Nice to officially meet you Bizarre Food fans! I’ve been spying on you all for years from my desk at Zimmern headquarters; now we can finally get a conversation going. A little about myself and how I ended up here…
In 2005, I graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from UW-Madison. After carelessly tossing my cap in the air, I immediately put my degree to good use making hundreds of meatballs a day (literally) in a catering kitchen. The whole point? To save up some cash so I could travel. In next year, I spent a month in Europe, a month in South Africa, and did a quick one-weeker in Barcelona. I also spent five days driving a street-legal monster truck around Des Moines, Iowa, but that’s another story for another day.
I eventually found myself a full-time gig as a “guerrilla marketer” (read: I doled out a lot of promo key chains to strangers at sporting events), but found handing out freebies unfulfilling. Always up for an adventure, I quit my job sans plan. While unemployed, I stumbled upon a brand new show on Travel Channel called Bizarre Foods. I loved the premise– discovering the globe through food– and thought the host, Andrew Zimmern, was pretty funny. I found out he actually lived in my city, and that got me thinking.
Just like 98 percent of people, I love food and travel. My mom is a flight attendant (just retired after 35 years), and my dad explored Europe and Australia for months in the 70s with nothing but a backpack, some dirty bell bottoms and a lot of charm. You could say a strong sense of adventure is in my blood. The food thing is pretty much all mine (we weren’t a big foodie family; I remember eating a lot of Tombstone pizza as a kid), but ever since I got a part-time kitchen job in high school, food is probably at the forefront of every decision I make. I’ve always thought the perfect gig for me would be eating, traveling, then writing about it. It seemed Andrew was already doing a version of that, so I sent him an email. Basically, a well-written version of “I want your job, can we meet for coffee?” Before sending, I attached this photo from a recent flight:
Three days later, I received this message:
Thanks for the kind words, I am actually in St Petersburg. Russia, not
We have lots going on in our office, and Dusti will make a time
for you to come meet with us, could be some intern work for a month until we
see what you can do, but there might even be some paying work as well.
Call Dusti, see # below.
That was 3.5 years ago, and I’ve been working for Andrew ever since. I run his website, social media stuff, and am his editorial assistant (which means I get to eat, travel, and write about it). It’s fantastic. Now I get to be your behind the scenes guide to all things Andrew. Feel free to ask questions and post your comments on this blog, the Bizarre Foods Facebook page, or via Twitter @in2BizarreFoods. I’ll make sure you get legit answers. And if you want to know how I landed my dream job, I will confidently tell you: I simply asked. But don’t get any ideas— this one’s already taken.