Adam Richman may have become a household name by tackling America’s most insane food challenges on the hit series “Man v. Food,” but the Travel Channel host is all about savoring the finer things in life today.
He’s now on a quest to uncover the world’s hidden restaurants, taste off-the-menu dishes and introduce viewers to unique global tastes on “Secret Eats.”
“We found restaurants in fake detective agencies that are hidden behind walls that you have to activate with a level to places that are inside a furniture store where they cook in a closet and it’s called the Disappearing Dining Club,” Richman told FoxNews.com Lifestyle. “It’s amazing and it’s stuff that anybody can do.”
Richman visits hotspots in Rome, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Moscow during the series. Sometimes the dish is hidden, sometimes the whole restaurant is a secret. In the season premiere, which airs Monday, Richman travels to London where he visits a secret speakeasy, finds a restaurant hidden inside an antiques and architectural salvage market, and even showcases some of his signature dance moves to get a secret sundae for dessert at a Soho diner.
The experience was a little humiliating, says Richman, but it’s just one of the many thing he’s had to do in order to find some of the world’s most unique dishes.
“Sometimes you have to say a password to even just get the secret menu,” advises Richman. And once he had to get close enough to a female chef to whisper something covert in her ear.
In the U.S., hidden speakeasies and bars-behind-phonebooths have become a relatively recent phenomena. But overseas, it’s not just about the gimmick. Many of these places have been around for a long time and their hidden entranceways were born out of necessity, says the seasoned travel host.
When Richman isn’t eating, the accomplished thespian is keeping busy. In July, he produced a revival of “Stalking the Bogeyman,” Markus Potter and David Holthouse’s play based off the true story of renowned journalist David Holthouse’s secret plot to murder the man who molested him as a child. It’s heavy fodder for a man who many know as a world class eating champ-- but Richman is a graduate of Yale’s prestigious drama school.
Still, the former "Man v. Food" frontman doesn’t regret his extreme eating past. After conquering dozens of challenges, Richman is thankful he didn’t suffer from any major health problems but did turn to veganism temporarily to shed about 60 pounds after the show ended. He doesn’t miss the dramatic eating competitions but he loves the way the hit show shed the limelight on some of the country’s little known eateries.
“I’ve always been grateful,” says Richman of his time eating his way through the country’s most extreme foods. “Every restaurant from that show has done 80 to 200 percent more business as a result of being on it in the worst economic climate for an independent business. These are wonderful, fantastic salt-of-the-Earth human beings who deserve all the success in the world so I’m honored to have had a small part in that.”
“Secret Eats with Adam Richman” premieres Monday on Travel Channel.