Best Culinary Destinations 2016 Experts

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We've sussed out our premiere list of Travel's Best Culinary DestinationsWith your appetite is warmed up, take a few minutes to, learn about the experts who helped choose which of the world's region's ranks as the tastiest. You'll discover panelists like Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods, and Stockholm-based travel expert, Lola Akinmade Åkerström of Geotraveler’s Niche and Slow Travel Stockholm.

Lola Akinmade Åkerström is a Stockholm-based writer and photographer who has contributed to National Geographic Traveller, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Slate, Lonely Planet, Fodor's, several in-flight magazines, and many more. Her photography is represented by National Geographic Creative. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm, which is dedicated to exploring Stockholm slowly and co-founder of NordicTB collective where she links Nordic digital storytellers and travel influencers with brands and organizations.

Samantha Brown takes viewers on intimate, off-the-beaten-path journeys discovering exotic destinations – whether around the world or in their own backyard. An inspirational resource for prospective travelers, Brown has truly enjoyed showing her audience how extraordinary it is to be a part of everyday life in another part of the world. Brown’s travel goal is to prove that if she can do it, you can do it. Viewers passionately follow Brown and her advice not only because of her experience and knowledge, but also because of her warmth, genuineness and love for travel.

In Travel Channel’s “50/50,” Brown teams up with her adventurous pal Chris Grundy to ask unsuspecting people on the street if they would like an extreme getaway for 50 hours, worth $50,000. If they say “yes,” it’s wheels up on an unforgettable adventure, where they choose where to go, what to do, what to eat and when to sleep. But there’s one catch – they must drop everything and leave right now.

Brown co-hosts “The Trip: 2016,” which showcases the distinct cultures, cuisines and all the luxuries that make the Caribbean islands of Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Guadeloupe and Saint Lucia a fantasy tropical paradise. She also co-hosted “The Trip: 2015,” which explored the grand beauty and hidden adventures of Hawaii; and co-hosted “The Trip: 2014,” which took viewers on a once-in-a-lifetime trip through Spain and Morocco. Having spent more than a decade at Travel Channel, Brown has hosted a number of shows on the network including “Passport to Europe,” “Passport to Latin America” and “Passport to Great Weekends.”

Brown currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and 2 children.

Kristin Luna is a journalist who returned to Nashville after a decade of working in New York, California, Europe and beyond. She writes for a number of magazines, including Travel + Leisure, Southern Living and Afar, and shares her adventures on her travel site, Camels & Chocolate.

Southern born and bred, Spencer was bitten by the travel bug at a young age, flying on a plane for the first time at age 5 and by himself for the first time at 7. While he continues to travel around the world searching for the best whiskey, Spencer now calls Los Angeles home, where he is searching for the best cocktails. Spencer has written about food, drinks, and travel for a number of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Travel + Leisure, to name a few. See a more candid version of him on his website, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @spencerspellman.

Photo by: Julie Dennis Brothers

Julie Dennis Brothers

Andrew Zimmern is a 3-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer, teacher, and is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. He is the creator, host and co-executive producer of Travel Channel's “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” “Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World” and “Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern.” In “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and “Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World,” he travels the globe exploring food – from world-class restaurants to street carts and jungle markets. It's all about discovering and sharing the authentic experience. In “Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern,” he explores the unusual foods and cultures in America’s own backyard. In his latest series, “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations,” Zimmern continues his search for the most interesting dishes across the globe – taking viewers on an international journey to iconic cities for a taste of their quintessential, not-to-be-missed dishes. Zimmern also co-hosts “The Trip: 2016,” which showcases the distinct cultures, cuisines and all the luxuries that make the Caribbean islands of Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Guadeloupe and Saint Lucia a fantasy tropical paradise.

In 2013, Zimmern won his 3rd James Beard Award for ‘Outstanding Personality/Host.’ He received his first award in 2010 for ‘Television Food Personality,’ and his second in 2012 for ‘Television Program on Location.’ He is a 7-time Beard Award nominee. His online series, “Toyota’s Appetite for Life,” received an Effie in 2010. “Bizarre Foods” also took home 2 CableFax awards in 2009, one for ‘Best Television Program: Food,’ and another for ‘Best Online Extras’ for his Travel Channel web series, “Bizarre Foods in the Kitchen.”

Zimmern is a contributing editor at Food & Wine Magazine, an award-winning monthly columnist at Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine and a senior editor at Delta Sky Magazine. As a freelance journalist, his work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. Zimmern has served as a corporate and product spokesperson for Target, Cascal, Pepto Bismol, Toyota and Travel Leaders. He is the author of The Bizarre Truth (Broadway Books, 2009), Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs and Blood Sausage (Delacorte, 2011) and Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater’s Digest (Feiwel & Friends, 2012).

In 2012, Zimmern launched his first food truck, AZ Canteen, which evolved from his experiences visiting hundreds of food trucks and street stalls around the world. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and son.

Next Up

Travel's Best Culinary Destinations

Food lovers make it their mission to experience mouthwatering meals -- and they're willing to travel far and wide to do so. From Sweden's flavorful shellfish to the fresh flavors of Bangkok street food, and the United States' hottest dining trends, our panel of experts has helped select Travel's Best Culinary Destinations.

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