Meet Troy Johnson, Host of Crave

By: Troy Johnson

I nearly gave up on writing a few years ago. Mostly because my apartment smelled like a lot of things, none of which were money. And I don’t need a fancy car that has massaging seats and offers life advice while parallel parking itself. But my retirement "nest egg” consisted of a few surfboards, quality cookware and a wall of weird indie-rock CDs.

I’d done reasonably well as a music journalist, hosting a TV show and writing for rock magazines. I published a book that was supposed to sell millions and lead to much laughing and crying on Oprah’s furniture. She must have lost my phone number.

I needed to make a change.

So I took a job at a magazine writing about food. I was hesitant at first. But then food and I fell hard for each other.

Four years later, I was in deep. That’s when I saw a blog post: “Host wanted for new TV show on Food Network.”

So I made a tape — seven minutes of me waxing about my life with food. I explained how I was raised in the walk-in refrigerator of a three-star Michelin restaurant in the south of France and was raised by Wolfgang Puck.

Then I admitted that might be a lie. I was raised by a woman in suburbia whose greatest culinary "skill" was owning a microwave.

Food Network called. They wondered if I might want to re-create that tape in a television series. We did. It's called Crave. Do I think it’s the best thing since that video of the Afro Ninja on YouTube? Why yes, yes I do.

What is it? A series of unauthorized biographies of our favorite foods. We’ll cover the history (who knew bacon grease helped defeat the Nazis?), science (what really happens when you deep-fry something?), culture and the major moments that turned simple foods into perennial starts of the food system.

For each episode, I loitered in libraries. I deep-Googled and called experts. I traveled to the nether regions of the U.S. to pester various gurus, and I came away with answers -- tons of 'em. Things I never even considered about the foods we eat every single day.

It was one killer road trip. OK, that's a lie. Actually, it was nine killer road trips.

Premieres: Monday, August 29 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/ 7:30 p.m. Central
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