Family Dinner Season 2: Info We Know So Far

It's official. Andrew Zimmern will be sitting down to dinner once again with families around the United States as his series "Family Dinner" is being renewed by the Magnolia Network. The Hollywood Reporter first revealed the news on August 16 and Zimmern took to Twitter to confirm it, writing, "Congrats to @in2itivecontent and our whole team for the S2 [Season 2] pickup of #FamilyDinner." 

Details about the Season 2 release date and episodes are scarce as of now. In Season 1 (available to stream on the Magnolia Network and Amazon Prime), the 20 episodes feature Zimmern getting a seat at the table of families across the country, often with heartwarming, and sometimes comedic, results. As Hollywood Reporter states, the show's intent is to "explore how the cultural, regional, and historical facets of who we are inform what and how we eat."

Last November, an eight-minute trailer on YouTube teasing the debut season revealed one of these emotional moments from episode 14, at a dinner with the Rodriguez family in Iowa. During the clip, family matriarch Laura Rodriguez shared with her (now) adult children the emotional struggle she endured when she left them behind in Guadalajara, Mexico, to build a new life in Iowa. It took Rodriguez four years to save enough money to send for her family so they could reunite in the States.

The moment struck a chord with Zimmern, who revealed in the trailer his own struggles with loneliness following his parents' divorce, leading to the end of the traditional family dinners he cherished as a child. Prior to their separation, Zimmern recalled a tradition of impromptu dinners with his extended family, sometimes with as many as 20 people gathered around the table. He filled the void by spending time with his friends' families. "I started to spend a lot of time at my friends' houses growing up. What I learned there was an incredible diversity of ways in which people celebrated an ordinary weeknight dinner and also holidays. Everyone's family did it differently," he told Travel & Leisure, of laying the seeds for this new show. 

Zimmern said filming the first season of "Family Dinner" — wherein he meets families as strangers and then parts as friends — brought back memories that helped fill a decades-old longing. 

Who's the host of "Family Dinner"?

Andrew Zimmern has built a long, profitable career as a chef, author, and television personality. He is a four-time James Beard award winner, according to Travel Channel, and through his globe-trotting career, Zimmern continues to satisfy a desire to understand the connection between food, culture, and community. Long-time fans likely remember Zimmern from his Travel Channel series "Bizarre Foods" and may notice a subtle connection between that show and "Family Dinner." 

As he told Travel & Leisure, "We put a family dinner scene in every episode of the show [Bizarre Foods] — we didn't draw a big circle around it or a giant yellow arrow pointing at it. ... A family eating together was the best way to show the rest of the world what that culture and what eating was like, and I thought that if we could see ourselves at family dinner halfway around the world reflected back at us, it would make the world a better place."

Now, with Season 1 of "Family Dinner" in the bag and Season 2 in the books, Zimmern is bringing the world to dinner with American families to help identify those traditions. "I think that, in a world that is increasingly polarized [and] defines itself by our differences; in a world where we need more patience, tolerance, and understanding — where is the best place to learn that? Where is the best place to celebrate the human story? Where is the best place to eat food? It's at the family dinner table," Zimmern told Parade of his motivation for doing the show.

What's the release date of the new season of "Family Dinner?"

"Family Dinner" is one of the original programming series launched by Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network, and Season 1 debuted July 15 through their deal with the streaming platform Discovery+, according to Parade. While there is no confirmed official launch date for "Family Dinner" Season 2, we do know that filming for Season 1 was already in process more than a year prior to its July 2021 debut. 

According to US News & World Report, Zimmern and his crew were in Minnesota in June 2020 filming at the home of Sheletta Brundidge, an Emmy-award-winning comedian, radio producer, podcaster, and mother of four children (three of whom are on the autism spectrum) who also lives with her husband and father-in-law who has dementia. Filming took place over two days, according to the article, and chronicled Zimmern, Brundidge, and her husband, Shawn, cooking up a dinner worthy of their Louisiana roots. 

With Season 2 confirmed, the crew can get back on the road, hopefully in time for a summer 2022 debut.

What the episodes serve up in "Family Dinner"

"Family Dinner" is as much about the host as it is about the host family. In each episode, Zimmern joins a family as they prepare a meal and dine together. Of course, Zimmern has plenty of background information before he and his crew arrive to begin filming, but once the camera starts rolling, he has to be in the moment — as genuinely in the moment as he would be sitting down to dinner with acquaintances in his personal life. In each episode, Zimmern lets his hosts take the lead. He peels, chops, or bastes according to their instructions. In so doing, he's learning, not teaching. 

As he told Travel & Leisure, "With the families, I've never felt like a stranger. I'm the agent provocateur, I'm the person who's pushing them ... to share things that they've never shared outside of their family with an audience all around the world."

Some of the revelations in Season 1 astounded him, including one specific Sunday dinner with an extended family of 15. While engaging in conversation about what draws them together each week, he learned the tradition began as a reconciliation. Following the death of a family member, the remaining siblings began to blame one another. The tension went on for a year before they realized they had to forgive and recommit to one another and did so through family dinners (via Southern Living).

Among the other families featured in Season 1 are The Von Trapps. Zimmern joined the descendants of the family that inspired the 1965 film "The Sound of Music" at the Trapp Family Lodge, a family-run guesthouse in Stowe, Vermont, to learn more about their lineage and traditions.

These are the kinds of stories Zimmern hopes to tell again and again in Season 2, the kind of stories that may inspire viewers to plan their own family dinners. And if you're interested in securing a seat at the table during Season 2, check out the casting call Zimmern posted on Instagram. His production company, Intuitive Content, is looking for families with strong food traditions who are willing to share their stories. To apply, submit a brief description of your family and your story, along with a selection of distinct family photos.