Adam Richman spent much of his youth traveling the streets of New York City, a place often referred to as one of the greatest food cities in the world. “Because my mother and father both embraced the variety of cultures that settled all around New York, and especially those in Brooklyn, I was raised around flavors ranging from Syria to Sicily,” he recalls. From pakoras to polenta, Adam developed a love for food at a young age, but he wasn’t always the fearless foodie he is today.
“When I was a little kid, I ordered Manhattan clam chowder, but avoided eating any of the clams. They looked awful, but I loved the taste,” he laughs. “My grandfather offered me $5 if I would eat a clam, so I ate it. At the time, I thought it was basically like a meaty piece of chewing gum.”
Richman is best known as the likeable TV host who braved borderline barbaric extreme eating challenges for Travel Channel’s hit series “Man v. Food.” These days, he’s exploring cross country for his latest show, “Secret Eats,” where he spotlights unique and uncommon hidden food treasures. He believes that cooking helps bring loved ones closer.
Families that eat together
“Holidays and large holiday feasts always bring family together from all corners of the map. Does a massive gathering like watching the Super Bowl count without adding the snacks and dips and wings that go along with it?” In 2017, the National Chicken Council estimated that Americans consumed 1.33 billion wings during the big game — the weight of which (166.25 million pounds) is more than 300 times the combined weight of all 32 NFL teams.
Adam continues, “Tailgating is nearly as much a part of sport as bringing your mitt to a baseball game. Even the best competition barbecue is done as a team, and anyone that has ever worked in a kitchen will tell you that teamwork truly makes the dream work.”
A collaborative kitchen
When it comes to cooking, Richman believes that creation is more fulfilling than consumption. “Looking back, I have more Thanksgiving memories of cooking with my mother in the kitchen than I do eating with her at the big table,” he shares.
Richman’s second cookbook, “Straight Up Tasty,” is a scrapbook of his culinary expeditions and offers more than 100 recipes. His favorite selections include Mexican street corn; a gyro burger with traditional Greek ingredients like feta and lamb; and the “Juicy Lucia,” a reimagined version of the classic cheeseburger.
Through his various public platforms, Adam has encouraged his audience to expand their palates. His advice for picky eaters? “My dad used to always say, ‘You don’t have to finish it, but at least try it.’”