Chef Kwok Chen of Kwok’s Bistro in downtown Reno prepares some of the region’s finest Chinese food, as he did at Jazmine and at Golden Fortune, his two previous restaurants.
Johnathan L. Wright/RGJ
Andrew Zimmern is coming to Reno — but not to pop anything squishy, squirmy, squelchy into his mouth. Not this time.
The celebrated chef and host of “Bizarre Foods,” the hit Travel Channel show in which he trots the globe eating exotica, will instead be filming at Kwok’s Bistro in downtown Reno for an episode of his new series, “The Zimmern List,” which debuted in March.
This show, also on the Travel Channel, features Zimmern’s recommendations for great places to eat.
Chef Kwok Chen, left, owns Kwok’s Bistro in downtown Reno. His son, Danny Nguyen, is general manager. (Photo: Johnathan L. Wright/RGJ)
Danny Nguyen, general manager of Kwok’s Bistro and son of chef-owner Kwok Chen, confirmed exclusively for @RGJTaste that filming would take place on July 20 and 22. Nguyen said producers encouraged him to keep the restaurant open during shooting.
Kwok’s Bistro drew the attention of “The Zimmern List,” Nguyen said, because a segment producer for the show used to live in Reno and was Chen’s customer when the chef owned Jazmine, the South Reno restaurant he sold earlier this year to open the bistro in late March.
Kwok Chen, one of the region’s finest Chinese chefs, owns and operates Kwok’s Bistro in downtown Reno. (Photo: Johnathan L. Wright/RGJ)
“I was surprised. I thought he was joking at first,” Chen said of the initial outreach from the producer. “I didn’t know what to think.”
Address: 275 West St.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday
July 14 wine dinner with Shafer Vineyards
It turns out Mark Estee, chef-owner of Liberty Food & Wine Exchange, also had a hand in Zimmern’s visit.
“His people contacted me about what’s new, what’s good in Reno right now, what I liked,” Estee said. “I recommended several places — Kwok’s was one of them.”
According to production materials and emails shared with @RGJTaste, location scouting and b-roll shooting (establishing shots, preparation shots, food beauty shots and so on) is planned for July 20.
Filming of Zimmern’s visit to Kwok’s Bistro — sampling dishes, talking with customers, chatting with the chef and his son — is planned for July 22.
The dining terrace at Kwok’s Bistro in downtown Reno now is welcoming summer 2018 diners. (Photo: Provided to RGJ Media)
Producers suggested the chef prepare at least “four dishes we’re really proud of,” Nguyen said. Those dishes are still being decided, but they might include chunks of fried sole decoratively served on the fish carcass, or perhaps perfectly crisp and fatty roast duck.
“The amount of duck we’re going through is crazy,” Nguyen said. “We roast eight ducks every day and 12 to 15 on Friday and Saturday.”
“The Zimmern List” is filming at Kwok’s Bistro for the show’s second season, Nguyen said. No air date for the episode has been set.
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Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink editor of RGJ Media, part of the USA Today Network. Join @RGJTaste on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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