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updated: 4/26/2011 2:15 PM

"Bizarre Foods" host Zimmern brings unusual cuisine tales to Harper

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  • Andrew Zimmern, host of "Bizarre Foods" and "Bizarre World" will appear at Harper College April 28.

    Andrew Zimmern, host of "Bizarre Foods" and "Bizarre World" will appear at Harper College April 28.
    Courtesy Photo

By Teresa E. Karow
Harper college submission

Andrew Zimmern, the versatile food personality best-known for his Travel Channel shows "Bizarre Foods" and "Bizarre World," will be at Harper College Thursday, April 28, to speak about "Diversity in the Realm of Food."

Zimmern will appear at 7 p.m. in the college's Wellness and Sports Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine.

A global food connoisseur, Zimmern's has sampled cow vein stew in Bolivia, giant flying ants in Uganda, raw camel kidneys in Ethiopia and putrefied shark in blood pudding in Iceland. He was first exposed to eating what the rest of us consider unusual food traveling with his dad as a kid.

"I have always been a very open-minded eater," said Zimmern. "I was raised in a household that traveled mouth first around the world."

Winner of the James Beard Award in the TV Food Personality category for his work on "Bizarre Foods," Zimmern will talk about some of his food adventures while filming throughout Asia, Africa and South America. He'll also offer an insider's guide to the behind-the scenes production of the show.

For Zimmern, local cuisine -- bizarre, gross or downright stomach-turning as it may seem -- is not simply what's served for dinner. Food is the primary avenue to discovering what is most authentic about world cultures and he uses his adventures in "culinary anthropology" to illustrate why visits to local markets are just as important as visiting great museums.

Zimmern writes about the food world in his blog "Chow and Again" in the Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine. He writes freelance articles for food publications such as Food Arts, Restaurant Business, Gourmet, Culinate, Bon Appetit and Food and Wine Magazine.

The author of "The Bizarre Truth: How I Walked Out the Door Mouth First And Came Back Shaking My Head," Zimmern will release a new book by Random House in May.

The New York City native resides in Minneapolis with his wife and son, with whom he says he shares the cooking.

"We make our son help," he said. "It is a wonderful experience cooking with my family."

Tickets for the Harper College lecture are $15 general admission; $8 for Harper students with current ID; $12 for other students, Harper faculty/staff and seniors. Zimmern will not sample food during the event, nor will he sign books.

For tickets and information, call (847) 925-6100 or visit

• By Teresa E. Karow is a public relations/marketing specialist for Harper College in Palatine.