To call Andrew Zimmern an endless font of food knowledge is, let's be real, a serious understatement. The author, restaurateur, entrepreneur, and host/producer of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods franchise kicks off the second season of the Eater Upsell with a freewheeling conversation that touches on everything from eating horse mackerel on Namibia's skeleton coast to watershed moments in the evolution of New York dining to why the whitefish salad at Russ & Daughters is the best in the world. (Turns out, there's a real reason!) There's no one better to kick off the second season of our super-stacked podcast, featuring smart talk and shameless gossip with the food world’s most interesting people. Listen to (and read!) the whole thing here.
As always, you can get The Eater Upsell — hosted by Eater's own Greg Morabito and Helen Rosner — on iTunes, listen on Soundcloud, subscribe via RSS, or search your favorite podcast app. You can also get the entire archive of episodes — plus transcripts, behind-the-scenes photos, and more — right here on Eater.
Read the full transcript of our conversation from The Eater Upsell Season 2 Episode 1: Andrew Zimmern below, or listen to the audio above. Or do both simultaneously! Live your best life.
Andrew Zimmern: You know, a dessert that I make a lot for food events that was inspired by something that I had in Vietnam, which is left over from the French colonial occupation there, is basically a coffee-infused flan, and then they put whipped cream and shaved Vietnamese iced coffee ice over the top of it, and it is, I mean, I get a food woody just thinking about it. It is good. And it’s street food there! You can get it for, like, ten cents.
Helen Rosner: I want to take a moment to marinate in the beauty of that mental picture, but —
Andrew: My food woody, or the dessert itself?
Helen: The dessert itself. But let’s talk about your food woody.
Helen: Because that is a phrase that you have emblazoned on t-shirts that people can buy.
Andrew: Well, that is true, and it’s also been forbidden by different administrations at the television network for which I performed one of my many jobs. Some of them love it, because the fans go nuts. And it’s legitimately — there’s a couple of things that come out of my mouth that have stuck, that get used by myself and by other people and have become, I mean, God, I hate the idea of like, "Ooh, everyone has to have a catchphrase." It was completely by accident, but when we were shooting the pilot for the show, I actually looked at someone, and I said, "If it looks good, eat it!" And I was like, "Wow, that’s really good!" And they stuck it at the end of the show, and it’s how we end every show, and now people scream it at me from buses in foreign countries —
Helen: Better to scream that at you than "food woody."
Andrew: Correct. But I would prefer they scream "food woody" at me, because "food woody" to me is just one of those things — I’m preaching to the converted here, because the two of you love the world of food as much as I do, and the people listening to this, I think, are already across. They’ve made it from bridge to shore on the food issue. It’s a part of their lives. Otherwise, they’re not listening to the podcast. So it’s kind of like I’m bringing coals to Newcastle, but we all know the difference between a toe-curler and a food woody. I mean, a toe-curler is great, but every once in a while, when it’s like, "Oh my god!" You just, mmm.
Helen: I mean, not to get too anatomical—
Helen: But as a woman, I —
Andrew: You can have a woody!
Helen: I think I can understand exactly what we’re talking about with the toe-curler.
Helen: And the food woody, for me, as a ciswoman, is a little bit more of a metaphorical leap.
Helen: But I think I get it.
Andrew: Correct. And, as a man, it would be bad for me to coin a phrase that would be the —
Helen: Yeah, no.
Andrew: The bro version of the sister —
Helen: We don’t want to go for, like, the sploosh.
Andrew: Or anything like that. Although, with some Japanese and Asian foods, texturally, I mean, there’s a —
Helen: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: A whole range of things, but it’s —
Helen: Kids, stop listening now.
Andrew: Everything is skewed away from the ur-version of womanhood, despite the fact that we’ve named all our holidays after it, Mother Earth — we keep running away. It’s like women are scary to men, and men have been in charge of the world for too long. Someone was asking me, "Why do you only eat male anatomical parts?" It’s like, because so many of them are served around the world, and very few people serve female anatomical parts, although when I’ve had them from different animals, they are amazingly delicious.
Helen: I wonder if that’s just a pure logistical thing. Like, if you have cows, for example, a herd of cows —
Helen: You only need one male cow to make sure that all your female cows keep coming through, so you kill all the leftover male cows and eat their balls.
Helen: But there’s no point in slaughtering a female cow.
Andrew: ’Cause they can keep making other cows.
Andrew: There’s lots of other animals, other than that, though, out in the world, especially in the tribal world, or in certain countries where there are tribal markets and bushmeat is conveniently sold and, regardless of sex, a hunter has just, you know — you take out an agouti, it’s a giant rat that lives in South America. Delicious. One of my favorite animals to eat, because all it does is run around the forest, drinking the cleanest water, and eating fruit that falls from trees, so —
Helen: It’s like jamón ibérico.
Andrew: Oh my god! It’s unbelievable! But I mean, I now can just say thank you and leave, because you have encapsulated my career in one sentence, which is that what is one person’s weird is another person’s wonderful. And why do we fetishize these hams that are finished, or in some cases, fed their entire lives on a certain type of acorn at a certain place in the world? Although more and more just simply finished on, more raised in another country and bused in. It’s a dirty little secret. Once you go to pig farms in Portugal, and you start to learn about how Spain keeps up with its pork production, it’s pretty scary. But I find it hysterical that smoked jungle meat — I’ve had agouti, interestingly enough, that has been smoked, and then eaten it, and whether it’s aged for a couple of years, salted, and aged in the wind, or whether it’s put over planked wood in a jungle by a tribal people and smoked for a couple days, and then, you know, just left to air-dry, or in the Faroe Islands, they just take lamb and let it dry in the fog that comes in from the sea and that kind of preserves a little bit, ’cause of the salt in the fog, but kind of doesn’t, so it gets a little funky rot to it — these meats are as good, if not better, than even the bellota triple-X jamón ibérico. The world of food is fantastic. It’s why I love exploring it. And you find those things. And it is like drugs. I mean, you’re chasing the dragon, the high of being in that barn in the Faroe Islands, eating this dried lamb, raised on the grasses of these hills — I mean, the lamb there is the most delicious lamb. Everything that grows in the Faroe Islands, and not much does, is absolutely, insanely delicious. But what’s incredible is when you find something that matches up with the world’s best blank, and yet no one has access to it.
Greg Morabito: Ooooh.
