Travel Channel Chef Andrew Zimmern visited Chattanooga Tuesday as the last stop on his "Appetite for Life" travel web series road trip, which will feature various Southern areas suffering damage from recent storms.
Zimmern came to the 212 Market restaurant in downtown Chattanooga to teach a cooking class called "Raise the Roof for Charity." The proceeds from the event will benefit The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga Tornado Relief Fund.
"I think the most important thing we do as people is share food with one another," Zimmern said. "That's how I investigate culture ... but there is a really serious message there- every year we have a theme and this year it is Southern hospitality, and we are taking a look at how communities are helping to raise awareness and heal each other through food after a natural disaster."
Zimmern, who is best known for his show "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" on the Travel Channel, began his road trip for this year's web series in Atlanta, where he partnered with Meals on Wheels to kick off his "Southern road trip for good."
"There are places that are on the mend and there are places that still need mending... this is not a once a year thing where you see someone on TV, it is a lifestyle change for our nation," Zimmern said. "We have to get in the habit of reaching out and helping our neighbors."
"Andrew Zimmern is on a road trip for good to help people in the south who have been affected by the storms," Chris Pierantozzi, creative director for Saatchi & Saatchi, said. "His big belief is that food can bring people together... that's why he's been touring and trying to lend a helping hand."
Zimmern and his crew began their day in Chattanooga by visiting Crabtree Farms, where he helped harvest vegetables with the workers there. Then they brought the food from the farm to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.
He said he enjoyed being at the 212 Market because of their sense of community and interest in sustainability and eating healthy while using only locally produced foods.
"The whole mythology about the Southern hospitality—that whole cliche—is no mythology," Zimmern said about his time in the South. "There is a welcome mat that the South throws out for visitors that is incomparable."
Zimmern also said he was very excited to discover what other restaurants Chattanooga had to offer tonight after he finished at the Market.