In an interview with Food Republic during the recent Austin Food & Wine festival, Bizarre Foods host and D&G man Andrew Zimmern had some things to say about copycats. Specifically, unnamed shows that have tried to knock off the formula of both Bizarre Foods and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.
After saying some very complimentary things about Bourdain and his show, Zimmern says "I do think that everyone who came after us is extremely derivative." Calling the knock-offs "embarrassing," he also says the "theatrics and fantastisizing" of some areas of food media (particularly the bug-and-intestines eating areas) has the potential marginalize "people of the world who don't have as much as we do in America." The full quote, below; the rest of the interview over on Food Republic. Said Zimmern:
I do think that everyone who came after us is extremely derivative. I've seen people with little one year runs on obscure cable channels doing Totally Crazy Food and I'm like how embarrassing for them. I think the difference for us and what's great about the Travel Channel is that when the camera's go off, Tony is still Tony. He's that guy. I'm exactly that person. Both of us would be doing what we're doing if there were no cameras around.
You talk about cheapening the message, I think a lot of the theatrics and fantastisizing in the food and travel space when it comes to television, digital media, books, etc., has done nothing to enhance what we're trying to do. I think conversations like this are important and I think entertainment is important. I'm not a stodgy old stick in the mud, you've seen my show, I like to have a good time, but the degree to which we fantastisize eating things like crispy intestines in tacos is the degree to which we almost set apart from the other folks in the world, people of the world who don't have as much as we do in America and marginalize them. And that's exactly the opposite of what I'm trying to do.
· Andrew Zimmern Talks Bizarre Foods, Bourdain, Baseball [Food Republic]
· All Andrew Zimmern Coverage on Eater [-E-]