Andrew: And that is what gives me a food woody, when you find something like that. Do you guys eat a lot of Japanese food?
Andrew: So there’s aji, horse mackerel, small one, usually they fillet the two sides, they’ll slice one fillet sort of sashimi-style, and then make a little tartar out of the other one with some grated daikon and scallion, and maybe a little bit of yuzukoshō or something, and they basically build this little dish on the frame of the horse mackerel and you’ll pay forty bucks for it in a good Japanese restaurant in London or Tokyo or New York or L.A. Sometimes more, depending on what the quality is. But, yet, these are bait fish down in Namibia, on the Skeleton Coast. And if only they had electricity and roads and a way to distribute it, the price would come down and more people would be able to eat this incredible fish, and it’s, you know, sort of my favorite example of where food woody meets global politics meets oppressed people meets social justice cause meets what the fuck are we doing in our food world?
Helen: I mean, they are all so phenomenally interconnected. There was this story I was reading in the New York Times this morning about how a Japanese ice cream bar has raised its price by ten yen, which is equivalent to about seven cents, and the company that makes this ice cream made a commercial to apologize to the entirety of Japan for raising the price of this ice cream seven cents.
Andrew: The Japanese love to apologize, though. Let’s not get, you know —
Helen: But apparently prices don’t really go up in Japan. Like, it’s very rare. And this article was explaining that the reason that this ice cream bar had to raise its price for the first time in twenty-five years was because they had previously gotten all of the lumber that they processed into the wooden sticks for their popsicles from China, but the Chinese logging industry was going through some sort of chaos, so they had to use more expensive lumber from Russia. And now that they’re using more expensive Russian wood, the have to raise the price of this product, that sells for the equivalent of seventy-five cents in the U.S., by ten percent, and do a massive public apology to the entire country. And it’s this idea that a popsicle stick, which holds the ice cream, can be buffeted by international logging industry —
Andrew: Isn’t the world great?
Helen: Everything is everything, right? It’s crazy.
Andrew: And, ironically, "Russian Wood" was Vladimir Putin’s nickname in high school.
Helen: Right back to the food woody. It all circles back.
Andrew: I couldn’t help it. It was right there. It was a softball.
Helen: You want to tell us one or two of the coolest things you’ve got going on right now?
Andrew: Oh my god. I make a bunch of TV shows. I have a production company that’s starting to take off, which is really, really cool. We have a hospitality company that I’ve been doing an ad hoc format for a long time, but is gaining a lot of traction and, amongst other brands, owns a stadium-concessions business called AZ Canteen, which is now in twelve cities, I think. And that’s very exciting and going on. I’m most excited because I take off July and August. I mean, I still have to do, like, voiceovers, and I still show up at my office a couple days a week, but July and August I try to take off and spend with my family, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and so I’m sort of obsessed with that right now. But, yeah, I’m lucky. My show’s in seventy-three countries, so, you know, I do fun projects with hotel brands, and I write cool articles for magazines sometimes, and I make cool branded content for companies.
Helen: You’re the embodiment of the modern, multifaceted celebrity.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Greg: And your head is on a hoodie that we all love in the Eater offices.
Andrew: My head is on a hoodie!
Andrew: That was a great idea. You talk about the logging industry issues, one of my ideas was I wanted to put the faces and heads of famous food personages—on.
Helen: So, this hoodie is brilliant. If you’re listening and you have not been an avid follower of the Eater Snapchat, which you should follow, a frequent guest on the Eater Snapchat is the Andrew Zimmern hoodie, which is this lovely, sort of purplish-gray article of clothing that has the profile of Andrew’s face on either side of the hood. So if you pull it up over your face, and your coworker is sitting immediately to your left or your right, out of the corner of their eye, they will think that Andrew Zimmern is working next to you.
Andrew: Correct. It comes in nice orange, as well. Available at AndrewZimmern.com.
Helen: Along with his food woody t-shirt. Which my husband wears around and people give him a weird look.
Andrew: It’s a great shirt because —
Helen Rosner: It’s so good!
Andrew: I did it in camp style: "Established 1961," the year I was born.
Helen: It’s written in wood!
Andrew: Yeah, it is written in wood. That’s a nice font. You know, you get to do fun things and make fun stuff like that when you get to a certain point, ’cause you get to just indulge your ideas. And all my partners are like, "Stop with new ideas. Let’s just focus and operationalize the stuff that we’re struggling with." I wanted to do the hoodies with other people’s faces on them, and, you know, just try to get down that road, you know, like, let’s put Beard’s face and Julia’s face on them, and stuff like that, and we just had to stop, ’cause it was a legal nightmare.
Greg: That’s a great idea.
Andrew: It is a great idea, right?
Helen: Let’s just do it illegally.
Andrew: Yeah. You know, you get sued, and then, people like me, I actually have stuff to lose. I’m always telling people about taking risks, and my whole life has been built around taking risks and knowing when to leap and when to not leap. And I’m fifty-four, not thirty-four, so I have enough life experience to look back and say, "Okay, here’s where it worked. Here’s where it didn’t." But the more stuff, the more skin you have in the game, the more risk-averse you become. When I didn’t have a child, it was easy for me to jump off a mountain in South Africa on television attached to a string, ’cause if I got hurt, I got hurt. But then now, I won’t do that, because I would be unable to be of value to my family in my body cast for six months, so I just won’t do it. So you make decisions based on self with, or not based on self earlier in your career, and then you do it based on self and what you find valuable later in your career. I try to remember that as a way to remind myself to keep taking more risks, and just be smarter about it.
Helen: That’s something that comes up not infrequently on this show, I think. When we talk to, you know, a lot of the people that we have on The Upsell are chefs and restauranteurs who are sort of at the mid- to late-points in their careers, right? They’ve moved out of the wild, bad-boy or bad-girl phase, and they’re starting to settle into being restauranteurs or managers. And that tension is something that I think comes up a lot.
Andrew: It’s the artist’s lament.
Andrew: It is the problem with creatives everywhere. And with chefs, I believe it’s a craft. I believe that at a certain point, running a business is an art, and you get conflicted, you know? We all remember the best things about our lives and where we learned the most, and it was easy to do it when you were a young line-cook in New York, and then when you’re the boss, you’re like, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! Don’t break the glasses! Those are twenty-four dollars apiece!" And that’s the very simple, day-to-day practicality of it.
