Ever wonder what makes some of Little Rock’s food personalities tick? Rock City Eat’s latest series, Food Insider, takes a look at individuals who are helping change the landscape of our city’s culinary scene. Whether they’re in the kitchen, managing a storefront, farming land or running a food truck … we’ll delve into both the professional and personal side of these dynamite people. This week, however, we got outside of Little Rock and feature Simon Majumdar of Food Network’s Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen, and The Next Iron Chef.
You’re currently on the road promoting your new book “Fed, White, and Blue.” Could you give our readers a brief description of the book and where they would be able to purchase a copy?
The book is available everywhere including the mighty Amazon, but also from your wonderful local independent bookstore (please support them).
The book is a memoir of my journey to US citizenship through food experiences. I asked people to invite me to share their food world and they did in the thousands. I ended up fishing for salmon in Alaska, lobster in Maine, making beer in Seattle and hosting a kosher bbq festival in Kansas City, amongst many others. It was a fantastic year and a journey I’ll never forget.
During your recent visit to Little Rock, what were some of the events and activities you participated in?
My wife and I had an amazing stay during our time in LR. People were so overwhelmingly kind. I loved all of my time, but perhaps the two best experiences were spending time with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and visiting the students at Pulaski Tech.
How many more stops to you have on your current book tour?
We will be on the road until November, with a few breaks for filming Cutthroat Kitchen and Beat Bobby Flay.
When you’re not on the road, what does a typical day entail?
I’m nearly always on the road. If I am not, I sleep and catch up on marathon sessions of my favorite TV series. I’m particularly addicted to The Blacklist right now.
You’re friends with Food Network’s Alton Brown. He even wrote the foreward to your book. What’s he like in person?
Exactly as you would imagine. Lightning witted and intellectually curious. I am still a complete fanboy of AB’s and consider him to be up there with Julia Child and Jacques Pepin as one of the USA’s great food educators.
How and when did you receive your first opportunity with Food Network?
It was back in 2010 when I was invited to judge The Next Iron Chef (season 3). I still marvel that they asked me, but will keep turning up until they have security throw me out.
A lot of people wonder if a lot of what they watch on reality television is real. As it pertains to Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen, and The Next Iron Chef, is what we see truly what goes on in real life?
It is. Food Network is very strict about the integrity of the shows. On CTK, I never get to see any challenges and only find out about them during the after show webisode on foodnetwork.com. (These are fantastic by the way. If you have not seen them, go and check them out)
What’s been your favorite moment while judging on Iron Chef America?
My favorite moment was not actually judging, but when I was asked to cook on an episode as a sous chef to Iron Chef Morimoto. It was the scariest and most exhilarating hour of my culinary career. We battled IC Bobby Flay and actor, Anthony Anderson and came away with the win. I’ll never forget it.
You’ve traveled and eaten all over the world. In the U.S., what are some hidden gem cities or towns that you’d recommend to folks?
The great food in the U.S. right now is not in the obvious big cities. I loved what I saw in Little Rock (South on Main) and what I am seeing in other smaller cities.
As a food writer, what are a few words of wisdom you can impart on aspiring young writers?
Writing is a muscle, so if you want to be a writer, then write. I try to write 2000 words a day, for publication or otherwise. Also, try and find a voice that is yours.