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Andrew Zimmern discovers Peter Chang


johnb
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They asked me to sign an "Appearance Release" which I did, but the news is showing up now including several tweets with photos from Zimmern himself, and another post here on Rockwell, so I might as well go ahead and...

....let everyone who's interested know that this Fall there will be a "Virginia" show on Bizarre Foods America that will among other local spots have a segment featuring the szechuan boy himself. The production crew did the shoot on Sunday, while the restaurant was in full swing with normal traffic. Escoffier and I joined in, as did Dave McIntyre, who also has some tweets with photos. Chang served us a multi-course meal with many old favorites and some that I hadn't seen, all of it up to the usual standard and beyond (pig intestine with blood cake in hot pot! It was really a good dish by the way). I drove up from NC, so put about 1000 miles all told on my pickup, which turned over 100,000 in the course of the trip.

Andrew did his usual types of commentary over the course of nearly two hours with three cameras going pretty much non-stop. He did say some remarkably complementary things about and to PC, calling the meal one of the greatest, not just Chinese, but simply greatest, he'd ever had. So now he too knows! Here is a photo posted by him with complements to the chef: http://instagram.com/p/bvzh4nIK0M/

Also this with some of the dishes: http://instagram.com/p/bwVjBtIK5N/

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Now I have to buy a TV so I can figure out who this guy is. :rolleyes:

And what is "Instagram," and what is that little heart with 1,877 next to it?

Well, you're not so far off. I had to Google him to figure out who/what he was. Considering I never knew the "Travel Channel" existed before last weekend, and having grown up with nothing but the "Big Three" networks, i was a bit underwhelmed. Is it my imagination or are there now more celebrity chefs than people who spend their time in a kitchen actually doing....oh, you know, things like cooking?

Anyway, Dr. Gridlock had promised a plethora of I-95 south closings, plagues of locusts and 200 mile backups, I decided it would be in my best interest (if I wanted to get to Richmond the same day I departed Alexandria) to leave early for a 11:00am shoot in Short Pump. Twenty minutes and a cup of coffee later, I trudged wearily to the car for that long excursion. Lo and behold, the previously cited construction zone apparently had disappeared completely from the face of the Earth. No sign of work (what a surprise THAT was :)), no 200 mile back-up, just the usual high-speed romp through NoVA. Naturally, I arrived at 10:00am. A bit of a wait for anyone to show up so, book out, window down, settled in. Around 10:45 or so, Peter and crew along with a TV production crew showed up. Spent 15 minutes or so chatting with various crew members and then entered a empty restaurant to wait for everyone to set up and the fun to start. Shooting took place in the kitchen first as Peter was doing the prep work for an exclusive lunch for six. Not being star-struck like some people, I sat and waited, bored, on the bench at the front of the restaurant while others, in general, attempted to make nuisances of themselves. Honestly, I came for the food and to see Peter once again, the presence of a TV crew created somewhat of a distraction from the food.

I'm not going to comment on the food because I don't think I can add anything new to what has already been said at least 100 times. The food was as expected. Complex, multi-tiered layers of flavors that played off of each other, surprising tastes and, from the beginning, waves of heat that slowly increased as the meal went on. The gathered company was quite pleasant, the conversation flowed, and the food arrived to be ooohed and ahhhhed about (and with good reason). Some of the dishes (in no particular order), the whole roasted duck, cumin fish (my particular favorite), crispy pork belly, an amazingly complex, home made sausage, the stew of tripe, intestines and other assorted offal bits, and rabbit in a stone pot. While not really a suitable dish for a day when the temperatures are in the 90's, we managed to suffer while devouring it. The rabbit was spiced up with some locally grown peppers which extended the top of the Scoville scale considerably. There was more (there's always more) and every bite was better than the previous bite and every wave of tender, loving spiciness was just a bit higher than the previous. After three hours of non-stop food, conversation, and television cameras, everyone was in a wonderful food coma. All in all, a most pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon.

(Oh, btw, it's compliment not complement. One says nice things about how well you've done something and how nice you looked while you did it, the other gets along nicely while it's aiding and abetting your efforts ;))

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Now I have to buy a TV so I can figure out who this guy is. :rolleyes:

And what is "Instagram," and what is that little heart with 1,877 next to it?

