Traveling chef Andrew Zimmern wants to educate his audience and says his TV show - "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" - isn't just "fat guy runs around world, eats bugs." (Aug. 2)


Andrew Zimmern, a culinary television star, chef and restaurateur known for his shows on the Travel Channel, recently visited the Iowa State Fair. 

"Look who surprised me at the Iowa Fair," Carla Cardamom Wood, owner of Carl's Gizmo Sandwiches, posted on the I love the Gizmo Sandwich Facebook page on Aug. 10. "Chef Andrew Zimmern."

Zimmern, a four-time James Beard award winner, is known for his 15-season television series, "Bizarre Foods," during which he travels around the globe trying all kinds of unusual and noteworthy foods in over 32 countries and 14 states.  

According to Carl's Gizmo Sandwiches' Facebook page, "a Gizmo Sandwich is Italian sausage and ground beef mixed together with special sauce and seasonings, smothered with melted mozzarella cheese and toasted on a delicious Italian roll."

The Italian Beef Burger sandwich sells for $9 and the stand is located southwest of the Administration Building.

Carla Cardamom Wood of Johnston took over the Gizmo stand from her father, fair icon Carl Cardamon, who died in 2001 after over 50 years of serving the sandwich. Her family's sandwich distinguishes itself from the Jennie Grinder, another popular sandwich at the Iowa State Fair, with a meat mix that's half ground beef and not as spicy.

In an article on the Travel Channel's website, Zimmern listed the Gizmo Italian Beef Burger as his second favorite out of 10 of his favorite State Fair foods. His current favorite is the About a Foot-Long Hot Dog at the Minnesota State Fair.

"If I could pick only 1 state fair food, this would be it," Zimmern wrote. "I'm lucky enough that these guys hit both the Iowa and Minnesota state fairs, so sometimes I get to eat it twice a year."

The sandwich was Zimmern's favorite fair food when he tried it at the 2014 Minneapolis State Fair, where Wood also sells them. Zimmern, a Minneapolis resident, also did a video story about the sandwich in 2018.

The recipe for the Gizmo Sandwich was featured in Saveur magazine in 2008. Carl's also sells hot dogs, lemonade, sodas and iced tea.

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