Adam Richman really likes food. So much so, that he has made a living out of eating, hosting the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food.” Now in its second season, “Man v. Food” features Adam going around the country to take on the toughest food-related challenges restaurants have to offer. Seriously, Bear Grylls has got nothing on this guy.
Adam was kind enough to talk to MJL about everything from the prohibition of fins and scales to bearded ladies.
Jeremy: I know you’re from Brooklyn. How involved Jewishly were you growing up?
Adam: Very. I mean, I went to a Solomon Schechter through 8th grade and then Talmud Torah High School. I’m still pretty fluent in my Hebrew. I’m not like I was. In my early years, we had separate silverware in my house but that’s more of a memory than anything. My father, may he rest in peace, did grow up with separate sets of dishes. Anyway, I was involved in Junior Congregation, and USY, and I was Vice President of my B’nai Brith chapter. I still wear a Magen David while I’m eating all these bacon cheeseburgers on TV. It’s awesome because whenever I go to a Jewish wedding, people always go, “Wow, you daven great!” I never wear a kippah at home or anything like that, but I can still do an aliyah with the best of them.
So, you’re obviously very culturally Jewish. What was the best Jewish staple food that was found on your table as a kid?
Oh my God. Mom’s latkes. Grandma Rose’s gefilte fish. Grandma Gildred’s meatballs. My mom and my grandma both made challah. Oh! Grandma’s matzah brei! Unquestionably. Mom made homemade matzah lasagna which is phenomenal. My great-aunt Anne made amazing hamantaschen and rugelach. Ironically enough, I mean, my mom’s chicken soup is incredible, but my dad throws down with chicken soup. Unbelievable. Those are some that definitely, definitely stand out. You know, every family had their own thing. For example, my father remarried, and my step-mom’s brother is in the fish business. And he makes homemade whitefish salad like manna from heaven. It’s ridiculous.