After Man v. Food has been off for a five-year hiatus, the show is once again back on the menu as one of the hottest shows in food television. When it first came out back in 2008, Man v. Food was not a major hit. Over time, however, the show, largely thanks to the host Adam Richman, picked up a massive following. The entire concept, if you're unaware, revolves around the host taking on major eating challenges. Most of the challenges in U.S. restaurants today are because of this show, but some did exist prior to it as well. Take the 72-ounce steak challenge that is featured in the show's first episode, for example. The Big Texan Steak Ranch restaurant in Amarillo has been offering that challenge to patrons since 1960.
But these challenges are all over the place now. Some are heat challenges, while others are pure quantity. The thing about Man v. Food that was so intriguing is that the host is not a competitive eater. He is just a regular guy who loves food. Over the years, and especially since the show has gone off the air, some of the behind-the-scenes secrets have leaked out. Some secrets are about the show as a whole or about specific episodes, whereas others are about the host, Richman himself. None of these details are things that the show necessarily wants revealed because they may reflect poorly on the show or the venues. But you're here, so you're interested in gossip. Here are 15 Secrets The Producers Of Man v. Food Don't Want Us To Know.
15 Challenges Ruining Food
Man v. Food is not meant to be disgusting, although it can come across that way to some people. The show is open about wanting to promote different restaurants and foods. They don't want to do the opposite and turn people off of a food type. That's why, when asked, host Adam Richman would never speak poorly about an establishment or a food group, or at least that was until he left the show. Afterward, when asked if there's a food he can no longer eat because of a challenge, Richman responded, "Yes. After the oyster challenge in New Orleans, which was over half a decade ago, I think I may have had less than a dozen since. It just turned me off." So, if you were planning on eating 97 oysters in under an hour, think twice unless you never want to eat them again.
14 The Rant
The Instagram fight that Adam Richman had might have gone undetected by many, but if you were a fan of his or the show Man V. Food, you almost definitely heard about it. After Richman started losing weight, he posted a picture of himself trying on pants much too large for his new waistline. He hashtagged the post with #thinspiration. Well, a few fat activists let him know that the hashtag he chose is one that anorexics use. Whether that is true or not, we're unsure, but Richman answered back pretty rudely. He called them all sorts of names and even told one user to "Find a razor blade, draw a bath. I doubt anyone would miss you." The fallout was huge. Richman appeared to lose his new show, and the network seemingly cut ties with him.
13 Richman's Worst Experience
Every experience Richman had on the show, even the ones he failed miserably, was played off as a positive, if only for advertising purposes. But there is one in particular that Adam regrets doing and might even feel a little resentful for having been forced to do it in the first place. This one is from the Denver episode in which Richman had to eat a seven-pound breakfast burrito. It wasn't just the burrito or the chefs at the Jack-N-Grill Cafe that beat Richman, though. Apparently, he had a very serious sinus infection and had a fever of 101 degrees. To make matters worse, the meal had chunks of ham and green pepper, which Adam has admitted to have made him sick in general.
12 Man Finds Food
After Man v. Food went off the air, the show Man Finds Food was to be host Richman's next venture. He would team up with the Travel Channel once again and debut the show in July of 2014. Rather than eat horrific amounts of greasy food, Richman would find dishes that are off the grid. Kind of like Anthony Bourdain's show but, well, exactly like Anthony Bourdain's show really. But Richman's crazed Instagram rant halted those plans. Soon after his public meltdown, the Travel Channel announced that it had postponed the debut of the show and had basically suspended Richman following his outburst. This led many to believe that the show was done for and the host had been canned. That turned out to be false. They did postpone the premiere for almost a year, though. Long enough to allow people to forget that the host freaked out on social media.
11 Strangest Foods
As we mentioned before, the Man v. Food team was never willing to criticize any of the foods they tried out because the restaurants they eat at are putting their reputations on the line by appearing on the show. For that reason, Richman was always very careful about how he spoke about prior challenges, even the ones he secretly hated. Well, after he finished on the show, he opened up. When asked about the most disturbing food he ever ate, one that he would never try again, Richman pointed to the moose nose. He also made sure to mention the Chawanmushi which, in his words, was "a warm custard that I ate in Ginza in Tokyo made with cod sperm sacs. Feel free to read that sentence as many times as you need to to fully grasp my horror."
10 Richman Appears To Have Gotten Bored Of The Show
While Richman definitely never said that he was bored, the former Man v. Food host did say that he didn't want to wait for people to ask him to change things up. He said that he left the show at the time because he wanted to stay ahead of the curve. So, maybe he wasn't bored, but he definitely suggests that he saw the writing on the wall. In fact, he said that he left before the show got boring. So, he felt it was coming. He would also say, "The simplest way to put it is to say that the spectacle diminishes over time." This is partly why the show changed it up during the fourth and final season for Richman. But, as you'll see, there may have been other reasons.
9 Grossest Food
Even though Richman backtracked a little after he named the grossest food he ever ate on the show and claimed that he was "not insulting the dish or those who really love it," he was quick to answer a fan who asked about it. He disclosed that the most disgusting food he ever ate on Man v. Food was "jellied eels in London." Sure, he may have said that he's not insulting the dish, but his description of it tells you just how appetizing he believes it to be: "Fishy, boney eels in a gelatinous substitute somewhere between mucus and Vaseline. There were crunchy bones in it." Well, to be fair to Richman, that does sound absolutely revolting.
