Travel Channel star tastes St. Croix


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ST. THOMAS - Celebrity epicurean Andrew Zimmern can stomach just about any gastronomical oddity, including, it turns out, bull foot soup.

Zimmern, who is the host of Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods America," visited St. Croix in January to get a taste of the island's cuisine.

Boy, did he.

The episode, titled "St. Croix, USVI: Bull's Feet in Paradise" and featuring Zimmern's taste-test of the island, will begin airing on the Travel Channel at 9 p.m. Monday.

During his visit, Zimmern tried an assortment of local delicacies including: bull foot soup; goat water soup; blood pudding sausage; pig foot souse; Senepol beef; fried goat fish; grunt fish; salt fish; shellfish liver; conch roti; breadfruit tostones; and several kinds of pates.

"He enjoyed the food immensely," said Rick Gomes, spokesman for the show.

It was not Zimmern's first time in the territory, and the Virgin Islands is a vacation spot for the host, Gomes said. He even indulged in a few breaks from dining while visiting in January, heading out to snorkel and spearfish.

However, the majority of Zimmern's 12-day stopover in the territory was spent with a cast of local foodies, visiting hot spots such as the food trucks along Centerline Road, including "Joe Can Cook" and "Ruki's Roti." He also stopped by Annaly Farms and the Villa Morales Restaurant.

"It was an experience," said Claudette Thomas, who owns a food truck that she informally named "Right Taste Catering," with her husband. Thomas served Zimmern what he later realized was his favorite dish from the experience, bull foot soup.

"Cooking is a passion for us," Thomas said. The food prepared by her and her husband is all about blending the spices evenly and creating their own custom flavor, she said.

The V.I. Tourism Department worked with the show's production team from Tremendous! Entertainment, which spent more than $150,000 on the island. It also temporarily employed seven local crew members.

The show is estimated to reach more than 3 million potential travelers as it re-airs multiple times on Travel Channel, generating an estimated total media value of almost $1.5 million.

For more information about the show, or to see more images of Zimmern's trip to St. Croix, visit http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/bizarre-foods/episodes/st-croix-usvi-bulls-feet-in-paradise.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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