But I think from a long-term strategy mentality of how to grow a business and a brand, it’s why I’m so in awe — and they’ve done it two very different ways — of a company like the one Nobu Matsuhisa has built, or the one that Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz have built. One predicated on perfect and exact replication of something that works, to the point of — I think they’re up to twenty-four Nobus around the world, and a hotel. Maybe two hotels now? One hotel. One hotel.
I happen to be a big fan of the food in those restaurants. Very reliable. And when I’m traveling, if you’ve just crawled out of a jungle and eaten nothing but green plantains and fried wild bushmeat for eight or nine days and you’re flying through London on an overnight, you rush to get Chinese food or Japanese food, which is what your body craves, what you haven’t had for a long time. And so I’ve had the opportunity, over the course of a two-week period, once, I ate at Nobu in Hawaii, because a friend of mine wanted to go there for their birthday, Nobu in London, Nobu in New York, and Nobu in L.A. In a two-week period, completely not of my own planning, but it just worked out that way. And I ordered some different things, but some same things everywhere there, and they’re exactly the same.
Helen: I think that’s the brilliance of Nobu. It’s the world’s fanciest chain restaurant.
Greg: Well, I interviewed Nobu once, and he said basically his life is just going in between the Nobus all around the world, just kind of doing quality control.
Andrew: Yep. Yep.
Helen: I mean, it’s brilliant.
Greg: Nice gig if you can get it, I guess.
Andrew: In the spring, there’s a tiny little squid, called the firefly squid, that’s about the length of half your pinky. And I’ve eaten that dish in three or four of his restaurants at the same time of year, and am amazed that it’s identical. And there’s some restaurants, good ones, where they just own one restaurant, where the same dish is a little bit different each time.
And I’m not saying that’s bad, but to be able to replicate to perfection or near-perfection — we can argue about that ’til the cows come home — so many different places around the world is an amazing thing, and it speaks to their training, their quality control, their labor policies, their practice, their HR, Nobu’s leadership and vision, that people want to buy into that. I mean, ’cause a lot of people would’ve been like, "Fuck that! I’m gonna put a little less garlic in that." But doing it Nobu’s way is the right way. And then you have a restaurant that, essentially, is predicated on anarchy in what Nick and Grant have built.
Andrew: And Next. Both of them.
Andrew: So, I mean, that, and the business decisions. Alinea was ten years old, everything wears, carpets wear out and stuff like that. But to close the restaurant for five months, and spend as much money as it takes to build a new restaurant, and sort of retrofit the whole place is something that a lot of people would say, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no." Right? "We’ll do that at the end of our lease. Why would we spend that X number of millions of dollars? You know, let’s bank that." And they’re like, "No, let’s change it up." You know, and everyone would tell you, oh my god! Wrong idea. But I think it’s the most brilliant idea that they could possibly have, ‘cause they stand for the surprise. They stand for the anarchical notion, and they prove it all the time. And to do that in a mature phase in their careers is an amazing, amazing thing.
Helen: I think it’s interesting that you refer to what they do in that group as being about anarchy, because —
Andrew: Oh, absolutely. It is.
Helen: I love what they do, and those are among my favorite restaurants. Whenever I go to Chicago, I try to scrape up enough money to go to one of them.
Andrew: Yeah. Yup.
Helen: But the thing to me that defines what the Alinea Group does is such extraordinary precision, and not that I think precision is necessarily the enemy of anarchy, but there is so much deliberation, and so much consideration, and so much thoughtful calculation behind all these decisions. It’s not like, "Ah, fuck it. We’re just gonna, you know, demo the restaurant and rebuild it however we feel." Like, I’m sure that the background to their renovation of Alinea was years in the making.
Andrew: Yeah, well, the anarchy comes before the precision. And this is where, I think, they are truly expert and truly an inspirational company, regardless of what you do. They have the anarchist drive. They sit there and they say, "What would we do if we could start all over again?" With a dish, with an idea for a dish, with a menu, with the idea of a restaurant. And they did it with Next. Or how to take reservations, and they did it with Tock. So, what would you do if you remade the whole system, if you blew up everything the way we did, and started over? So there’s the anarchist’s, you know, inspiration. And then, once you decide to do that, they approach it like a NASA moonshot.
Andrew: Every single element is considered, and I think that is their brilliance. I think they coexist very beautifully.
Helen: Yeah, no, I think that’s totally right.
Andrew: I’m very impressed with their devotion to precision and their NASA-moonshot stuff, but there’s —I can name twenty, thirty places that kind of approach the food the same way, or try to. I’m talking about with the idea of precision and everything considered, and every element, and all the rest of that. But very few — I’m not sure I can name another one that’s willing to blow things up all the time on a regular basis and start over.
Helen: It’s like one of my uncles likes to say that anyone can be a Che Guevara, like anyone can do the revolution, but not everybody’s the Castro, who can build the government in the wake of it, you know?
Andrew: That’s a great analogy.
Helen: We all know how to fuck shit up and have crazy ideas, but what’s magical and rare and extraordinary to behold are people who know how to have crazy ideas, and then sit down and make them happen in extraordinarily meticulous ways.
Andrew: Yeah! I mean, look on the food side of things. My friend Josh Tetrick with Hampton Creek, just, what would we do if we could start over and reinvent the egg? And he did that, and seven years later has the fastest-growing food company in the world, and he represents Big Food, right now. If he hasn’t crossed the billion-dollar mark, he’s about to. They’ve got this massive contract with Compass. They’re now diversifying into forty-eight different food items, and so he’s been Che Guevara and he’s Castro. I mean, you’ll remember three, four years ago, the worst thing that you could say about any food company was, "Oh, they’re Big Food." And now I can think of several companies that are Big Food that are not bad. And, you know, quite frankly, we need Big Food and Big Business to solve some of our big problems in the food space globally, and to help us plan for what’s gonna happen on our planet and our plate over the next thirty years. So it’s an interesting thing to look at, this notion of anarchy, and then, how do you fit it into the body politic and actually use some real decision-making to run the country. I’m gonna use the Guevara-Castro. I think it’s good.
Helen: It’s all yours.
Andrew: Thank you.
Helen: I officially give it to you.
Andrew: Thank you. I will give you "food woody."
Helen: I don’t know if I want that, but I respect your offer.
Andrew: No, feel free! Feel free — you could pass it on to someone else. It’s like a Get Out of Jail Free card in Monopoly. You could trade it to someone else. I’m just saying it’s yours.
