Life & Culture

JC Profile: Adam Richman


Adam Richman could eat for America.

In fact that is more or less what Richman's job has been for the past few years. As presenter of the massively popular Man v. Food show, which has aired on Dave, The Food Network and UK TV Food, Richman has become a cult figure for taking on some of the most insane food challenges in a country renowned for unhealthy portion sizes.

While Richman is proudly Jewish, few of his food challenges are kosher. Rather, they tend to fit into one of two categories - either a portion of junk food big enough to feed a family of six, or an attempt to digest a crazily spicy snack without spontaneously combusting.

Richman was Brooklyn-born and raised but, as he has been reminding people during a promotional visit to the UK over the past few days, his family originates from Leeds.

He might have frequented a lot of blue collar "pig-out joints" during his time on the show but Richman is no redneck bruiser - he studied for a degree in international studies and gained his masters from the Yale School of Drama before going on to (literally) bigger and better things.

His big appetites were formed at a young age. Asked about what was on the kitchen table as a child, he replied: "Oh my God, Mom's latkes, Grandma Rose's gefilte fish, Grandma Gildred's meatballs. Mom made matzah lasagne which was phenomenal."

Many fans of Man v. Food have expressed concern for Richman's health as he stuffs another cholesterol-ridden snack down his gullet. But Richman, who is among other things, a trained sushi chef, has described himself as a healthy eater.

"Generally speaking it's oatmeal every morning and, bare minimum, an hour of cardio every day. I'm a big proponent of salad and protein. I try to eat local, lots of green vegetables, legumes, sweet potatoes."

Although his disregard for kashrut is flagrant, his rabbi will be gratified to discover that there is one ingredient he does not savour: - ham. He says: "it has nothing to do with Judaism, I just don't like it,"

And he adds: "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'."

Richman has clearly given Jewish food plenty of thought. He reckons that for Pesach, maror and charoset should be removed from the Seder plate and everything dipped in guacamole instead, which he feels is "the chosen condiment".

And if his Jewish credentials were at all in doubt, half of North London will be pleased to note that Richman is a big Spurs fan.

In fact, on last weekend's episode of the Radio Five Live sports panel show Fighting Talk, he revealed himself to be as expert on the subject of the Premier League as he is on the chilli dog.

Richman also confessed he was slightly nervous about attending his first North London derby at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium while wearing his Spurs top. He said: "I feel like a Jew about to enter Gaza".

He would have been fine - as long as he avoided the dodgy burger vans outside the ground, that is.

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