Eater’s longest running show Dining on a Dime is the brainchild of host and YouTube star, Lucas Peterson. During the show’s nearly three-year run, Peterson has developed an avid following and lively collection of commenters.
Ahead of this week’s premiere of the 14th(!) season of Dining on a Dime — where Peterson eats his way through Rome on a budget — here are eight things to know about star Lucas Peterson:
- Peterson met Eater EIC Amanda Kludt and Eater LA editor Matthew Kang at an Eater Young Guns event in 2014 where he pitched the idea of a cheap eats column to Kang (who thought Peterson was a close friend of Kludt’s, which is why he agreed). The Dining on a Dime column’s first stop was Ateh’s Kitchen in Van Nuys, published September 29, 2014. Almost exactly one year later, Dining on a Dime the series premiered on Eater.com, focusing on LA taco truck Tacos Arabes.
- Peterson parlayed Dining on a Dime into his gig as the NY Times’ Frugal Traveler columnist. There he gives tips for traveling the world on a tight budget.
- Before writing for Eater, the Times, and Lucky Peach, Peterson acted in several TV shows including New Girl, CSI: Cyber, and Jane the Virgin. With all his travel and writing, Peterson left acting. And yes, craft services is “pretty good.”
- In 2012 Peterson had a three episode arc on Jeopardy!. On his first episode, the Final Jeopardy question was about Oak Park, Illinois — Peterson’s hometown. He didn’t know the answer. (Fortunately neither did either of the other two contestants so he still won.)
- While in the Peace Corps, Peterson was stung by a scorpion that made its way into his underwear. (This was the anecdote Peterson provided while on Jeapordy! and host Alex Trebek ran around screaming “There’s a scorpion in my pants!” during a commercial break.)
- The story about his Instagram name @staletwizzlers is that he enjoys eating stale Twizzlers. Red Vines however are a “crime against humanity.” (Also @lucaspeterson was taken.)
- The one and only time Peterson forgot his passport for a trip was when he was 16-years-old and traveling within Europe from the Netherlands. He was arrested after trying to cross the border while on a bus, and released the following day.
- Among his top trips ever: Spain, Portugal, Ethiopia.
Finally, a Lucas Peterson by the numbers: Lucas has visited 12 cities during 14 seasons of Dining on a Dime. With the help of the Frugal Traveler column, he has traveled to seven continents. He had 12 family members in the Jeopardy! audience when he got the answer about his hometown wrong. Last month alone he traveled to three cities: Rome, Sicily, and Berlin. He has shat his pants once in China.