Helen: It’s currency. It’s mine. All right. I’m gonna hang onto that.
Andrew: Absolutely. We’re friends.
Greg: For a second, because, okay, so I cover New York’s restaurant stuff, so I just gotta ask you —
Andrew: Very well, by the way.
Greg: Oh! Thank you. New York’s a fascinating city. I think it’s always interesting to hear the history of it.
Andrew: Me, too.
Greg: So, you spent some time cooking in the city?
Greg: During a period that I am very fascinated by. It was the ’90s. And —
Andrew: I actually was doing my cooking here during the ‘80s.
Greg: During the ‘80s!
Helen: That’s what we meant to say.
Andrew: Which I found even more fascinating.
Helen: Yeah. We meant to say ’80s.
Greg: So, what was your favorite job here?
Andrew: Can I approach that just a little bit bigger? Do you mind?
Greg: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: I’m obsessed with history. I mean, I have two degrees, one in history, one in art history. It’s what drives everything that I do, and I approach — you know, it’s what spun me into this phase of my food life, when I left restaurants. I use New York as my example. I studied it in high school, I studied it in college. I understand this city better than I understand any other city in the world. I was born here. I was raised here. But I also made it my intellectual discipline, and a part of my life’s work. And people forget that, you know, in the 1960s, this was a very unremarkable food town. In fact, it was populated, like most big cities on the East Coast, by people still trapped in the notion that we developed in the nineteenth century: that it would be best to emulate European capitals and what they did. We still had that chip on the shoulder as Americans, that somehow we weren’t quite great enough. Even post-World War II, even post-Eisenhower era in the ’50s, even as we catapulted ourselves into the ’60s.
And it kind of was a series of global experiences, I think beginning with the assassination of Kennedy, that made America really look at itself and think of itself in a different way. And I think when we began to look at ourselves in a different way, we started to look at what defines us and what makes our world possible. And the next ten years — you know, and I consider, really, ’64 to ’74 to be the ’60s. Sometimes it doesn’t true up exactly chronologically. Let’s call it ’63 to ’74. You know, let’s end when Nixon resigns, right, and the last helicopter pulls out of Vietnam. Those ten years, it was extremely, extremely upsetting to be living in this country. We were questioning all our values. Things were changing very, very quickly, but at the same time, so much changed in how we saw ourselves. I think more so than at any other time since the 1880s, when we finally sort of wriggled out of what happened during the Civil War, and started to make some decisions about what we wanted to be at that point as a newly-united nation. Sometimes, these things takes twenty-five, thirty years to develop.
New York City in the ’60s was very unremarkable. You know, the first sushi bar didn’t open up here until the early ’70s. There were a lot of French restaurants. No one cared about who was cooking in them. Everyone cared about who owned it or who was in the front room. Everyone knew, you know, at that point, the great restaurant in New York in the late ’50s, early ’60s was Le Pavillon, right? And Henri Soulé was the GM, and strode around the room. And those were the years — Capote and the ladies who lunch, you know, were there every day. And slowly but surely, these French restaurants started talking about, well, who’s cooking in the kitchen? We had chef-owned restaurants. You know, Jean Jacques Rachou at Caravel, and André Soltner at Lutèce, and people could actually name who the chef was, except in those days, the chef never left the kitchen. I mean, they didn’t leave the kitchen to do a magazine interview. They didn’t leave the kitchen to do a photo shoot. No one thought to walk Jean Jacques Rachou two blocks over to Central Park and get a picture of him against the West Side skyline. They had to shoot him in front of the giant floral display every single time in the middle of that restaurant. We thought of food differently then. We were still trying to emulate what was done overseas.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with Gastón Acurio once, who, when he closed Astrid y Gaston, and I was down there for the closing month and ate there in the restaurant where he did twenty courses, one from each year that they were in existence, and he and I were out late one night, and he said, "You know, when I started my career, all I did was French and Italian food as best that I could. And the first year or two in the restaurant, that’s all I did, until I had my epiphany, which was why don’t I use those techniques, but use ingredients from Peru?" And over the twenty years, eventually, by year fifteen, he had the balls — his words —to put guinea pig on the menu, something that they eat down there regularly, but to put it in a three-star Michelin restaurant is a whole other ballgame. I mean, at some point in an equivalent-style restaurant here, people are gonna start serving squirrel, and other things. It’s delicious meat. And people will freak out, and the floodgates will open.
But I digress. These transitions take a long, long time. To me, the big thing that changed in New York in the ’70s was, you know, Kissinger goes to China. We have this détente that allows Chinese chefs, real Chinese chefs, regional Chinese chefs, to come to New York. And so you have all these incredible, high-end Chinese restaurants opening up, because of this flood of talent coming in, and Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan opens up on Third Avenue. And you start to see a New York City that becomes obsessed with ethnic food of all types, and instead of it just being about French food, Italian food starts to have a renaissance. We have a trade negotiation with — I mean, I was at the party as a young person, invited by people’s parents, at the Italian embassy, when they said, "Here’s a wheel of real parmesan. Here is something called balsamic vinegar." And the reason these products flooded into our marketplace was because they didn’t have to pay the kind of taxes that other countries did. We developed a trade deal with Italy. So, all of a sudden, the French food, Italian food, things start to pick up, and people start referring to the outer boroughs: "Oh my god! There’s Italian food in Manhattan now that’s brilliant." There’s Chinese food, there’s Thai food, there’s Mexican food, there’s Cuban food at more than just Victor’s. And then, into the ’80s, you start to see the California notion come in that we’re going to cook — what about doing something with American food and all these incredible ingredients that we have here? And that’s when things got really exciting, and that’s when I started cooking in the city.
I went to Vassar College from ’79 to ’84. I was on the five-year plan. Kicked out a lot, went to Europe a lot and cooked, went to Asia and cooked. Did my own kind of, you know, culinary training, and came back into New York City and started cooking in — ’83 and ’84. But I had been cooking in restaurants part-time starting when I was fifteen or sixteen, and so I saw this transition. And now, everyone talks about American Place, and Larry Forgione, you know, deserves all the credit in the world, but in talking to people who are of my generation, I start to mention restaurants like Arizona 206, and Brendan — I don’t think there was a hotter restaurant in New York the first two years it was open than Arizona 206. You saw so many different restaurants exploring those ideas. You know, TexArkana — when it moved from its original location, it lost its luster, but, you know, to cook that kind of food in New York City, and have it be sort of the restaurant of the moment. Upper West Side bar-restaurant, but doing a really cool thing, a place called Memphis. This whole sort of exploration of what American food is happened during the ’80s here in New York City.
