You’ve probably seen him on his now infamous TV show “Bizarre Foods” eating something like spiders, or cow eyeballs, or raw squids. Andrew Zimmern is the venerable, food-exploring host of Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods”. But he wasn’t always the world-hopping travel extraordinaire that he is today. Growing up in Manhattan in his early twenties, Zimmern became a helpless addict, homeless and friendless in the Big Apple.
We regularly hear stories about celebrities overcoming addiction, and Zimmern has a particularly unique one to tell. He sat down with The Fix last year to talk about his early days and you can read the entire post. His was a more debilitating addiction, which as mentioned before, left him homeless and hungry in New York City.
It is an interesting thread that emerges in the food service industry. Statistically, food service employees are one of the most likely occupations to suffer from addiction to drugs or alcohol. Perhaps this is because of the quick pace and energetic atmosphere or the long hours. It could also be because alcohol is in ample supply and within easy access in most restaurant environments. There are also reasons to believe that the micro-culture revolving around the food service industry endorses that kind of behavior.
However, Zimmern (and his Travel Channel colleague Anthony Bourdain) have gone from young talented chefs with substance abuse problems to realizing their potential as cultural ambassadors abroad. Living a sober life after addiction and finding a passion and calling is important in remaining sober and establishing a new livelihood.