To call Anthony Anderson a foodie is a bit of an understatement. The 43-year-old actor has competed on Food Network's Chopped, judged episodes of Iron Chef America, and has vowed to go to culinary school. "Within the next couple of years," Anderson specifies. "The kids will be off at college, the bills will be paid, and I won't have to worry about anything except how I'm gonna make this Alfredo sauce from scratch." So when Food Network was pitched the idea to tour the U.S. in search of the nation's coolest food festivals, they had the perfect host in mind. "I said, 'That's right up my alley, let's make that happen,'" Anderson recalls. The result is Eating America With Anthony Anderson, which premieres Monday, July 28 at 9/8c.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you help choose the locations?
Anthony Anderson: You know, they just gave me a list, and I went along with them on that. So we started out with shrimp in Florida, went down to Texas for crab, New Orleans for their Food and Wine Experience, and so on and so forth.
TV Guide Magazine: Obviously Texas has a huge stretch of coast, but I don't normally associate crab or seafood of any kind with that state.
Anderson: Well, you've gotta go to Galveston, that's where they do it all right there. It was soft-shell crab season when we were down there, so we had a few dishes with fresh soft-shell crab right out of the ocean they were preparing right there.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you have a favorite festival?
Anderson: Oh I can tell you, there were three. Ribfest in Chicago, the Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival in Tryon, North Carolina, and the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience. Especially New Orleans, because there were 10 top chefs from around Louisiana, you know, professional chefs, restaurateurs. It was like an Iron Chef America episode: They had to prepare a meal just using seafood, and they had an hour to prepare it. So you can just imagine, 10 of the top chefs from the area competing against one another for bragging rights, for a check, and for trophies. That was my favorite.
TV Guide Magazine: What's your go-to meal, if someone asks you to make dinner?
Anderson: My weakness is a bone-in ribeye. Bone-in ribeye, truffle mac 'n' cheese, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts. That's my meal.
TV Guide Magazine: How seriously do you think about going to culinary school?
Anderson: Oh, very. If I could do it today, and not worry about my bills? I want to get into it for a year, travel to Italy and a bunch of other countries once I get the basics down from culinary school, just travel for a year and cook and eat and learn things. That's how serious I am. And hopefully I get to do it within the next couple of years. That's what I'm setting myself up to do, so I don't have anything to worry about at home. What's scary is figuring out how I'm gonna get my 14-year-old son out of the house. He's decided to become an actor. I rib him a lot, because he actually auditioned to be my son on my new show Black-ish, and he couldn't get it. I'm like, "Damn son, you couldn't even play yourself, what's up with that?" But my son was just not awkward enough for the character. And he couldn't even act awkward enough. He just has this swag about him that is in his DNA. I'm like, "I'm corny, I don't know where you get it from, but OK, it works for you."