Cookbook author, artist and professional bon vivant Bob Blumer, host of The Surreal Gourmet, is one of today's most imaginative food personalities. Whether he is poaching salmon in a dishwasher or concocting recipes in his own Pee-wee's Playhouse-like kitchen, his contagious enthusiasm helps transform everyday meals into a dining adventures.
Bob's accidental culinary career began in 1991 when he wrote and illustrated his first book, The Surreal Gourmet: Real Food for Pretend Chefs (Chronicle Books, 1992). Despite (or perhaps because of) a lack of formal training, his unique approach to cooking and entertaining, and his confidence-inspiring instructions quickly endeared him to a loyal following. The San Francisco Chronicle called the book "an instant classic and possibly the wittiest and most sensible how-to cookbook of the decade". It was also a year-end recommendation in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times Book Review, and picked by the Book of the Month Club and Better Homes & Gardens Book Club.
Three years later, Bob proved that anyone with a dysfunctional kitchen and mismatched place settings can throw a killer dinner party with The Surreal Gourmet Entertains: High-fun, Low-Stress Dinner Parties for 6 - 12 (Chronicle Books, 1995). Unceremoniously thrust onto the talk show circuit, Blumer made over 400 TV appearances on 3 continents, including all major US network morning shows.
Blumer's third cookbook, Off The Eaten Path: Inspired Recipes for Adventurous Cooks (Ballantine Books, May 2000) features his trademark blend of practicality and eccentricity, packed with recipes, anecdotes, culinary adventures, and his own whimsical food-related illustrations and objet's d'art. The book was awarded "most innovative cookbook" at the prestigious World Cookbook Fair in Perigueux, France. To promote it, Blumer embarked on an ambitious thirty-city, three month odyssey in a Toastermobile-an Airstream trailer customized with a $50,000 stainless steel industrial kitchen and topped with two eight-foot slices of toast. The tour was covered extensively in both local and national media, including features on CNN and in People magazine.
As the food flew, Blumer dove corkscrew first into the world of wine. He has since written many wine-related stories, including his favorite — a first person account of running the Medoc marathon, a 26.2 mile race in Bordeaux, France that winds past 24 picturesque chateaux. Participants sample fine wine at each winery. Since 1999 Blumer has been a judge at the Los Angeles County Fair and the San Francisco wine competitions.