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Adam Richman may be best known to you as the original Man vs. Food, but since his days of competitive eating came to an end in 2012, he has been keeping busy. He currently hosts The Food That Built America, Modern Marvels and is the face of Adam Eats the 80s on History Channel, where he explores the reminiscence cuisines of the legendary era.

He recently made his podcast debut as the host of The Meals That Made Me, First We Feast’s new flagship audio series. Richman talks with the guests about the meals that have stayed with them over the years in each episode. He goes into detail about the meals they ate as children, the meals that contributed to their professional success, and the meals that now serve as an inspiration and help them understand why they do what they do.

Richman and I had the opportunity to talk at length about the show and his recent excitement. Here is what he had to say: topics like the meal that changed him and impending tasks.


Bricia Lopez: The Essence of Oaxaca

In this episode of The Meals That Made Me, Adam speaks with Bricia Lopez, a co-owner of the James Beard-winning L.A. Oaxacan restaurant Guelaguetza as well as a restaurateur, author, and social activist.

Bricia, who was dubbed “LA’s Oaxacan Princess” by the late L.A. Times food critic Jonathan Gold, shares her love of Oaxacan culture, its rich culinary traditions, and its regional flavors. These are the dishes that made Bricia Lopez, from the intricate mole ingredients that go far beyond just chocolate, to her father’s early days in America selling tlayudas with a crunchy pork paste as a street seller in Los Angeles, and to why she thinks that preparing a wonderful salsa can wow anyone.

E-40: From Hip-Hop Artist to Food Tycoon

In this episode of The Meals That Made Me, Adam speaks with E-40, a.k.a. 40 Water, a.k.a. 40 Fonzarelli, a.k.a. the King of Slang. The multi-platinum hip-hop artist Mr. Earl Stevens is also an entrepreneur; chef, author, and proprietor of the gourmet food company Goon With the Spoon.

E-40 discusses with Adam why he feels he has the best taste buds in the world and which hip-hop greats, like Snoop Dogg and Warren G, he thinks are capable of competing in the kitchen. These are the dishes that gave rise to E-40, from his Southern upbringing eating delicacies like fried chicken feet and chitlins to his love of the Filipino flavors of his youth growing up in the Bay Area to his fabled meatloaf recipe that he claims “goes crazy.”

Anita Lo: Cooking Without Borders

Adam teams up with his buddy Anita Lo, a Michelin-star chef, restaurateur, author, Top Chef master, and Iron Chef winner, in this episode of The Meals That Made Me.

Anita tells Adam about her upbringing in a Chinese-Malaysian home in the Midwest and her early travels throughout the world, where she was exposed to a diverse range of flavors that shaped her palate. These are the meals that made Anita Lo, from her vivid childhood food memories of traveling to countries like Malaysia and Iran, to her time studying traditional French cooking methods and preparing foods like foie gras and langoustines in France, to her solitary love of fishing.

Andrew Zimmern: How Food Can Put Life in Perspective

Andrew Zimmern, an Emmy and James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, restaurateur, writer, and social justice champion, connects with Adam in this episode of The Meals That Made Me.

Andrew, a pioneer in the world of food-travel TV with programs like Bizarre Foods, The Zimmern List, Family Dinner, and many others, imparts some of his insider knowledge to Adam while drawing on some of his most vivid culinary memories. These are the meals that made Andrew Zimmern, from his earliest meals as a young child trying new flavors at James Beard’s NYC home to a traditional chicken dish with a Maya family in Belize that changed his perspective on the world and a touching memory of the last meal he shared with his father eating mussels in Maine.

Ghetto Gastro: Layering Flavors, from the Bronx to the World

Adam speaks with Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker of Ghetto Gastro on this episode of The Meals That Made Me. Ghetto Gastro is a pioneering culinary art and design collective with roots in the Bronx that has built a name for itself by organizing one-of-a-kind events around the world with the goal of empowering underserved communities.

Adam and Ghetto discuss their love of blending tastes, utilizing food to start conversations and teach people new things, and bringing high-quality food to neglected communities. These are the dishes that made Ghetto Gastro famous, from cultivating a love of culinary arts through training with some of the most powerful figures in the food industry to hosting parties with the biggest names in pop culture, including Drake and Skepta, and utilizing ancestral ingredients in their new cookbook Black Power Kitchen.

Esther Choi: Korean Flavors, Straight Outta Jersey

The chef and proprietor of the New York City restaurants Mkbar and Ms. Yoo, Esther Choi, is this week’s guest on Adam’s show The Meals That Made Me.

Esther discusses her intense pride in her Korean ancestry and her desire to “Korean-ify” everything. These are the meals that made Esther Choi, from the disco fries she grew up eating in South Jersey to the kimchi jjigae she ate on death row and why it was so crucial for her to learn to cook lovely dumplings.

  1. Kenji López-Alt: The Wonders of Food Science

In this episode of The Meals That Made Me, Adam speaks with chef, author, YouTube phenomenon, and food-science whiz J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

The food memories that have shaped Kenji’s life and profession are explored in depth. These are the meals that shaped J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, from his early years as an architecture student that set him on the route to cooking, to his fascination with how eggs cook and how he believes science can be used as a tool to comprehend the world.

Evan Funke: The Art of Pasta

In the first episode of The Meals That Made Me, Adam speaks with Los Angeles-based chef Evan Funke, a two-time James Beard nominee who is regarded as a master of traditional methods for making handmade pasta and a culinary storyteller.

Evan remembers some of the most lovely and moving meals that have shaped his life and work. These are the meals that made Evan Funke, from learning about traditional handmade pasta skills from nonnas in Bologna, Italy, to introducing his signature pasta dish to American restaurants for the first time.

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