Bob Blumer is a good example of a guy who has always wanted to dictate his own career path.
Since 1992, the native of Montreal has been dazzling culinary audiences with his blend of unconventional recipes and cooking methods in several books and a hit TV show, The Surreal Gourmet.
But Blumer knew his Surreal gig could only take him so far and began fantasizing, as many men surely do while on the job, what he would do if allowed to choose his ideal job.
Five years of good ratings gave him the opportunity to develop a new program called Glutton For Punishment, a sort of Amazing Race-Hell’s Kitchen hybrid in which Blumer roams the world taking on culinary and mixology challenges, attempting to master a lifetime’s worth of skills in one week. In one of the Glutton episodes, Blumer sees him participating in the New York waiter’s challenge, while one episode is dedicated to devouring mind-blowing hot peppers in a chili eating contest.
“The last 15 years or so, all my vacations, all my down time, all my everything I do in that time is I go on these action adventures to places and doing things that are food or spirits related,” Blumer says. “I just rolled it all together and my dream world is doing what I do on this show. Then I just tricked a bunch of people into letting me do it.”
Despite admitting that he doesn’t own a TV or even watch the tube, the two-time Gemini Award-winner has an amazing knack for understanding what sells to the masses. He also knows how to connect to guys, even though he stresses that Glutton For Punishment was not tailored to a male audience.
So maybe he can make the kitchen more appealing to those with ample amounts of testosterone pumping through their veins. When it comes to convincing men to jump behind the stove and start cooking, the former music manager says that shopping is the key to turning pizza-ordering dudes into genuine foodies.
“It’s all about having a well-stocked fridge and a well-stocked pantry,” Blumer says.
“If you have those things on hand, most of my meals don’t take more than 15 minutes from start to finish and they’re damn fine because I take simple ingredients and combine them to make really bold flavours. The other thing is you start with simple things and then you gain the confidence to cook for yourself or a date.”