Oh, Don, you're so blissfully behind the times. :wub:

I enjoy the heck out of Andrew Zimmern's shows. From what I remember about him, he's done everything from being a chef to being homeless and eating out of dumpsters. His show(s) tend to be about more unusual foods but he's always game and excited about things, it seems, and just comes off as a good guy. (I'm sure that could be editing, but everything I've heard about him seems to lean towards it being genuine.) I wouldn't call him a celebrity chef, but more of a food TV host.

(Then again, if you look at Guy Fieri that way, he's much less odious. :wacko: )

And Instagram is another social media site that lets you add filters to pictures and share them with folks, so it's probably nothing you'd be interested in. We know how you feel about social media, after all. :D The "hearts" are like "likes" or "+1"s.

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Oh, Don, you're so blissfully behind the times. :wub:

Somehow, I just have this feeling that there was a bit of gentle spoofing in Don's post. Not sure why I should feel that way...put it down to my having a finely developed cynicism detector circuit. :D Zimmern was easy to talk to and entertaining and would be a good dinng companion (not overly demanding, appreciates good food, and knows an interesting story or two).

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Somehow, I just have this feeling that there was a bit of gentle spoofing in Don's post. Not sure why I should feel that way...put it down to my having a finely developed cynicism detector circuit. :D Zimmern was easy to talk to and entertaining and would be a good dinng companion (not overly demanding, appreciates good food, and knows an interesting story or two).

If it wasn't obvious, I was spoofing myself for being such a cave dweller.

I've thought so often about listening to American Top 40, reading New York Times Best Sellers, watching daytime television, viewing Academy Award winning movies (though I am going through a 1967 retrospective), and then I'm like ... that, or spend another two hours on donrockwell.com ... hmm ... Website!

They say that obsessive psychos with sleep disorders make the best artists, and I'm psycho enough to think that this website is art, so....

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Here's a blog about the visit from Richmond Magazine: Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmern in RVA and some photos of the happy participants.

Thanks for that link, VJ.  .

 

In case anyone is wondering what the heck that thing is that Zimmern is staring at in the photo, it's a 5 gal. plum sauce bucket that Chang and his wife Lisa used years ago, while in Knoxville, as an improvised ice chest to pack up some food for me to take on the 2 hour+ drive home, something they did on more than one occasion.  Trillin mentioned it in his article, and one of those plastic buckets was still around in the basement, so I took it along thinking it would be an interesting way to collect a few autographs.  Sort of ties together some elements of the Chang saga. 

 

FWIW, the first in our series of TemptAsian lunches that really got the whole thing going took place exactly 8 years ago.  It's been an interesting ride.

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FWIW, the first in our series of TemptAsian lunches that really got the whole thing going took place exactly 8 years ago.  It's been an interesting ride.

From the Dept. Of Upmanship: Yeah, well you guys think that the great PC adventure began at TemptAsian, but in reality, it started before that, at China Star, when James Glucksman (aka "Pandahugga," who now owns a B&B in New Zealand) organized a Chowhound lunch that was also attended by Tyler Cowan, who claimed to have already eaten there several times. Chowhounders' writing about the food at China Star and also James' posted translation of the Chinese menu attracted quite a bit of attention to Chef Chang before he decamped to TemptAsian. I, ahem, was one of the lunch bunch at that China Star gathering, as was Marty Lederman, IIRC.

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From the Dept. Of Upmanship: Yeah, well you guys think that the great PC adventure began at TemptAsian, but in reality, it started before that, at China Star, when James Glucksman (aka "Pandahugga," who now owns a B&B in New Zealand) organized a Chowhound lunch that was also attended by Tyler Cowan, who claimed to have already eaten there several times. Chowhounders' writing about the food at China Star and also James' posted translation of the Chinese menu attracted quite a bit of attention to Chef Chang before he decamped to TemptAsian. I, ahem, was one of the lunch bunch at that China Star gathering, as was Marty Lederman, IIRC.