8 Anthony Bourdain's Beef
Fans of Anthony Bourdain probably won't be surprised to learn that he is not a fan of Adam Richman nor Man v. Food. Bourdain isn't really a fan of anyone, but that's neither here nor there because he does have a point with Man v. Food, even if he takes his criticism of the show to a ridiculous extreme. When asked about the show, Bourdain didn't hide his disdain, saying to watchers of the show, "Admit it. You wanted him to die." Bourdain went on to say that Man V. Food is popular in the Middle East, possibly contributing to the spike in ISIS recruiting. He suggested that this is because "the show confirms their worst suspicions — that Americans are fat, lazy, slothful [and] wasteful… I know what he's thinking," said Bourdain speaking of an Afghani watching the show, "America is a terrible place. I want to join ISIS." Way to go, Richman. ISIS.
7 New Host Controversy
The new incarnation of Man v. Food might have started out well based on the ratings, but the transition between hosts was anything but smooth. The new host, Casey Webb, may be the nicest guy in the world, but loyal Adam Richman fans weren't buying him. Many took to social media to criticize the Travel Channel's decision to bring back the show with a different host. Some signed petitions and others took to name-calling. We do have to say that Webb really needs to cut that hair of his if he's going to do this long term. Watching a guy eating 8 pounds of greasy roast beef with sweaty, long, and lank hair dangling in his food is about as unappetizing as it gets. This isn't food p*rn, it's gross.
Did you ever wonder how Adam Richman was able to eat so much during each episode? Yeah, he gained weight and looked quite capable of packing in the food, but he ate a disturbing amount of food. That couldn't be natural. Well, it turns out that he wouldn't eat the day before filming an episode. He said that he would drink copious amounts of fluids to stay hydrated and keep his stomach stretched, but he would avoid food, ensuring that he was at his hungriest the next day. That seems like a terrible lifestyle choice, but who are we to judge? We don't have to eat 10 lbs of cottage cheese to make ends meet. It's not that fasting is necessarily horrible for you, but the 'no eating' followed by overeating can't be a good mixture for a person.
5 Was Richman Sick?
When Adam Richman and Man v. Food went off the air, reports about the former host's failing health hit the newsstands. He was losing weight at an extreme pace, but he didn't look bad. In fact, he looked healthy. Still, 70 lbs is a lot of weight, and it seemed to come off rather quickly. This is what helped the rumor mill fuel that Adam Richman is sick and Man v. Food did it. The Travel Channel tried to do its best to quiet that talk and so did Richman. When asked about it, he said that he was perfectly healthy but that he was surprised at how many people seemed to wish he truly was sick. He suggested that other "sick people" were convinced that he'd been forced into retirement as if they were claiming him as one of their own.
4 Richman the Vegan
As we mentioned, Man v. Food was designed to be an appetizing show. It was meant to look good to viewers, not turn them off the food. So, how would it look for a guy who specialized in eating large quantities of food, particularly meat, to leave the show and become a vegan. Apparently, that would look bad enough that the Travel Channel and the host, Richman, went into damage control. After he left the show, Richman began discussing veganism but he never went full-blown vegan. While he did start eating less meat, "picking his spots" in his words, he didn't stop eating meat altogether. He even posted a picture of him eating a burger on Twitter to prove that he still partakes in carnivorous endeavors.
3 Alton Brown's Comments
Alton Brown, the host and creator of Good Eats and the commentator on Iron Chef and other shows, took a shot at Man V. Food several years ago. He called the show "disgusting" and said, "That show is about gluttony, and gluttony is wrong. It's wasteful. Think about people that are starving to death and think about that show. I think it's an embarrassment." The Travel Channel hoped that this bad press would go away. After all, who would want the most famous food TV host criticizing your show? But then, Richman took a shot at Brown on Twitter, saying, "Alton Brown: MvF is about indulgence-NOT gluttony-& has brought loads of biz to Mom-n-Pop places. You were my hero, sir. No more." Yet, Richman is way wrong here. Indulgence means to enjoy something. Eating a 24-pound breakfast burrito filled with ghost peppers is not enjoyable. It's gluttonous. Anyways, when asked if there was ever a challenge that Richman wanted more after completion, he said no. Does that sound like a guy who was indulging?
2 The Retooled Show
In the fourth and final season of Richman's run as host of Man v. Food, the name changed slightly. It became Man v. Food Nation. Now, the reasons for this were kept quiet, but Richman wasn't participating in major food and eating challenges anymore. Why? Apparently, says Scripps Networks chairman, Ken Lowe, the show needed to be retooled because they were worried about Richman's health if the show kept on going as it was going. Even they feared for a man who had to eat 30 lbs of bacon grease in one sitting. Truthfully, this might have also been Richman's doing. He was on a weight-loss kick at the time as well, so "health" might have been just a way of saying that Richman can’t keep off the weight he's losing if he has to eat his own weight in sausage.
1 Munchies 420 Café Cheated
Remember the episode of Man V. Food where Adam was asked to eat 10 Fire In Your Hole wings from Munchies 420 Café in Sarasota, Florida? He was unsuccessful in his attempt. After being asked to eat all 10 wings without drinking any milk or water, Richman bowed out after only a couple. He claims the odds were too stacked against him, and he seems to hold a grudge against the cafe owner because of it. In the episode, Richman kept asking what the challenge was, but the cook or chef withheld the information. While Richman laughed it off, he would later say that the chef cheated, and he didn't think back on the event too kindly. He would also criticize chefs who use hot pepper extract and not the peppers themselves. That thinking might have stemmed from this challenge as Adam was made sick by the ghost pepper extract used on the wings, reducing him to drooling and spitting in his hands after bowing out.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Reddit; Travel Channel; Youtube