In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Food Network fan. So when I heard that there’s a new show called “World’s Weirdest Restaurants” starting on April 4, I was pretty excited about it. And when I learned that I could interview with the host Bob Blumer, who is the host of “Surreal Gourmet” and “Glutton for Punishment”, there was no reason to turn it down.
Bob and I actually had a brief encounter two years ago, when Bob visited Vancouver to host a Tourism Vancouver Island event during the Olympics. Not only that, I also took a picture with him at the event, so it’s even more exciting for me to reconnect with him (so to speak).
Bob is no ordinary chef. Watching him on TV, the way he turns ingredients into interesting, whimsical dishes, and his passion to continue to challenge himself is just inspiring, and that has become his culinary trademark. So I wasn’t surprised that he was the host of “World’s Weirdest Restaurant”. Bob is not one of the show’s creators, but, according to the show’s production company Paperny Entertainment, “Bob has been absolutely instrumental in every stage of the production.” The premise of the show is simple: Bob travels around the world to check out some of the weirdest eateries. There are 13 episodes in the first season, featuring a total of 52 weird restaurants in the world. Via Skype, let’s hear from Bob more about the show.
An Interview with Bob Blumer
Joyce: How long did it take you to shoot the first season?
Bob: Every episode has 4 segments. Each segment was shot in a 6-hour period in the restaurant. We would travel and shoot for about 3 weeks, then take a 2-week break before doing it again. In total, we travelled for about 5 months.
Joyce: How was the overall experience?
Bob: We met amazing characters and visited some crazy restaurants. It could be a grueling process because there were only 4 of us in the crew. It’s physically challenging to do all travelling and shooting, but it’s exciting at the same time.
Joyce: What was the favourite part of doing the show?
Bob: I got to travel to many cool places and some places that I had never been before. That was interesting for me.
Joyce: What was the weirdest restaurant of all?
Bob: Every place was weird for a different reason. The toilet bowl restaurant in Taipei, the monkey restaurant in Japan, and the pop-up nudist restaurant in New York. These are the weirdest in the true sense of weird. There are also many places that are run by eccentric characters. For example, this crazy place in Tokyo where a guy would go into a tiny closet in the middle of the dining room and come out as a different character every time; or this tiny bistro in the UK where a very eccentric woman has all these crazy hats and she would sing songs, sometimes even reading a menu would be a song.
Note: Check out the show’s Facebook page for some pictures taken at these restaurants.
Bob will be here on March 28 to open a one-day only, World’s Weirdest Pop-Up Restaurant at The Waldorf (only a few tickets left as of Wednesday evening). He is also hosting a similar dinner in Toronto on March 26.
Joyce: What should we expect at this dinner?
Bob: It will be a four-course meal. Each course is based on one of my favourite weird restaurants. The chef at each location will put a spin on a dish from one of the weird restaurants. We’ll show a sneak preview of some segments. It’s going to be casual and interactive, with few surprises.
Joyce: What other exciting projects are you working on now?
Bob: Studying to be an accountant in my spare time.
Joyce: You’re kidding, right? That would be a waste of your talent!
Bob: I’ll be working on a new edition of the cookbook “Pizza on the Grill”, which I co-wrote with a friend. And I’ll go cycling in Portugal after I finish the pop-up restaurant tour.
Joyce: Final thoughts?
Bob: I’ve spent the last year on this crazy journey, now everyone will get to watch it and see what it is like. Come along and enjoy this amazing ride! It’s a fast-paced show – there’s never a dull moment.
It was a fun experience to interview Bob Blumer. Halfway through the interview, we were sidetracked and started talking about where to eat in Portland! I’m quite looking forward to this new show. I had a sneak preview of the first episode, and also read the episode descriptions. Trust me, I think we’re in for a great ride! Check out the show trailer on Youtube.
Many thanks to Bob for taking the time to do this interview with me. If you are interested in learning more about the show, visit the Food Network Canada website, and tune in every Wednesday at 6pm/6:30pm or 9pm/9:30pm beginning April 4 to catch this show!