Andrew Zimmern and Edward Lee are two favorites of ours. They are smart, funny, wiseacre, socially conscious journalists disguised as chefs and television personalities. We say journalists because these boys can straight up write. Lee just released his first cookbook, Smoke and Pickles, which details his life’s journey from Brooklyn to Louisville through recipes and erudite story telling. Zimmern is not just the biggest Asian food booster on the planet, he’s well known for recognizing, through his popular television shows, lesser-known chefs, cooks, farmers and food professionals — in an age where appearing on food television is typically dictated by your number of Twitter followers or a well-connected (and expensive) publicity team. Zimmern’s the guy who goes to Los Angeles to fish for grunion, go “ranching in Compton” and to profile the food of under-reported Little Cambodia.

So when Lee and Zimmern got together to record a podcast (with AZ’s wonderful co-host Molly Mogren), the debate was pretty real. Listen to the podcast here. Topics include:

  • A story about throwing horse testicles on a roof.
     
  • After great confusion, Edward Lee meeting Ted and Matt Lee for the first time.
     
  • Lee’s writing process for Smoke & Pickles and how he found an edge.
     
  • Memories of Zimmern cooking Cantonese classics during his Wednesday night Asian night at his former Minneapolis bistro, Café Un Deux Trois. 
     
  • How Lee didn’t know “what he wanted to do” before he was in his late-30s, while young chefs these days need to “have a concept and a restaurant” right out of culinary school. 
     
  • Did Edward Lee really like doing Top Chef?
     
  • The final few moments reveal how AZ has had it with all this talk of sriracha shortages, which we could not agree with more.