I was working in none of those restaurants. But I was eating in them and amazed by them. I wanted to learn from incredible chefs and cook in incredible places. So I was lucky enough to spend time at Rakel with Thomas Keller and at Arcadia with Anne Rosenzweig and, you know, restaurants like that. And at Joachim Splichal’s failed QV, I was there. An Italian restaurant called La Colona. You know, at this point, also, I was a horrible alcoholic and heroin addict, but I had immense talent in the kitchen, and so there were restaurants that, no restaurants had two hundred seats until the ’80s, and everyone said, "Let’s have two hundred seats! Let’s do this brasserie-style, grand café kind of thing."
Well, the problem with two hundred seats is that you have to have cooks that can actually put out food fast, and when table turns became something that everyone was concerned about, it was like, "Oh my god! I got all these waiters, I got all these cooks! I better turn my tables." You know, André Soltner didn’t worry about that at Lutèce. They didn’t worry about that, you know, in other restaurants. But in the ’80s, people started to worry about the business of running the kitchen. Became very competitive. More and more restaurants opened up. And so, fascinatingly, I had worked in an Italian restaurant in Venice, and I had run the risotto station by the time I had left there, so both at QV and at La Colona, I was in charge of risotto. So, you’re on a line, you only have four burners in my station doing risotto. But I have two hundred seats, and there are six or seven different risottos on the menu.
Andrew: Exactly. So, no matter how much booze I stole, money I stole, hostesses and waitresses I harassed, I mean, you just list, you know, all the horrible things, ’cause as an active drug addict and alcoholic, I was a taker of things and a user of people, purely and simply put. The fact was, is that I could, I could put out, you know, a 180 plates of seven different, six different types of risotto in two-and-a-half hours. The restaurant world changed, and you then have that world that Tony so beautifully wrote about in Kitchen Confidential: those restaurants are really what birthed this idea of the kitchen pirate. And it was a fascinating time in this city.
Helen: Can we —wait, no, sorry, hold up. We have to mic drop for that. Like, holy shit! You just gave us the fifty-year history of New York City restaurants, without pausing, without referring to any notes, and it was brilliant! And it was, I’m like, holy — You’re amazing. How are you real? That was incredible. That was — I was sitting here rapt. That was phenomenal.
Greg: It was very impressive.
Helen: You just didn’t take a breath for sev —
Greg: I wish I had written it down, actually.
Andrew: I’ve only left the ’80s. We haven’t even gotten to the decade you asked about.
Helen: You started at the Civil War, brought us up to Nixon and the end of Vietnam, took us through an incredibly lucid history of, like, the business and social history of restaurants in New York City, and we’re barely even at the— I mean, this is great. This is your show now. We’re done.
Andrew: Well, to me, it’s a fascinating thing to watch how it turns, because as those restaurants grew, that’s when we started employing great cooks from other countries in the world, and trained them, because they had an incredible skill set as well. When you went into Lutèce in the ’70s, there was no one there working, unless they were from Switzerland, Paris, you know, a handful of other European countries, because André Soltner wouldn’t— they wouldn’t understand the food, and he wasn’t running a training program. When you went into Arizona 206, you had Polish cooks and Mexican cooks and everyone in between. Guatemalan. I mean, skill set was what was highly prized, and the economics of it created an underclass of American cooks, and I think Tony has explicated that brilliantly in a couple of his books. You know, who’s cooking your food in the French restaurant?
Andrew: Latino cooks. People whose last name is Martinez. And New York has become—I think New York’s the greatest restaurant city on the face of the world. I mean, I’ve been to all the other ones, a lot, all the time, every year. And I eat in those other cities regularly, and nothing beats New York for both its depth and its breadth. Vertically and horizontally, there’s nothing like it. I’m kind of obsessed with Queens these days, and the Bronx, and to some extent Brooklyn, and I’m about to dive into Staten Island the next time that I’m here. Because it really takes a while to— I mean, I’ve been to Staten Island a lot. There’s great food out there, but it hasn’t been explored, and I love islands. Islands are amazing microcosms. Traditions don’t leave islands as readily, and new traditions don’t come on. But when you look at, you know, if Queens was its own city, number one, it would be the third largest city, I think, in America.
Helen: That’s gigantic.
Andrew Zimmern: And it’s representing — hundred and eleven different ethnicities are represented in populations of over five thousand. Most of those are also encouraging new immigration to come, and that’s where people are settling. So they’re cooking for their friends and their neighbors and their families. So if you want really great food from Ghana, or really great food from Lithuania, or really great Kurdistani dumplings, the only place to go is Queens. It’s an amazing thing. And we just finished a Bronx show, and I got to spend a year — knowing, with Bizarre Foods, that I would always come back to each borough, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the Bronx, had relatives that live there.
We found a pool hall that serves some of the best Dominican food I’ve ever eaten in my life. It’s a little dicey on the look of it to some people, but it’s just families playing pool, playing dominoes, and there’s one lady with two burners cooking food kind of in a gray-market situation. I mean, I think a health inspector was there once. It’s just not, it’s not a real restaurant, but there’s seven or eight items on the menu that this grandma —who tends the bar and tosses drunk people out when they’ve had too much beer — does the cooking, and it’s just — it’s just brilliant kind of stuff. And that’s the kind of thing that you see in New York more readily than in a lot of other cities. It exists in other places, but not to the depth and breadth that it does in New York.
Helen: I think in New York, because Queens, in particular, has such a rich and dense immigrant population, and these very beautifully contained sort of —"contained" is the wrong word, but these discrete pockets of people from various places around the world — you wind up getting rid of what is often, I think, an obstacle for people who travel to countries that don’t have robust restaurant cultures, but instead have robust home-cooking cultures, which is home cooking becomes restaurantized, without becoming sanitized or becoming, like, dumbed down —
Andrew: The way it does in Manhattan.
Helen: For white people, the way it is in Manhattan.
Andrew: Lobster mac and cheese!
Helen: Right, with truffle oil.
Helen: But if you were to go to the Dominican Republic, and you wanted to have that woman cooking food, it would happen in her home. It wouldn’t happen in a restaurant.
