image description December 31, 2017

My Year in Review

My Year in Review

“I would like to say that what I fear are the challenges that stand in front of me, when in reality what I fear is the cowardice that lays within me.” – Craig Lounsbrough

2017 was a crazy year for me filled with ups and downs, mistakes made, tragedies big and small, successes and disappointments, friendships made and lost, frustrations and many moments of pure bliss. Same as you, same as every other year.

Life is fired at point blank range, we don’t see any of the big stuff coming, and that’s what makes it so thrilling. That’s why I don’t make resolutions for the New Year. I like to approach each year tabula rasa, with a clean slate. I aim to be the best human being I can be, anew, every year. I like that. It’s easier for me to digest, but most importantly it allows me to be successful more of the time. That’s good for my self-esteem. It’s a gift we all should give ourselves.

Some big stuff happened in 2017. All three of my businesses finally moved under the same roof. Creativity and team work soared and we can be more efficient as a group. I am so proud of my entire group. They are awesome and give so much to our efforts.

Intuitive Content, my production company, shot a new show for Travel Channel that premieres March 13th called The Zimmern List. IC continues to push the envelope in our travel adventure, food learning genre. I think 2018 is going to be a huge one for everyone at IC. Lots of great new shows in the works. Bizarre Foods enters its 12th year on air with a new season of brand new episodes at the end of January. Most excitingly, I am shooting a new show with all my friends at Show of Force, a production company in NYC run by one of my oldest friends from grade school. Intuitive and SOF are teaming up to create what I’m hoping becomes the Planet Earth of the food genre. Can’t wait for you to see that one.

Passport Hospitality is rocking along… we have a huge new project being announced soon regarding a brick and mortar restaurant, our plate is full with Super Bowl activities, managing our concessions business and we have a cool new catering company we built in partnership with one of my best friends that will be announced in the next few weeks. We are helping build the most incredible food hall in the upper Midwest in the old Dayton’s building. We are thrilled about everything that is going on at Passport.

Our new AZ Cooks video series on is growing every week thanks to all of you and this is the year we are finally finding the space and time to dive back into some of our book projects. Because of your support and feedback those projects are off and running. THANK YOU! We also launched a cool luggage line designed around traveling with intention, and 10% of the proceeds go to the amazing work of the International Rescue Committee. The luggage is as gorgeous as it is functional.

Running a group of companies is hard work, I have to tell you. I never considered this being my day-to-day work life, but I love it. Every day I am faced with new challenges. We all want to be successful and mentor and grow our team mates. We all want to be measured by financial success and that’s not always possible. Managing work as an absentee owner presents its challenges, I’m on the road almost 200 days a year making TV. Thankfully, I have great folks I get to work with who keep the home lamps burning. Without all of my teammates I couldn’t do it. I learn so much from them and I am so grateful for all they do. Most of all not a day goes by that they don’t inspire me, motivate me and help me become the person I want to be. Even on the worst days.

I try to remember work is only one part of life. On the personal side I could be healthier, physically, emotionally and mentally. I work hard at it but there is no finish line. I want to become more vulnerable, the key to happiness in my opinion… I need to lose weight, practice flexibility with others, try harder not to be an asshole, be more interested in the people around me, and handle my bouts of depression more appropriately. I also need to try to have more fun. I want to learn something new every day. I want to be a better father and some days I just don’t know how. I want to grow in my ability to empathize, to hear rather than be heard. And I want to do more to make the world a better place. For me, it’s a recipe for life that works. Helping others gets me out of my head. I need that. I also need constant reminders that I’m a human doing, not just a human being. Thinking gets me nothing. Doing moves mountains.

I wish all my friends, family, fans and first timers here a safe and happy New Year’s Eve. My hope is that your life gains greater purpose and you see and feel more joy in 2018. My one wish for the world is that those who have need, real need, find peace and a greater sense of prosperity, however they define it. My prayer is for peace, for tolerance and understanding. Our planet is small and we disregard it every day, just as we disregard so many of our fellows… I think all of us might want to truly lean in to these words:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…. [And] if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Charities & Organizations I Support

I spend time working with and for these incredible organizations. It fulfills me. It also makes a difference in the lives of others anytime anyone donates time, money or raises awareness… these are the places I do it. Please consider helping out in any way you can.

The International Rescue Committee
Hazelden-Betty Ford Foundation
The Retreat
The Meadows
Onsite Workshops
The Environmental Working Group
Food Policy Action
World Central Kitchen
Share Our Strength
Appetite for Change
Second Harvest Heartland
Feeding America
Food Bank For New York City
Services for the Underserved
The Zimmern James Beard Foundation Second Chances Scholarship Fund
Taste of the NFL





Powered by Facebook Comments