home in a safe manner. So, I think, uh, I'm gonna go with refrigerator.


SM:

Which is brilliant, ‘cause a couple of seasons ago, I actually did the history of refrigeration as an episode on Eat My Globe. And I talked all about it from Persian times with wind coolers to all the way up to. . .


AR:

Salted ice.


SM:

Yep. All the way up to the modern day. And it's really fascinating, including if you go and listen to it, a guy called Frederick “the Ice King” Tudor, who in the 1850s, used to cut ice from Walden Pond and send it to India so they could put them in gin and tonics.


AR:

Is that right? How would he transport them from Walden Pond. . . .


SM:

He wrapped it, he put it in a box, a huge box, wrapped it in hay and it lost about 15% on its route there. And then they would sell it at gentleman's clubs in the gin and tonics in ice. And for, and he all also gave, was the first person to give ice to all the cocktail makers in New Orleans so that they could create the ice cocktail, which is a great American invention. So, this guy, who fascinating guy, Frederick “the Ice King” Tudor uh, amazing, amazing guy.


AR:

Wow.


SM:

Shipping ice from Walden Pond to India, the Seychelles, to Australia, uh, to the Caribbean to make. . . so they could make cocktails there and make drinks.


AR:

A good thing I wore a hat. So, it didn't get messy when you blew my mind.


SM:

Uh, it's so fascinating. So, I think that's a great place to finish our question. And, and uh, let's just have you share where people can find you. ‘Cause what you. . . I've got from you now is what we get from your social media, just this incredible, just kind of range and humor and just kind of wise thoughts. So, where can people find you?


AR:

Cool. So, um, on Twitter and Instagram, I am at Adam Richman [Ed. Note: @AdamRichman]. Um, I, uh, what am I on TikTok? I don't even know what my own handle is. I'm actually pulling it up now. I do it so seldom at Adam Richman on TikTok as well. [Ed. Note: @AdamRichman] A D A M R I C H M A N. Um, you can find me on all of those places, Facebook as well. I have, uh, the pages, uh, caricature of my face with no eyes for some reason. Um, but anyway, so that's on Facebook. And then if you wanna watch any of the shows.


SM:

Yep.


AR:

Sunday nights on History, Channel 9, 8 central is “The Food that Built America,” season three. That's the one where we go through, um, the iconic people, the iconic brands that sort of shape the country. This season's all about like the contrast between famous, famous and Mrs. Fields, Benihana, TGI Friday’s. Um, and so on. Then we have, um, a Schlitz and Pabst, uh, and then my show, “Adam Eats the 80s,” 10, 9 central looking back at one of the most I, like, iconic dynamic, energetic and amazing decades through the prism of food. And we look at the, uh, brands that became global and national icons. We work with food scientists to recreate foods from the eighties that have disappeared, um, from Keebler Magic Middles Cookies to recreating the original McDonald's fries that were fried in beef tallow.


SM:

Yep.


AR:

Coca-Cola made with sugar. Anyway, um, so that's 10, 9 central. It's all on the History Channel.


SM:

I just wanna say thank you. This was not only one of the most fun, but just one of the most interesting. Your thoughts on food just go from the most. . . . And I mean, this kind of intellectual and thoughtful and wise to the kind of the craziest and fun at the top.


AR:

Thank you.


SM:

And that thing that I said, uh, all the way through is just your joy. And the one thing I have and you can, people might see it behind me. I have a sign that just says, “Go Everywhere, Eat Everything,” which is my mantra for life. And the only thing is, if you don't do food with joy, there's no point doing it. So. . .


AR:

Amen.


SM:

. . . for someone who's just brought an immense amount of joy into my morning here in Los Angeles. I just wanna say, thank you.


AR:

My pleasure. Cheers.


OUTRO MUSIC


SM:

Do make sure to check out the website associated with this podcast at www dot Eat My Globe dot com where we will be posting the transcripts from each episode, along with all the references and resources we used putting the episodes together, in case you want to delve deeper into each subject. There is also a contact button, so please do let us know if there are any subjects that you would like us to cover.


And, if you like what you hear, please don’t forget to subscribe, recommend us to your family and friends and give us a good rating on your favorite podcast provider. That really makes a difference.

Thank you and goodbye from me, Simon Majumdar, and we’ll speak to you soon on the next episode of EAT MY GLOBE, a podcast about things you didn’t know you didn’t know about food.


CREDITS

The EAT MY GLOBE Podcast is a production of “It’s Not Much But It’s Ours” and “Producer Girl Productions”


[Pa pa pa pa pa sound]


and is created with the kind co-operation of the UCLA Department of History. We would especially like to thank Professor Carla Pestana, the Department Chair of the Department of History and Doctor Tawny Paul, Public History Initiative Director, for their notes on this episode. Also, a huge thank you to Sybil Villanueva for her help with the research and the preparations of the transcripts for this episode, which can be found on the website.

Published Date: June 6, 2022

Updated: June 20, 2022

For the annotated transcript with references and resources, please click HERE.