Andrew: That’s a brilliant observation, and it’s why certain things are — so many things in those places are done family- style, especially in Russian and Bukharan restaurants, a lot of eastern European places, ’cause so many of these foods — like plov, a central Asian dish that eight or nine different countries all claim as their own national dish— I happen to think Kazakhstan sort of wins the plov war, but that’s, that’s a debate for a different crowd.
Greg: Let’s not get into that whole ball of wax.
Helen: Plov wars.
Andrew: But you know, it’s a rice dish with lamb or goat and seasonings, and it’s done family-style, and you make it, like so many other dishes, you only make for twenty, thirty people at a time —
Helen: It’s celebration food.
Andrew: But they have found a way in so many of these different restaurants out in Queens, and in Brooklyn as well, especially out on the Brighton Beach end, to have so many great versions of this, and the Bukharan bakeries. I mean, there’s an ethnocentrism that brewed in Manhattan for a long time, that despite all the great restaurants, and all the great ethnic influences here, over the last ten, fifteen years, money and class has pushed a lot of the creativity in many different places out. I mean, the great example, and you guys have done so much articulate and great work around this issue. You know, this is a city where the neighborhood that Danny Meyer built, he can’t afford to live in anymore.
Andrew: And, I mean, that’s a fascinating sort of thing, but that’s happening all over Manhattan, and it’s becoming sanitized, and it’s hard. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love Cosme. I mean, I think that’s one of my favorite restaurants in New York, and one of my favorite restaurants, new restaurants of two years ago? Now? Technically?
Greg: Yes. Approaching its second birthday, yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. Amazing food, and, you know, Enrique Olvera is an incredible chef, but that’s not the first place I think of when I think of Mexican food. And we’ve had incredible, incredible chefs. Look, and we’ll just stick with Mexico as one example, one totem. You know, look what Alex Stupak has done with his empire, both with the restaurants, the book, and trying to, sort of, universalize a different taco experience for people. He’s fighting an uphill battle here, as are so many other people in restaurants in lower Manhattan, because there’s office building developers coming for their spaces next, right?
Helen: And the developers who are building these multi-use spaces, this is something we’ve been talking about a lot, sort of in the background at Eater lately, is the developers and landlords increasingly, in Manhattan, and I imagine this is the case in other places — but here, I suspect it is way more cutthroat, and way more vicious, and has much more of a chilling effect on creativity — oftentimes, landlords who have restaurants come in as their tenants will require a stake in the restaurant, and a stake in the restaurant’s earnings, not necessarily profits, so —
Andrew: Well, the restaurants want that, too —
Andrew: Because it’s too expensive to open a restaurant in Manhattan.
Helen: But it means that landlords wind up having input into the kind of food that these restaurants serve, and they want to ensure that the food is safe and attractive and has mass appeal. And there’s a chef who I adore who recently told me this story that just destroyed me, that he was in negotiations with a landlord for a particular space, and he cooks the food of a particular region that is not general American food.
Helen: And the landlord told him that he, flat out, could not have the space that he was interested in, unless he put a burger and a Caesar salad on the lunch menu. And, so he pulled out.
Helen: And you lose this restaurant in this location, because the developers and the landlords are interested in money.
Andrew: And someone else will take that space and put that on the menu, and say, "You know something? I’ll give that, and I’ll maintain ninety percent of my integrity, because I want a restaurant that’s gonna perform well in Manhattan, because I feel I need to be in Manhattan."
Andrew: There’s a lot of other smart chefs that, the flip side of that story, I think, is a cooler thing that’s going on, and again, you guys have written a lot about it. You and I have talked about it, Helen. New York’s loss and New York’s problem has been the nation’s gain —
Andrew: And overall, we’re in a better place food-wise, because there are chefs in New York who are sitting there saying, "Why am I spending seventy-five, a hundred thousand dollars a month for my fancy-pants address, I’m essentially making money for my landlord, when I could be doing the same food and packed all the time in another city where it’s costing me next to nothing?" I will share with you, without sharing numbers, something that, because they’re close friends of mine, and one of them’s a business partner: you know, Gavin Kaysen made a decision not to open a restaurant in New York for that very reason.
Helen: He had been the guy basically running the show at Boulud —
Greg: He’s one of the most — by the time that he left Café Boulud, I feel like he was one of the most respected chefs among chefs in New York.
Andrew: Correct. Oh, he’s a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant chef. And had proved it both on West Coast and East Coast, you know, done it twice. Right? So, when he had been running, he was at Café Boulud for eight years, took over from Andrew Carmellini, a hard act to follow, and he had become Daniel’s sort of prodigal son. He was the one who was young enough, in the right place. He was coach in Bocuse d’Or, he had different aspirations than Andrew did, and Daniel and Gavin developed a father-son relationship that continues to this day. They’re extremely close that way. And I think both of them thought, Daniel, as he aged out of the business, would still be behind the restaurant, but Gavin could be the one who took over the whole schmegegge, right? Well, Gavin, you know, with two young kids and New York prices and all the rest of it, said, "You know something? I’m gonna go back to Minnesota, you know? And I’m gonna open a restaurant there." So, he’s opened a restaurant. It’s a huge hit. It got nominated for best new restaurant in America —
Helen: Spoon and Stable, right?
Andrew: Yes, Spoon and Stable. Lost to Drew Nieporent’s new restaurant, Bâtard. I mean, it’s incredible restaurant in a great space, so last year we started, I’m tangentially involved in the restaurant, and we came up with an idea last year to have these Synergy Series dinners, where we got famous chefs from around the world to come in every quarter and do a series of dinners, book signings, all the rest of that in the restaurant, and make Spoon and Stable sort of the hub in the Upper Midwest for where these things happen. You can’t get a reservation at Marea, but you can taste Michael White’s food in Minnesota, come to our dinner. And there were actually a couple New York customers who flew in for the Synergy dinner—
Greg: That’s sweet.
Helen: Dedication. Yeah.
Andrew: They were fans of Gavin’s and Michael’s. Yeah, it was a fun night. But, along the way, I was standing there while the two of them shared the numbers on what Gavin pays for rent in Minnesota for Spoon and Stable, a stunning restaurant whose design was nominated for a Beard Award.
Helen: It’s a gorgeous space.
Andrew: Beautiful space. And what Michael pays at Marea —
Helen: Which is on Central Park South in, like, the most power location.
