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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 durian...lol.

        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.

                  2. Am I the only one in the world who anti Andrew??? I can't stand watching him........listening to him or anything else.......and yes, I've met him........a number of times.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Abacus

                      You're not alone. I find him really, really, really annoying.


                      1. re: Abacus

                        I've 'had my fill' of hearing "mmmmmmmmmm" , head shaking and hearing the word
                        "kyoo-luh-nar-y" . too many times in too long of a show. Athematic and a lot of energy focused on testicles. Ah nuts.


                      2. I feel guilty about it because I find him down right arrogant and awful......and no-one will say a word about him, probably fearful he will write up bad reviews.......sigh. Anyway, here's to good food......and heck with nasty food writers.

                        1. As a Minneapolitan and a person who has had to deal with Mr. Zimmern in a customer service capacity many times, I will say that I have no intention of watching his show, ever. I was shocked to see that the Travel Channel gave him a show at all—no idea who he sold his soul to in order to work that deal. Part of the reason he hasn't been in a kitchen in a decade is that he is so notoriously difficult to work with. I myself can attest to his complete lack of social skills and nasty demeanor.

                          In addition, he's not only annoying...he's really, really BORING.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mill City Modern

                            I like his shows, mainly because it is interesting to see the places he travels to. His "lack of social skills" sort of comes through at times so I am not surprised to hear that comment. AB did seem annoyed with him.

                          2. THANK YOU Mill City Modern. You are so right on!
                            I just don't understand HOW he ended up being everywhere - I change the station if I hear his voice and have intention of checking out his Travel Channel show. No one in town wants to say anything bad about him because people here in the TC are generally decent souls -

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Abacus

                              My main issue with the guy is that his restaurant reviews seem to be more about who he knows and and which place is currently in, rather than what's really good. Often the places he likes *are* really good, but he ignores so many great places that are low on the hip-o-meter. And my tastebuds clearly don't see eye-to-eye with his reviews - some of his raves are favorites of mine (Vincent, Alma), but many others make me go huh. So I just don't bother reading his work.


                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                He also tries to be hipster in which he'll talk down something good just because it's popular like Sriracha. Sriracha was good 15 years ago when no one heard of it and I was using it. Don't tell me it sucks now just because every white person now uses it like ketchup.

                                He also predicts Filipino food because it's not that popular right now likes it's going to be the next big ethnic food like Indian. I'm Filipino and I like our cuisine but no Andrew that's not going to happen just because you want to be the first person to have called it.

                                Another thing annoying is when he describes flavors that don't even make sense. He'll describe a snail by saying it taste like a cross of pocket lint with the tartness of a green apple. The hell??? No one knows how pocket lint taste like and neither does he.

                            2. When I was little, my grandmother had a long skinny wooden dish shaped like dachsund. She'd open a sleeve of Ritz crackers and they'd fit in perfectly. On both sides of the dish it had painted on it, "Chowhound". I think that dish was older than these boards. I'm calling Granny!

                              1 Reply
                              1. Please make this man go away!!!

                                1. Bizarre Foods is lazy, scripted, and extremely predictable. and the hosts voice is nauseating to hear. If Jabba the Hutt had a food/travel show, this would be it. Fat, ugly Americans going to places to eat bugs is no longer entertainment! chow imposter indeed. I live in asia so seeing americans coming here to eat street food is like seeing someone eat hot dogs off streetcarts in NYC. no big deal.

                                  1. I've never seen his show or dealt with him personally so I can't speak to that but in the early '90s back when he was a working chef I applied for a job in his kitchen and he never called me back. I will never forgive him for that lol. His loss though.

                                    1. Zimmern is annoying as hell, but give the guy a break--Bourdain himself said eating durian is like "french-kissing your dead grandmother." Wow, can't wait to try me some!