Andrew Zimmern wants you to watch Bizarre Foods tonight and help the homeless
|Watch Zimmern eat bizarre foods and help the homeless|
In a video message, Zimmern says that homelessness affected his own life.
As City Pages wrote last summer, he told Nightline's John Berman about his journey from homeless drug addict to a James Beard Award-winning food personality.
I lived in an abandoned building in lower Manhattan; one that we squatted--a bottle gang and I. I would steal purses off the backs of chairs in those swanky little cafes on Madison Avenue, run down the side street, leap the wall at Central Park and Fifth Avenue, get on the subway, go down to the Lower East Side, and sell the credit cards and passports that were in the purses for money to support my drug and alcohol habit. And then go to sleep at night on a pile of dirty clothes in this abandoned building, and I sprinkled a bottle of Comet Cleanser around so the rats and roaches wouldn't cross over at night so I could pass out in some peace and quiet, and that's what I thought was normal. That's how I lived for a year--no showering, I was the guy you crossed the street to avoid if you walked by me in New York.
The horrifying experience, Zimmern says, made him the success he is today.
Any decision that I make, anything that I do, every single consideration of my day goes through the prism of what my former experience has been. And I have a life based on completely different principles now, and I try to stick with those. I think it has been the secret to my success.