What Adam Richman Misses Most From Man V. Food - Exclusive

It's been nearly a decade since Adam Richman took on his last challenge for Travel Channel's hit show Man v. Food, and while his stomach may be thanking him for that, it doesn't mean the foodie and TV personality doesn't look back on the memories fondly. We spoke to the legend himself, a man who once consumed a 72-ounce steak in under half an hour, and he told us there are a lot of experiences he cherishes from his time filming fantastic food feats across the country.

Richman recently sat down with Mashed to not only discuss his newest projects, Modern Marvels and The Food That Built America (both which you can catch on the History Channel), but also to take a little walk down memory lane and share his favorite memories from hosting Man v. Food – the show that essentially launched Richman's TV career.

For Richman, it was really about the people

When Adam Richman walked away from Man v. Food in 2012, there was a lot of speculation about what was behind the decision, and whether or not the challenges were too damaging for his health. Richman pushed back on that notion at the time (via BBC), but we can tell you firsthand, the former host doesn't necessarily miss those massive meals

So what does Richman look back on? "I miss my crew," he told Mashed, adding "we were very much a family, and we're still in touch. But I miss them very much." And it's not just his own production team that Richman remembers so fondly. He told us "I miss going to the mom and pop restaurants..." explaining that for him, it was always about the people rather than the food. "People always wanted me to say, 'Oh! I love having all the barbecue. I love having all the fried chicken.' That's cool. But anyone can go to these restaurants and buy that. But it was the people and seeing the country... that I miss and value the most." Richman says he met countless wonderful and welcoming people all over the U.S. who embraced him with open arms. He said "If you're kind and you're respectful and you're appreciative, you're in. You're like family."

Richman remembers the thrill of the challenge

While Adam Richman isn't eager to take on any new Man v. Food-style challenges these days, he admitted to Mashed that he definitely misses the thrill and excitement that each new challenge brought. Richman confessed "there is something about going into a room and people cheer your name. And they have something vested in your success... There is something about the thrill of combat, and that moment in trying to be the people's champion."

When asked how he was able to take on so many challenges without any training in professional eating, Richman explained that it was that thrill that pushed him forward. "I'm very, very competitive by nature. And I do not like losing. And I think that I was never the best eater in the world," Richman said, adding "and there are times I look back and I look at what I ate, and I realized it was so much about force of will and not wanting to lose on television." It would seem that the self-imposed pressure worked out for him. It's true that in the battles of Man v. Food, food sometimes got the better of Richman, but it's estimated that he dominated the challenges about two-thirds of the time.

Richman recalls some of his favorite stops on the journey

Over the course of Richman's four years and four seasons on Man v. Food, the host visited dozens and dozens of cities and eateries across America, something he doesn't take for granted (via IMDb). "There really was nothing quite like going to a place in a town you've never been to before," he told Mashed.

He even mentioned a few by name. "You're going to Cotham's Mercantile for the hubcap cheeseburger outside of Little Rock. You're going to Gray Brothers Cafeteria outside of Indianapolis... San Francisco Creamery. We're going to Driftwood, Texas," for Salt Lick Bar-B-Que (via YouTube). As Richman puts it, "places that a white Jewish kid from Brooklyn might never see themselves going." And Richman is very humble about it, saying that "food opened the door" for him. "It's not me, my celebrity, my ruggish good looks. It's simply about, 'I appreciate you. I appreciate what you do. And I appreciate how much you have to teach me,'" says Richman. 

Of course, Richman wasn't the only one who benefitted from the exposure of Man v. Food. He told us, "that show did so much good for so many independent businesses." It's still doing so today, but with a new host at the helm, Casey Webb, since it returned in 2017.

You can catch Adam Richman exploring the history and mechanics behind many of today's foods on Modern Marvels and The Food That Built America, both on the History Channel and streaming now on history.com.