Written by Anita
May 29, 2010
Photos 2-4 courtesy of Apt3Photography
We recently joined Andrew Zimmern, the jovial creator and host of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, at an event (featured on GregslistDC!) to support the Global Explorers Compass program. Co-created by the Travel Channel and Global Explorers, the program provides scholarships for DC-area students to participate in educational, service-oriented adventures around the world. Dhani Jones (a former NFL linebacker and host of the Travel Channel’s Dhani Tackles the Globe) also was on hand to support this great cause.
The evening’s honorees included 20 students from KIPP DC’s AIM Academy. KIPP is a network of free open-enrollment college prep schools in under-resourced communities. Two Teach for America grads started KIPP by launching an intensive program at a Houston-area elementary school in 1995. The program’s success inspired them to expand the program, and today there are over 80 KIPP schools nationwide serving over 21,000 students. The AIM Academy students will be headed to Costa Rica through the Global Explorers Compass program next month. While there, they will enjoy local cuisine and record their travel stories in self-made videos.
The evening included drinks and some not-too-bizarre tastings from a variety of DC-area restaurants. We lapped up Vidalia’s head-on shrimp and yellow grits in a rich orange-colored sauce spiked with heirloom onions and swooned over Marcel’s exquisitely layered smoked salmon Napoleon topped with crème fraiche and plump steelhead caviar. We also couldn’t help noticing how much Andrew Zimmern adored Founding Farmers’ Bacon Lollis—Nueske’s bacon candied with cinnamon and a sticky brown sugar glaze (but then again, what’s not to love?).
A variety of raffle and silent auction items also were available, including Bizarre Food gift packs (freeze-dried crickets anyone?), behind-the-scenes sessions with Travel Channel celebs, and a 15-day journey through Turkey.
p.s. While in DC, Andrew Zimmern and his crew hit the rooftop of the House of Sweden, where they filmed an episode of Bizarre Foods focused on Swedish cuisine. Of course he had to sample the fermented herring…
We spoke with Andrew Zimmern about bizarre food (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and his work with the Global Explorers Compass program.
Q: What’s the worst bizarre food you’ve ever tasted?
A: The putrefied seafood and meat items. And every place seems to have them—whether it’s fermented pork from Asia or Hákarl (Icelandic shark).
Q: What’s the best bizarre food you’ve ever tasted?
A: Deep fried little Asian birds, ducklings, and chicks. You get five or six to a bag and you just eat them up. They’re crunchy and awesome!
Q: Have you been to any DC-area restaurants?
A: I recently went to Hank’s Oyster Bar and had a fantastic experience there.
Q: What’s your association with the Global Explorers Compass program?
A: This is a big initiative to raise money for at-risk kids to go to Costa Rica. Travel opens up a young person’s eyes to a different way of doing things in the world. It shows them that outcomes are not predetermined.