Gastronomical conquistador

The popular show Glutton for Punishment is back with a new season. In an interview, the show's fearless chef Bob Blumer talks about his experiences and how he became the fastest man to peel 50 pounds of onions

How many records did you break this season?
I've broken six Guinness World Records, including making the largest bowl of salsa, eating the most grains of rice -- one by one with chopsticks in three minutes, and peeling 50 pounds of onions in the fastest time.

Blumer when he became the fastest man to make 168 pizzas in
60 minutes

How did the idea of Glutton for Punishment come about?
The show is based on many of my own off-camera action-adventures. When we first created it, I thought we would just be documenting my learning experiences. I had no idea that it would turn into a reality show.

How did you start out as a chef?
I always loved to cook, but I had no formal training of any kind. One day, I decided to write a cookbook. It was all about having champagne taste, but living on a spaghetti budget. Somehow, I managed to trick a small publisher into publishing it. Much to my astonishment, the book was featured in the year-end roundup of the New York Times Book Review. That was 20 years ago. Five years later, I quit my day job managing musical artists.  Through practice and osmosis, my cooking skills have caught up with my enthusiasm, and spawned opportunities I could never have imagined. 

What's your most memorable culinary adventure?
Detoxifying fugu, eating mounds of raw stinging nettles and wrestling catfish with my bare hands all seemed like a good idea at the time but now seem rather crazy when viewed through the rear view mirror. The toughest episodes were the ones that involved learning a new skill, then creating and memorising a routine (kung fu tea pouring, flair bartending), and the ones that involved taking over the job of being a humble line chef in busy restaurants (breakfast cook, pasta chef).

Watch Glutton for Punishment daily at 10 pm, TLC

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