The Untold Truth Of The Surreal Gourmet Chef Bob Blumer

Foodie Renaissance man, artist, charity do-gooder, adventure junkie, and compulsive world record breaker Bob Blumer isn't like other celebrity chefs. For starters, for his first TV show, "Surreal Gourmet" and to promote his cookbook, Blumer traveled around in an Airstream, affectionately called the Toastermobile, with two giant slices of "toast" (which today serves as his garden "gnome") poking out the top (via Instagram). Blumer's other TV shows, such as "Glutton for Punishment" and "World's Weirdest Restaurants," are no less creative and eclectic as Blumer takes viewers on adventures that include breaking food-related world records and eating at wild restaurants like one with monkeys as servers (via

Yet, Blumer has taken his career beyond cookbooks and TV shows, spreading his creative wings by dabbling in visual art, creating avant-garde wine glasses and decanters, and even designing a hotel room. He's also become involved in helping feed the food insecure, among supporting other charitable causes (via Blumer's website). One thing's for sure: Bob Blumer has brought personality, imagination, and innovation to the culinary world and beyond.

Bob Blumer wrote a cookbook to pay rent

According to Ageist, after ditching the corporate world following business school, Bob Blumer took a job selling band T-shirts while traveling on tour. He then had a stint as musician Jane Siberry's manager before heading to California when Siberry went to London for a prolonged recording session. Once in Los Angeles, Blumer found himself needing money to eat and pay his rent. Blumer could have gotten a traditional job, but hey, what fun is that when you can write a cookbook? So that's what Blumer did, and his first cookbook, "The Surreal Gourmet: Real Food for Pretend Chefs," was born.

"Hare-brained schemes are a dime a dozen, but I thought, 'You know what? I should write a cookbook!' So I sat there and sketched a few ideas," Blumer told Ageist.

Despite his lack of formal culinary training and his status as a novice author, the cookbook was picked up by Chronicle Books and Blumer's journey toward stardom began.

A much different person than 'TV Bob'

In an interview with Toronto Standard, Bob Blumer told readers that he refers to his on-air personality as "TV Bob" and insists the "real" Bob is a much different person. When he's on TV, Blumer says he "come[s] off larger than life and some people might find [him] abrasive." He continues, however, explaining that his real personality is quite the opposite, and he gains fulfillment in teaching others. "It's interesting to see that in oneself, where giving someone else pleasure of helping [change] their life is actually more gratifying than doing things for yourself," Blumer said.

Also, despite the often outrageous meals he prepares on TV, Blumer prefers making "meals with simple and fresh ingredients" (via Toronto Standard).

But don't get him wrong, on TV or off, Blumer is all about food. When a former girlfriend described what it was like to date him, she reportedly said, "Well, you hang out with Bob, and it's kinda like food, food, food, food, and then you go to the occasional movie" (via Toronto Standard).

Eight Guinness Book world records

In 2008, as part of his show "Glutton for Punishment," Bob Blumer wanted to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for making the most pancakes in one hour. Not only was he triumphant in breaking the record with 599 pancakes, the episode was an absolute smash with viewers. 

The Food Network approached Blumer about creating an entire season around breaking food-related world records. Blumer obliged, and throughout 2010 during the filming of "Glutton for Punishment," he broke six more world records: making the largest bowl of salsa (2,672 pounds), cracking 2,069 eggs with one hand in an hour, making 168 pizzas in one hour, peeling 50 pounds of onions in two minutes and 39 seconds, making 108 Caesar salads in one hour, and picking up 134 individual grains of rice with chopsticks in three minutes. And then, as if all that wasn't enough, Blumer returned to the world record-breaking circuit in 2018 and concocted the world's biggest Bloody Mary (580 liters). While some of these records have since been broken by other competitors, Blumer is still recorded as record holder on others to this day (via Blumer's website).

The adrenaline junkie spoke to CNBC about his desire to tackle challenges like world records. "If there's a hill, you want to climb it," he said.

Bob Blumer is quite the artist

Bob Blumer is an incredible artist of various talents. He has designed wine labels featuring various iterations of blueberries for Imagery Estates. Additionally, he has created a series of incredibly original wine glasses and decanters, including the "Vino Hero Glass" with a superhero body and "A Whale of a Decanter" shaped like, you guessed it, a whale. Blumer illustrated all his cookbooks himself and, perhaps, most creatively, designed a hotel room in the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto (via Blumer's website).

The hotel's "Surreal Gourmet Suite" features elaborate and enlarged renditions of some of our favorite foods that pop up in spots you might not expect. There's the marshmallow package pillow cases, the Pillsbury doughboy TV cover and closet covered in Froot Loops wallpaper (via Where).

"It has the look and feel of '60s food iconography," Blumer told LA 411. "It was one of my happiest moments designing the marshmallow pillows," he later went on to say.

Bob Blumer's involvement with food charities

Bob Blumer serves as an ambassador for Second Harvest based in Toronto, which calls itself a "food rescue" organization that gathers and distributes extra food that would otherwise be thrown away (via Second Harvest). Blumer's role is both to help fundraise and advocate for the organization. He aided the group in recovering over 10.7 million pounds of food in one recent year, which was then distributed to the food insecure (via Best of Toronto). Blumer is passionate about the group's mission and doesn't seem to want to stop helping them anytime soon.

"As we go forward here, there's more and more people that'll need some help. There's always going to be a need and there's always going to be the food, so organizations like Second Harvest are going to continue to play an important role in equity for food with people," he said (via Best of Toronto).

"It's an amazing organization. I love the model and that's why I'm so passionate about it," Blumer said (via CNBC).