I recently had some phone time with TV celebrity Guy Fieri. You’ll be able to read what he had to say in that exclusive interview after Labor Day when it’s posted on the Fabulous Food Show website. But I have some impressions and stories about the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that won’t make it into the official q & a so I’m going to share those here.
Let’s start with the fact that on a personal level I didn’t expect to like Mr. Spiky Hair. His over the top on camera persona is not my cuppa tea. So it came as quite a surprise that I did. He’s a really warm, friendly, articulate person, and exhibited no Prima Dona behavior which I can’t say about many of the big names I’ve encountered over the course of my career. I’m going on record with this next statement: Guy Fieri is a nice guy. And I’m not the only one in town who holds this opinion.
“He was genuine, he was kind, he was generous with advice, a good listener, and hilarious.” Those are chef and baker Heather Haviland’s words. The two met last month when he was in town filming at Lucky’s Café, her place in Tremont. On the Sunday morning Fieri was there, she reports, he charmed her mom, was gracious with hovering fans and apologized to the approximately 100 hungry brunchers who had to wait outside until the cameras were done rolling. He took time to look at the Urban Learning Garden adjacent to the café and hear about the kids involved in the food growing project.
Michael Symon, who has a thing for Heather’s sausage gravy, came and the three of them whipped up some of the luscious creamy stuff together. Hope that bit makes the editors cut, because Heath says they laughed their asses off and I want to see that. The segment is scheduled to run on October 12. “We had such a good time together and by the time he left," she repots, "it was like we were old friends.”
Fieri told me he loves Cleveland. His aunt lives in the area and he comes to see her with some regularity. “This is a great city,’ he said, “with great chefs and great restaurants. Wait till these shows air- Cleveland will get all the attention it deserves.” He’ll be back for appearances at the Fabulous Food Show on November 14, and said he’s looking forward to it. Now that I know the man behind the character, I am too.