Zora: Everything you say is true (but that's always the case -- don't mess with Zora!). I would add, modestly, that I too did partake of his cooking at China Star based on the Chowhound information, but will admit I didn't really know much about him at that point. But the point I was going to in my remark above was that I think it's fair to say that, without the things that happened after he left CS, starting with those lunches and the considerable boost in interest in him that followed, particularly here on DR, the Chang story would not have developed and broken out into the media world to the extent it did. Of course, he is a great chef and surely was destined for good things, and we can never know how other scenarios might have played out.

Since you mentioned JamesG, I tried recently to contact him but only radio silence so far. I checked and the B&B website seems to be functioning. Has anyone been in touch recently?

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From the Dept. Of Upmanship: Yeah, well you guys think that the great PC adventure began at TemptAsian, but in reality, it started before that, at China Star, when James Glucksman (aka "Pandahugga," who now owns a B&B in New Zealand) organized a Chowhound lunch that was also attended by Tyler Cowan, who claimed to have already eaten there several times. Chowhounders' writing about the food at China Star and also James' posted translation of the Chinese menu attracted quite a bit of attention to Chef Chang before he decamped to TemptAsian. I, ahem, was one of the lunch bunch at that China Star gathering, as was Marty Lederman, IIRC.

Hey! I'll one-up *you*, young lady. When was this Chowhound outing? I'm claiming dibs on Peter Chang sometime before May 6, 2004. Tyler may have gotten there first, since he had apparently written about China Star by the time BasilGirl posted in April. BasilGirl, are you on this website?

The cool thing was that I was just meeting an old Chinese friend of Karen's for lunch (I lived in Annandale at the time), and had *no* idea what I was in store for - I had no knowledge of any "Super Chef" being there. She ordered, the food started arriving, and I was like, "Damn!" For me, a totally random and revolutionary experience, like nothing I had ever before come across. I lived about two miles from China Star, and must have gone there 50 times in the next year - even though my unofficial goal was to discover every Korean restaurant in Annandale, China Star became my carryout Gold Standard.

Okie-Dokie, Cumin Fish at Hong Kong Palace is sounding pret-ty good right about now.

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For anyone interested in drilling down into this Andrew Zimmern thing, it's worthwhile to point out that the episode shown on the actual TV show goes well beyond the clip on the Travel Channel website that has been linked, at least the one I viewed.  Among other things the actual TV episode starts with AZ, PC, and Gen and Mary Lee in a local doughnut shop that PC apparently has become quite fond of.  PC also states that he has found a permanent home where he is and won't be moving again. Take that FWIW.  There is also more extensive coverage of him cooking.  The show will be in reruns forever, so it shouldn't be too hard to catch it.  The PC segment is at the very end.

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Did anyone see this thing?  I don't have cable (hell, I had to Google Zimmern to find out who and/or what he was) so I have no idea what it was.  If someone can point me to a web place where I can see the entire episode, I'd be most appreciative. Some times not watching television can make you miss out on something worthwhile (but not often).

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If it wasn't obvious, I was spoofing myself for being such a cave dweller.

I've thought so often about listening to American Top 40, reading New York Times Best Sellers, watching daytime television, viewing Academy Award winning movies (though I am going through a 1967 retrospective), and then I'm like ... that, or spend another two hours on donrockwell.com ... hmm ... Website!

They say that obsessive psychos with sleep disorders make the best artists, and I'm psycho enough to think that this website is art, so....

FWIW I started on Chowhound in early 2000 long before FB even existed.  To this day I still don't participate on FB although my wife is obsessed with it. To the best of my knowledge I have never tweeted either.  However, we have almost every cable channel that Verizon has including 20 or so newschannels from around the world and more soccer channels that anyone could believe.  Some special interests (i.e. soccer) can be followed quite extensively on television now.  As for tweeting or instant messaging I would rather somebody pick up the phone and call me.  It's less effort and I type fast.

Of course I am old and at a point where I am lucky to remember how to half of my passwords.

For Don:  http://www.reelradio.com/index.html#menu and http://www.barryrichardsshows.com/pages/barrywinx.html

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