Andrew: Right. You’re not going to pay more for rent anywhere than what Michael pays at Marea. But Michael, upon learning of the numbers, you know, turned around to me and said, "Essentially what I pay in a day, Gavin pays in a month." Now, that is a true — and anyone could have kind of guessed that, you know? But there are great restaurants opening in Kansas City, in Indianapolis, and look what Gerard Craft is doing in St. Louis with his restaurant group. And you can go to all of these, I’ll call them second cities. You know, they’re outside of the top ten in terms of population number, but they’re in the top thirty, and they can support restaurants like this.
And, more importantly, and you talked about the ’90s in New York, one of the things that happened in the ’90s is that food magazine and food television exploded. So more people were exposed to the idea of good food, so they were more curious, and they were better customers. The customer base changed, and started to eclipse the restaurant world. And so restaurants had to open faster, and differently, and perform better to satisfy the need of the consumer. For the first time, probably since the 1890s here in New York City, the golden era of when Delmonico was open, and all these great, amazing restaurants. So you have this situation now where nationally, you have these amazing restaurants opening up in Pittsburg— I mean, look at the Eater Heatmap! I look at that all the time, and I’ll just plug in cities and look at it —
Helen: You do?
Andrew: Well I’m biased. I happen to think you guys do an incredible job, and I’m on the Eater website every day for one thing or another. You look at the Heatmap across all of what are those secondary cities. I mean, look at who’s winning the awards. Look at what’s going on in Houston. Houston’s a big city, but no one ever thought of that as a food town. Are you kidding me?
Andrew: Look what’s going on in Dallas. I mean, look at what’s going on in Bentonville, Arkansas. I mean, it is incredible as I travel around the United States, the level of food — look what’s happened in North Carolina, I mean with what Ashley Christensen is doing, with what Vivian has done with Chef and The Farmer. This is extending all across that. It’s an amazing thing. New York’s loss has been the nation’s gain, and New York will recover, and there will be a new food movement birthed here over the next ten years that will then influence us later on.
Greg: The kale salad movement!
Andrew: What’s kale? Did I miss something while I’ve been traveling?
Helen: So there’s this interesting dark-green leafy vegetable. It’s very high in Vitamin K.
Andrew: Do they serve it anywhere other than Barbuto? Here’s my question for you.
Andrew: How can so many people serve so much shitty kale all over America, and no one says, "You know something? I’m just gonna copy what Waxman does, because it’s so good."
Helen: I think a lot of people do.
Greg: He has a shaved kale salad? Is that it? No, it’s just a kale salad.
Andrew: Paper-thin and rubbed with lemon juice and olive oil, you have to treat kale a certain way, and then it’s magnificent.
Helen: Yeah, no, this is my, this is my favorite when I want to be really pedantic. I, like, deliver my kale lecture, which is that we’re not supposed to — biologically, we’re not supposed to eat raw kale. You can, and you’ll be fine, but if you eat too much of it, our bodies don’t digest it super well. So the reason that Jonathan Waxman’s super, super thinly shaved, massaged-with-acidic-things kale salad is so wonderful, is because it is effectively cooking the kale.
Andrew: It’s broken down a little bit, and you have to with certain things.
Helen: Yeah. You have to treat it the way you do with raw spinach, too. It’s like, spinach and frisée are the other two greens that are not as easy to digest if we eat them raw, and that’s why they are served with hot dressings. Historically spinach salad, like grown-up spinach, not baby spinach, was served with a hot dressing ’cause it wilted it. And like a salade lyonnaise with a hot bacon dressing wilts the greens, and like —
Andrew: I love it when you speak French.
Helen: These things exist for a reason. We are part of the trajectory of history, and if you want to have really difficult bowel movements by eating a lot of raw kale, be my guest.
Andrew: Be my guest. I’ve found that it’s a cleanse. That’s a cleanse! To you, it’s a problem. To other people, it’s an opportunity.
Helen: I guess that’s true.
Andrew: Food secrets abound in New York, and — we were talking about the Barbuto kale thing — I found out the other day, simply thanks to a truth-in-labeling practice, that, do you know why, the Russ and Daughters whitefish salad is the best whitefish salad in the world, bar none? Better than anyone else’s? Even the great places in New York that do it?
Helen: Lay it on me.
Andrew: It’s not one hundred percent whitefish.
Helen: Shut up. What is it?
Andrew: They put a little bit of baked salmon into it.
Greg: They cut it!
Andrew: But it needs it. Pure, smoked and salted whitefish is a little too strong, and other people’s can come on a little strong. Then you have to put more mayonnaise or more other things into it, but the reason theirs is so good is that, it’s eighty-twenty or ninety-ten, they have a little bit of baked salmon in there, which sweetens it out. It puts fish volume and maintains the texture and the sturdiness of it without putting more salt and smoke in the dish.
Greg: It’s the kind of thing they figure out after a hundred years of doing that, you know?
Andrew: Well, I think they’ve been doing it for a hundred years, but they finally had to stick the label. My grandmother bought food from Niki’s grandfather down there. I have a deep and abiding, like, it’s a DNA thing.
Helen: Yeah, you’re genetically connected to this restaurant.
Andrew: Correct. And several others, ’cause my grandmother used to run around and shop at all these great, sort of, Jewish places to get food. And so then, my other grandmother just, you know, got chicken salad at Schrafft’s. She wasn’t — but she did live across the street from Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan, and that was an important part of my life, so I shouldn’t give Grandma Pauline so much shit.
Helen: Well, on the note of giving shit to your grandmother, we’ve reached the point in this conversation that we like to call, very creatively, the lightning round.
Andrew: I love that.
Helen: Yeah, no one else calls it the lightning round on their podcast. It’s only us. But in the course of the lightning round, Greg and I are gonna ask you a handful of questions, and you can answer them however you like. It’s really fun.
Andrew: Is it like a test?
Helen: It is like a test. We will tell you at the end how we feel about you, based on your answers.
Andrew: Okay. That’s good.
Greg: Okay, so question number one is, you have an hour to kill at the airport. What do you do? What’s your game plan?
Greg: Email? Just sit there and work, huh?
Helen: I guess you’re in airports a lot.
