Andrew Zimmern: Food Junkie - Page 3

By Will Godfrey 05/08/11

Before he started snacking on wildebeest eyeballs for a living, Andrew Zimmern was a homeless, purse-snatching addict. In an exclusive interview, the award-winning chef reveals how he bounced back from the brink.


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It sounds as if your current job has its compensations, but do you ever miss being more hands-on in the kitchen?

Oh sure, all the time. But then I just make another grilled cheese for my kid and it’s all good. A career like this is definitely one of those be-careful-what-you-ask-for-you-might-just-get-it things. I’m insanely blessed, insanely grateful and every day I want to be back doing my toilet-cleaning job that I had 800 lifetimes ago, where I woke up, went to work, cashed my paycheck and went to sleep…

But maybe not that much…

Yeah, maybe not that much.

If you look at where you are today, then look back to when you were at your lowest ebb, how does it make you feel?

Oh my God! Every day I think about it. It’s the most grateful feeling in the world. I was talking just now, coincidentally, with a friend who’s known me pretty much since I came to Minnesota. And he said, “You must just get shivers up your spine when you think about where you were 19 years and seven months ago.” And I do. Every single day.

Everybody asks me: “What’s the secret of success in television?” because everyone thinks it’s such a good job. And everyone in recovery also asks: “What’s the secret of success in recovery?” And for both, the answer is the same. You just chop wood, carry water. It really is that simple.

Will Godfrey is Managing Editor of The Fix. He is a Brooklyn-based writer from London, where he co-founded an award-winning prison publication named Voice of the Ville. He previously wrote about how to smuggle drugs into prison for The Fix.

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