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Oct 22, 2006 03:08 AM

Andrew Zimmern: chow-impostor?

I was at the grocery store today when I saw an ad for a local food critic here in the Twin Cities who has a show on the radio called chowhound. I have posted a link to his blog below. I am wondering what kind of rights Jim Leff and his peeps have to the name etc.? Is this legal? Ethical?
To the moderators, please feel free to repost or delete, I mostly just wanted to draw your attention to the issue.

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  1. hey, its the guy from Bizarre Foods Asia! I loved that show!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Xericx

      Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern is now on Travel Channel. He will be airing 26 episodes in the coming months... WOW that's a lot of grub worms to eat...

      1. re: Xericx

        Lol did you guys catch him and Bourdain on the double NY episode? Looked like Bourdain couldn't stand that guy.

        A "bizarre food" host who couldn't stand to eat

        Hey - people seem to like him. So good for him.

      2. Jim Leff didn't invent the word "chowhound," it's been around for a long time.

        "Chowhound" is currently trademarked only as a pet food.

        Trademarks on fishing lures, solvents, and food courts have expired.

        1. In any case, "chowhound" and "chowandagain" are not the same word/name/phrase. Anyone could start a blog called, say, chowkitty or chowtiger or chowbeast or chowster (perhaps someone has) and it would not legally tread on chowhoud's cyber-toes.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ClaireWalter

            Zimmern's KTLK radio show is called "Chowhounds."

            But CNET has not trademarked "Chowhound," and even if they had there'd be no infringement, since Zimmern's radio show isn't competing with this Web site.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Can CNET really trademark a word which has been in general use for so many years? I don't think so. I remember my uncles using the word when I was a child. CNET could trademark their logo, but not the word itself.

              1. re: Seattle Rose

                They could trademark Chowhound as a Web site name.

                If they wanted to sell pet food, they'd have to find another brand.

                1. re: Seattle Rose

                  There's a legal difference between a copyright and a trademark. To get either, someone would have to demonstrate that they had originated the term.

                  According to the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, the first use of "chowhound" in print was in "Marine Magazine" (figures!) in 1917 so it's likely that the word was commonly known at that time at least in some circles. The word "chow" began to appear in the mid-1800s.
                  It would be hard for anyone to make a case for a copyright or trademark for either word. The logotype is another matter, as you say.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    What is the etymology of the word? It seems very Chinese... maybe it goes back to some railroad wok chef named Chow?

            2. I've seen promos on the Travel Channel for a new show (don't remember its name) that's going to star Zimmern. In the promos, he talks about eating a whole list of extremely strange foods. Sounds a lot like Bourdain's adventures.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RGR

                The promo I saw last night had Zimmern asking Bourdain for advice, which boiled down to something like "eat local -- eat what the locals are eating" and, AB to AZ, "you're way ahead of me in eating weird stuff." (He may have said something more specific than "weird stuff" -- dogs maybe?)

              2. I watched an episode and it was alright. He seemed very picky and choosy. I mean, he went to a lot of open markets with a lot of so-called bizarre foods (i.e lots of insects) but he really didn't try them. He ate bat and some different types of animal testicles (which I give him credit for) but not everything he pointed out was peculiar to the US. He gagged on Durian which is hardly a difficult thing to eat, although the smell can sometimes be off-putting. He also went to a sushi boat restaurant in tokyo and had some octopus (which is pretty prevalent here in the states). Don't get me wrong, it was just one episode and I'm curious enough to watch some others, but he just doesn't seem like the right host for this type of show.

                4 Replies
                1. re: DavidB

                  I have also tried and failed to like durian, and I wanted to like it so much, so I won't throw that stone.

                  However -- has anyone else noticed that he never touches the food with his lips? He always sort of cowboys up and puts it on his tongue or throws it into his mouth. Which is not only gross to watch; this is clear body language saying that he doesn't want to eat the things he's eating on his show, it's a very common thing with people who have food issues; anorexics, etc. So watching him do that for a half hour while he goes '...mmmm...' unconvincingly makes me think he's a big fat liar when he says he loves food. I am not buying.

                  1. re: DavidB

                    I really have a hard time trying to figure out what we're supposed to be getting from this guy. He's unattractive and fat, which shouldn't be an issue for a food critic. But a show about the fat, ugly American in his lumpy shorts and pastel shirts eating his way across the world really doesn't seem that appealing. I would be similarly put off by a show about some broken-down alcoholic street bum drinking his way across the riverbottom. I also watched him cringe at "stinky" tofu, and I don't get it. His adenoidal delivery along with what appears to be a xenophobic worldview ... like I said, I don't get it.
                    Either way, it's a disservice to the chowhound name.

                    1. re: Fuser

                      Ok I'll concede on durian. But c'mon - stinky tofu? Themis is right in that he never enjoys the food or even like eat it for real. He puts it in his mouth much like someone who doesnt want to do this. Ever seen Bourdain eat anything like that? No. The man eats it, chews it, tastes it. Anyways. I guess the discovery channel execs like it - so it's on the air. But like Bourdain says, "I give him 1 season tops."

                      1. re: MFoxM

                        Come on, he liked the stinky tofu sold on the street in Taiwan, he just couldnt handle the stuff from that lady's shop. My Taiwanese friend (who loves stinky tofu) says that some shops in Taipei have been fined for air pollution, i.e. they just take it too far.

                        He geniuinely likes to eat insects, especially in Mexico, and I think he is honest with what he likes and doesn't like.