Adam Richman talks with NFL.com
Did you catch Adam Richman’s interview with NFL.com? Adam talks about Man v. Food, how he became the host and that new show everyone is talking about — Man v. Food Nation!
Man v. Food host Richman knows food… and NFL football
By Michael Fabiano, Fantasy Editor for NFL.com
Peanut Butter and Jelly. Bread and Butter. Salt and Pepper. Some things just go together.
The same can be said for food and football.
Seriously, what’s more fun than spending a Sunday afternoon rooting for your favorite NFL teams and players while enjoying your favorite food? Well, few people know food better than Adam Richman, the host of the wildly popular show Man v. Food on Travel Channel. Since 2008, he’s visited numerous cities across the United States while taking on some of the most iconic food challenges. While in New Orleans, he devoured 15 dozen oysters in the Acme Oyster House Challenge. On a trip to San Antonio, he tackled the Four Horsemen Challenge — Adam had to consume a white-hot burger that was topped with some of the world’s hottest peppers, including the “ghost chile,” in under 25 minutes.
In those two challenges, man won.
But Adam isn’t just an expert in the culinary world — he also knows his football. Despite his New York roots, he’s a die-hard fan of the Miami Dolphins and once even sent out a tweet offering to play the same position as one of his heroes, Dan Marino. Look out, Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen
Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Adam about everything from food, football and which NFL players he thinks would make the best competitive eaters.
Adam, how exactly did you end up becoming the host of Man v. Food?
The Travel Channel had success with their Food Paradise series, 10 Best Places to Pig Out and those types of specials, so they knew there was a market for comfort food and wanted to develop a show around it. At the same time, I read this great book called “The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One,” and it made me realize that food TV was something I wanted to do. So when I was told they were looking for someone who knows regional food and likes to eat a lot, I just bombarded my poor agent with email after email. It was ridiculous. I finally got the audition — it was like a six-round process with auditions, screen tests, interviews and checking references. Finally, I got the job. We then put together a five-minute teaser trailer all around Brooklyn, but it was literally me changing clothes in bathrooms saying, “hey I’m in Boston,” or “hey I’m in Philly.” They picked us up, we did a pilot in Memphis and they bought 10 episodes. They knew it was something good by the third episode, so they bought eight more. By the time we shot the San Jose episode, they bought 20 more. Then it was like, we’re in this for as long as you are.
Take us inside the show. How do you pick the cities for each episode?
To plan the cities out, obviously, you have to have the challenge. That’s the point of departure. But I think we sort of over-prepare, so we will come up with 16 fully-formed episodes and then try to figure out what makes the most compelling 20-episode season of TV. One of the things that we’re really big on, well I didn’t develop it per say but I definitely had a significant role in the shaping of it (with the original series producer Dan Adler), was to do stuff that we would actually watch. So we tried to think about what are the most iconic foods of each area. You can’t do Philly and pretend that cheese steaks or salt pretzels don’t exist. Or deep dish in Chicago or fish tacos on the west coast. So we know that we have to incorporate those foods. And if we can find a challenge for those foods, it’s all the better.
You’ve had some pretty notable celebrities on the show. Who were some of your favorites?
The fact that anyone of note has been on my show is nuts. Having Joba Chamberlain on the show and with me being a Yankees fan, that was outstanding. Joba is a great guy. If I wasn’t doing the show, my dream would be to do what he’s doing! But the first celebrity we ever had was Gladys Knight. I grew up listening to her and we’re all well aware of where she ranks in the world of music. That was humbling. When she was on we were nobody, we hadn’t even aired yet, but she agreed to do it. That’s something I’ll always be grateful for because for a brand-new show to come on air with an appearance like that in Atlanta, it was just super. One of my other favorites was Alice Cooper. We showed a little bit more of the interview with him in the Carnivore Chronicles, but he is the man. He’s such a good guy and he’s really just very interesting.
So tell me about your new show, Man v. Food Nation, that premieres June 1? How is this show different than what the fans have seen in the past?
When we were making MvF in the beginning, it was me and my boys — so we were like, let’s create a food show that expresses an unbridled sense of joy. So we kept ourselves honest and I did 59 challenges. But the spectacle diminishes over time. How much of one dude doing food challenges in a half-hour format can you see before it peters out? With that said, how can I, a Jew from Brooklyn, going to know about a food challenge in Amarillo if hundreds of people hadn’t attempted it before me? The idea behind Man v. Food was kind of me answering the call of this legend. Man v. Food Nation is the story about all of the people who make these challenges iconic. It’s the locals. That’s how the 72-ounce steak came to be — a ranch hand said, I’m so hungry I could eat a whole cow. So someone said fine, I’m going to bring out as many steaks as you can eat until you tell me to stop. That’s how they got to 72 ounces. It’s the locals, it’s the people that are of these communities. So why keep showing me when I’ve done 59 of them? Why not show the college kid who did it once and wants to do it again? Why not show the guy who wants to look cool for his kids? How about the wrestler who wants to try a food challenge? We give them a chance to do it on this show. I think that’s why we made the change. People are like, why aren’t you doing the challenges? Well I’d love to, it’s fun. What’s cooler than running into a room where people are rooting for you? I can’t blast through a line like Barry Sanders, and I don’t have a cannon arm like Marino and I don’t have the feet of Roger Staubach. But we all at some point love to chow down. People are chanting your name and they want you to win. But by the same token, I’m not the only dude who should get to experience that.