Bob Blumer visits the world’s weirdest restaurants; hosts a pop-up at The Drake
By Bianca Puorto
Eating sushi at Ninja New York (Image: Food Network Canada)
Bob Blumer, host of the Food Network Canada series Glutton for Punishment, is about to embark on his next adventure, World’s Weirdest Restaurants. The series follows Blumer as travels the world to sample some truly strange culinary destinations. We caught up with the television host to talk about his new show and his March 26 pop-up restaurant event at The Drake Hotel.
Can you tell us a bit about World’s Weirdest Restaurants?
It’s exactly what it sounds like. We kind of ping-pong around the world and visit these wild, weird, wacky restaurants.
How is it different from Glutton for Punishment or The Surreal Gourmet?
Well, in The Surreal Gourmet I’m actually cooking. I’m not cooking in this. And on Glutton for Punishment I’m basically thrown to the wolves in different food challenges. In World’s Weirdest Restaurants, I get to be the tour guide.
How did you get the idea?
It was something that kind of floated around the office and it sounded perfect for me and what I like to do.
Do you have a favorite place that you visited?
We stayed in Tokyo for three weeks and stayed in this businessman hotel and learned how to ride the subway. That was really, really cool.
Is there something you wouldn’t do again?
[Laughs.] Not every restaurant lives up to the billing. There was this one all-mayonnaise restaurant in Tokyo. That one didn’t make the cut.
So we won’t being seeing that one on the show?
How did the idea for the pop-up at The Drake come about?
I know the people at The Drake and they do a lot of unusual events and I wanted to be able to go somewhere where I could do a four course meal like this.
Can you tell me a bit about how the evening will go?
There will be four courses, each one from a different restaurant that we visited on the show. I’m going to take you through each meal and before trying them, the audience will get a sneak peak at my experience trying the dish.
Did these four restaurants give you their recipes?
No, these are more interpretations, or sometimes improvements, on what they did. They’re loosely based on the concept or presented as they presented them. I sat down with the chef (Anthony Rose) from The Drake and we went over the menu and discussed it. He’s a great, great chef.
What can guests expect?
I don’t want to give away too much, but the meal is a collage of dishes from four of the places we went, so we’ll be bringing in props to decorate and the audience will get to see parts of the show.
So what’s next for you?
The show starts in April, so we’ll see how it does, and hopefully we’ll get the thumbs up for season two. Then I’ll be cycling in Portugal and I have my book, Pizza on the Grill. You know, just trying to stay off the streets.
World’s Weirdest Pop-Up Dinner with Bob Blumer, The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West. 416.531.5042 Ext.1, $38, March 26