Andrew: I’m perpetually behind. I am constantly trying to catch up on email. Airports, no one bothers me. I’m fine. I would rather — Everyone says, "Oh my god, it’s a seventeen-hour flight! How do you deal with that?" I’m like, that is my happiest place in the world. The phone doesn’t ring, I’ve got no responsibilities, I can simply clear shit off my desk, which is a portable environment that I take with me everywhere. And, actually, I do my best work on email. I wrote an speech that I gave at General Mills, to the board of directors there, on a plane ride, on no sleep for two days, coming home from Cyprus a week ago. And Ken Powell the CEO came to me and said, "That was an amazing speech. When did you write it? Where did you write it?" And I explained, on a plane. He said, "That must have been some good ride." But that’s where I do my work.
Helen: If you’re on a road trip by yourself in a convertible, driving down a long, beautiful, dusty American road, you are blasting music and singing along, what is the music you are singing along to?
Andrew: Oh, god. Um, either the Who or the Grateful Dead.
Helen: Any particular album?
Andrew: I have a lot of live, bootleg Grateful Dead stuff on my —
Helen: Do you really?
Greg: What era?
Andrew: Uh, ’70 to ‘74.
Helen: That’s hardcore. That’s legit.
Greg: I think that’s the most classic era, I would argue.
Andrew: That’s what I listened to in high school. I followed the band. I mean, I did that. All those super-groups. I was in high school during the ’70s, so we would go to little clubs like CBGB’s and hear undiscovered bands like Blondie or, you know, the Ramones, they were bar bands back then. Or then on Saturday night, you went to Madison Square Garden, and one night was Emerson, Lake, and Palmer; the next night was the Who; and then there was Yes, and there was Jethro Tull, and then it was the Dead, and then there was the Stones. And it was just, every weekend, there was a super-group at Madison Square Garden. That was that classic rock stuff I got exposed to. You know, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, same thing. Neil Young, same thing. You know, just like, that’s the music I listen to. I happen to have a ton of new music, I love music. I’m obsessed with it. And I’m on the road a lot, so I’m always listening to it. So it could be Dandy Warhols or Brian Jonestown Massacre or, whatever, the new Beck album, or something. I listen to a lot of new music as well.
Helen: But when it’s singing in the car, it’s the Grateful Dead or the Who? I respect that.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.
Greg: Okay, so you have to cook a meal for your family. It’s a regular weeknight, and all the regular stuff that you usually have is in your refrigerator and cupboards. What is that meal?
Andrew: It’s the same thing every time, much to the lament of my wife and my son. The first dish I ever learned to cook was my grandmother’s roast chicken with pan gravy, and that is my go-to thing all the time for them; and I make what we now call the Zimmern salad, which is a tomato-cucumber salad with little shavings of shallot, feta cheese, fresh mint and fresh basil, a sturdy banyuls vinaigrette with an olive oil that I’ve smuggled into the country from some woman’s backyard in Croatia or Cyprus or Greece that’s, like, some killer olive oil; a crusty loaf of bread; potatoes and carrots that have caramelized in the fat from the chicken that I’ve removed and put on a plate; and then I make the gravy in the pan the chicken roasted in, and that’s dinner. And I make it all the time. And everyone’s like, "Oh, roast chicken again?" And I remind them, I’m like, "There’s people that would crawl across a desert of broken glass to eat this meal."
Andrew: I’ve made it a thousand times. It’s pretty good. It’s pretty good.
Greg: I mean, you just described an amazing meal.
Andrew: I’m not gonna lie.
Helen: I’m extremely hungry right now, and this was difficult for me to listen to.
Andrew: Have a Luna bar. I have one right here.
Helen: Oh, yeah. Well, okay, that was gonna be my next question, actually. We have an array of snacks from the extremely well-equipped Vox Media and Eater snack cabinet in front of you, including Boom Chick Pop, Sun Chips, Cliff Bars, Lemon Luna bars, Pirates Booty, and a paper cup full of cashews.
Helen: If you could only have one of these snacks for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Andrew: Not even close. Pirate’s Booty.
Helen: Yeah? All right, I feel like they taste like packing peanuts.
Andrew: It has no redeemable value. It’s mostly air. But I’m a lotus eater. I mean, I’d love to sit here, you know, and tell — it’s like other chefs, who are like, "Oh, I shop at the Greenmarket in Union Square all the time, and I’m only eating—" you know, it’s like, bullshit. You love gas station pizza, admit it.
Helen: It’s delicious.
Andrew: Admit it, you lying sack of shit. You eat gas station pizza. I’m the first guy to say I love gas station pizza
Helen: It’s frickin’ great.
Andrew: I have a gas station pizza machine, I make Midwest bar pizza in my office. It’s that little Betty Crocker —
Andrew: Oven with the slide —
Helen: Oh my god!
Andrew: And we keep bar, tavern, frozen tavern pizzas in my freezer at work, and I eat them all the time. Pirate’s Booty, my kid eats, and I love these things. And it’s like air. And I’m sure there’s a redeemable — there’s one gram of fiber in it. So I guess it is good for you.
Helen: Not entirely nothing.
Greg: On that note, Andrew, thank you so much for coming by the Eater Upsell.
Andrew: I love you guys.
Helen: We love you, too.
Greg: Yeah, it’s been a pleasure.
Andrew: Thank you for being — thank you for all that you’ve done for the food community. We didn’t get to the — what’s the current decade we’re in?
Helen: The teen-teens?
Greg: The … ought-teens? I don’t know.
Andrew: What are they called? There’s gotta be a fun name for it.
Helen: We don’t have a name for it yet.
Andrew: All right. Well, Morabito will come up with one. But in all honesty, without smart people like you carrying the torch up the hill, the voices that need to be heard and the topics that need to be discussed don’t get discussed and don’t get heard. So, anytime somebody just feeling down, remember that you guys are, are doing amazing things, and are really the gold standard at what you do. So don’t stop.
Helen: Aw. We’re gonna have to cut that, ’cause it’s too nice.
Greg: Thank you so much, man.
Andrew: No, it’s true! people who don’t say so, don’t understand the game!
Helen: Thank you. That means a lot.
Andrew: Who else is doing that?
Helen: Well, hopefully everyone soon.
Andrew: There’s a lot of great, cool people in the digital space, but everyone looks at what you guys are doing, and you’re the gold standard.
Andrew: Pat yourself on the back. Buy yourself an extra slice of pizza today for lunch. You deserve it.
Helen: From the gas station. Perfect. Awesome. Well, thanks for coming by, Andrew. Always a pleasure.
Andrew: Thanks for inviting me.