A brief history of Aziz Ansari's obsession with food

From his standup to Master of None, here is the well-documented history of the comedian's obsession with food.
Season two of Aziz Ansari's Netflix comedy, Master of None, partially takes place in Italy. (Aziz Ansari/Instagram)

Aziz Ansari's critically acclaimed comedy, Master of None, returns for its highly anticipated second season on May 12 and viewers can expect to see lots of drool-worthy food.

Last season left off with Ansari's character Dev taking off for Italy to explore his love of Italian cuisine, instead of chasing after his girlfriend, Rachel (played by Noel Wells), who decided to go to Japan. Food plays a prominent role on the show, but it's not Ansari's first time putting his love of food onscreen.

Over the years, the comedian has made his affinity for food clear in his comedy, acting and everyday life. Below is a brief (and delicious) history of Aziz Ansari's obsession with food. (P.S. Don't call him a "foodie" — he hates that phrase.) 

'My special New Zealand section' (2007)

Ansari was one of many hilarious cameos on the HBO cult hit, Flight of the Conchords. Here, Ansari plays a "racist" fruit stand owner named Sinjay who refuses to sell protagonists Bret and Jemaine his fruit because they're New Zealanders. But, it turns out that Sinjay actually hated Australians.

'Chicky chicky parm parm' (2011)

Tom Haverford, Ansari's character on Parks and Recreation, likes to treat himself and that includes designer clothes, custom brand liquors and, of course, good food. In this fan favourite scene, Tom's boss Leslie invites him out for lunch but he isn't interested in hitting up their town's local diner. So, Leslie tells Tom he can have whatever he wants and he responds: "Can I have apps and zerts?" See, Tom has his own food vocabulary that rivals that of Snoop Dogg. Take a look below and treat yourself to a nice sandoozle today. 

The 50 Cent grapefruit story (2012)

Over the years, Ansari has had a lot of interesting celebrity run-ins and some of them even end up in his standup routines. In fact, one of Ansari's most famous jokes involves rapper 50 Cent. According to Ansari, he once spotted 50 Cent ordering grapefruit juice at a restaurant, only to be confused when the waiter brought him a drink that wasn't purple. That's when it hit Ansari: 50 Cent didn't know what a grapefruit was. The rapper responded two years later, denying this ever happened. 

Aziz Ansari is not Sugar Sammy (2012)

On this episode of David Chang's PBS series, The Mind of a Chef, Ansari tags along with Chang and chefs David McMillan and Frédéric Morin on a visit to Montreal's Wilensky's for their famous bologna sandwiches. While filming, a local approaches Ansari and confuses him for Canadian comedian Sugar Sammy. Ansari politely lets him down but not before messing with the man and pretending he is Sugar Sammy. 

Tom's Bistro (2014)

In season 6 of Parks and Recreation, Tom finally fulfills one of his many dreams: opening up a restaurant called Tom's Bistro. Opening night doesn't go as smoothly as he had hoped, though.

Food Club (2014) 

To many's delight, Ansari finally launched a food-themed web series in 2014 with friends Eric Wareheim (who also stars in Master of None) and Jason Woliner. (Master of None co-creator Alan Yang makes an appearance in Food Club.) The show follows the three friends as they dine at L.A. hot spots and reward their favourite places with a golden plaque. Food fans might notice some familiar faces, including Michael Voltaggio, Ilan Hall and food critic, Jonathan Gold.

The best taco spot in New York City (2015)

While there were many great moments from the first season of Master of None, many food lovers related to this particular scene. What starts off as a simple conversation about having tacos quickly turns into an internet deep dive into finding the best tacos in the city. "There are so many taco places, we've got to make sure we go to the best one!" Dev argues. 

'Salads need to step their game up' (2015) 

Ansari dedicates a portion of his Madison Square Garden comedy special to food. (He was dating a pastry chef at the time.) Here, he gives salads and vegetables a pep talk while making a bigger statement about the food industry in America. 

Master of Lunch (2016) 

This is perhaps the closest we'll get to a sneak peek at the food Ansari will enjoy on the new season of Master of None. On this popular Munchies series, the show's co-creators Ansari and Yang stop by chef Mario Batali's kitchen for an Italian-themed lunch. Watch them make pasta, drink wine and discuss their favourite food experiences in Italy. 

Tyrese's Benihana (2016) 

For reasons unknown, Tyrese Gibson owns his very own Benihana-style restaurant in his backyard. Ansari is one of a few elite friends who got to feast at this exclusive spot and he made sure he documented it on his Instagram. 

Bad Yelp reviews (2017)

Ansari stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earlier this year and the two took turns reading bad Yelp reviews. And yes, these are real Yelp reviews. 

— Melody Lau, q digital staff


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