One of the perks of my job is that I occasionally get to meet some truly remarkable people, celebrities from all walks of life who have reached levels of unimaginable success. Every time I have one of these celebrity encounters I find myself leaving and thinking to myself ‘What set them apart? What enabled that person to become a household name?’. Well, last weekend I was down in South Beach with some bros from Amstel Light for the SoBe Wine & Food Festival, specifically the 10th Annual Amstel Light Burger Bash, the premiere event of the food festival. I was fortunate enough to grab a few minutes with Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel.
In the time I was able to sit and speak with Andrew Zimmern in the Red Robin tent at the Amstel Light Burger Bash, shortly after Andrew finished up his duties as a celebrity judge in the event, I figured ‘why not just ask him why he thinks he’s successful, and what’s brought him down the path to success. I wasn’t sure how the conversation would go at first but within seconds I realized I was speaking with a man who has truly figured life out (he’s also one of the nicest celebrities I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting).
Below is my interview with Andrew and it’s about 1000x better than any other celebrity interview I’ve done in the past, because he was dropping truth bomb after truth bomb about what it takes to be a successful person, all advice I’ve been seeking throughout the past few years….Make sure to keep scrolling after the interview though, because I’ve got some cool info on how he just changed the life of two culinary students who just won the prestigious ‘Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews’ Best of the Bash Award’.
Cass: by all measures of success you are a widely successful human being, one thing I’m interested in right now is the road to success. Say if someone was trying to break into the TV/Travel/Food world, do you have any advice for them? At what point did you know you were on the road to success?
Andrew: Well, I teach entrepreneurship at Babson College, and so I’m constantly in front of college aged students, and I do a lot of mentoring programs in Minnesota, and so I talk to people about this a lot. And I find myself the older I get sounding more like my grandfather.
There are a couple things that are really true in life:
‘Gravity is one of them.’
‘Be a good person and it will end up paying off.’
And the one that a lot of people don’t like to hear, which is ‘hard work pays off’.
When I was young I did not believe that to be as true as I did when I was middle-aged. I tried to do it every other way I could except by work harder, better, faster, stronger, earlier, and later than the other people. And the minute that I started doing that amazing things really happened.
I also believe in ‘well timed risks’ as well, and I think that if you have enough people in your life that you trust they can help you make those decisions. I left the restaurant world 18 years ago, and I went to a magazine, a radio station.
Cass: What magazine were you at? (editor’s note: I should’ve looked this up/known beforehand. In hindsight I feel like a moron for not knowing this going into the interview)
Andrew: Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, a local glossy monthly…(I went to) a radio station and a local TV station, and I said ‘I want to intern for 90 days, don’t pay me’. And they said ‘whatever, you’re 38 years old, we can’t have a 38-year-old intern’. I said ‘I’m smart, I’m good, I’M FREE.’ And they said ‘sure’, and within 90 days I just made myself semi-indispensable.
But the more important part of the whole thing was that I actually learned how to do things in my profession that I really wanted to learn. I ended up working for the TV station for five years, doing live local news. I learned how to edit and write, and do all the things…’Cause I wanted my own TV show, so I had to create my own educational syllabus.
So a lot of it is intention planning, take the right risks, and then work harder than everyone else. I mean, I know it sounds crazy.
Cass: This is honestly some of the best advice I’ve ever heard, truly.
Andrew: Well there’s nuts and bolts practicality to it, and some people, I think, when I was young I suffered from a really perverse form of entitlement, and it created a lot of resentments in my head. ‘Why didn’t I get this?‘ ‘Why didn’t it happen fast enough for me?‘ ‘Why did it happen for you?‘ You know, pointing the finger at other people and not at myself, and the moment I just sort of took responsibility for my own life and said ‘no one else is going to make me happy but me’ and that’s when things started clicking.
Thus concluded my time with Andrew Zimmern at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Amstel Light. Later in the evening I found Andrew up on stage handing out the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews’ Best of the Bash Award. Zimmern awarded the $10,000 check to Kathy Sidell and David Daniels of MET Back Bay, who will now have the chance to be featured nationwide on Red Robin’s Finest premium burger menu. So even after hearing him talk about the importance of hard work paying off, and how he’s passionate about mentoring, I was then able to witness firsthand as he changed the life of two individuals with a $10,000 check from Red Robin…It was pretty spectacular.
Now, that award is not to be confused with the HIGHLY COVETED ‘Amstel® Light People’s Choice Award at 10th Annual Amstel® Light Burger Bash’, this IS Amstel Light‘s signature event after all so they’re the ones handing out the MOST IMPORTANT hardware of all. That award was won by the Iron Chef himself, Chef Masaharu Morimoto. He collected the Amstel® Light People’s Choice Award after picking up the most voting chips (everyone in attendance was given a chip to vote for their favorite burger), and Iron Chef Morimoto winning was extra spectacular for me because his burger was my own personal favorite of the event. Then came Chef Morimoto’s speech…Now I’m not saying he was tipsy, but when he won he walked up to the microphone and said something to the effect of ‘I can’t speak very well, but I can sing’ and proceeded to belt out some glorious song in Japanese
My second favorite burger of the event was probably the chicken-fried burger from celebrity chef Tim Love. His burger was juicy as hell, and as luck would have it the Local 10 News from Miami happened to be walking by with a camera just as I was tasting his burger and caught me as juice was falling out of my mouth…I was a little shocked to find myself on TV the next day, but it came full circle when Chef Tim Love was doing a Twitter Q&A for Food And Wine Magazine, and I was able to ask him about it:
So that was fun, and Tim seemed like a pretty cool chef, one that was genuinely interested in whether or not I enjoyed his food and not just there because he wanted to win the Amstel Light People’s Choice Awards.
I guess that will conclude today’s coverage, but check back later in the week (probably tomorrow) because I’m going to hit you bros with a gallery of the most deliciously mouth-watering photos of burgers you’ve ever seen in your life, because the food at the Amstel Light Burger Bash was some of the best I’ve ever had in my life, and I feel strongly about sharing it with you bros.