Guy Fieri: His parents were into macrobiotic cooking. Guy first cooked for his family at age 10 – he made steak, which his father told him was the best he’d ever eaten. Guy also realized that if he did the cooking, his sister had to do the dishes. At that moment he had an epiphany: “If I cook we get to eat meat? My sis does the dishes? This is great!”
Ryan Scott: He is restoring a 1930s refrigerator – a hot-red antique passed down since the 1940s. It turns out Ryan has always liked cool kitchen toys – at the age of 9, he asked for a food dehydrator for Christmas.
What is the weirdest thing about sudden celebrity?
Fieri: There are a variety of facets – self-perspective, outside perspective, and what’s reality. In my situation, I tried to stay exactly who I am. It is weird when people recognize me, but they don’t really know who I am. These two older southern ladies were talking about me and one says, “I’m his biggest fan.” Then the other argues back, “No, I am!” Then the first one says, “No, I am Gus Ferrari’s biggest fan!” Another time a guy started chasing my car yelling, “Guy! Guy!” We stopped, I rolled down the window, and the guy hangs into the car and says, “Guy Ritchie, I’m your biggest fan!”
Scott: I think that there’s so much crap written about you and so much of it isn’t true. Everyone says not to read it, but I read it anyway. You have to develop a thick skin because these people who don’t even know you say some really harsh stuff.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
Fieri: That I’m all wild and crazy and not really balanced. That’s the least of it. First for me is being a great dad. We spent Thanksgiving in the dirt, and I realized that my son, Hunter, is about to surpass me in dirt bike riding. I hope my son will still want to ride with his dad – now that’s a tough thing.
Another [misconception] is that I’m all ego and image and not about the food. The first thing I said at [age] 2 is “Rah rah muck” – my mom said that was how I asked for crackers and milk. I’ve wanted to be a chef since I was 10. You’re either food-centric or you’re not. I write recipes on napkins, or when I’m on the road, I get into peoples’ kitchens and test stuff. One time the tour guys wanted what I made on stage so we stopped at this pub called the Tilted Kilt and asked if I could use their kitchen to cook for my guys and for their staff. I dream about food. You really can’t judge a book by its cover.
Scott: The biggest misconception is probably that I am just some guy from a TV show and I can’t cook at all. It’s called Top Chef – it’s a cooking competition, not the frickin’ Bachelor.
What is the last thing you cooked for yourself?
Fieri: I was home for 16 hours – the bus dropped me off at my house. My wife cooked up double-cut pork chops, and I did a peppercorn-garlic-maple syrup brine for them.
Scott: It was for a second date – I made a pot of risotto so we could talk …
Fieri: Make out!
Scott: (laughing) … Like I said, so we could talk. I also cooked beets for two hours in a 200-degree oven and served it all in my living room.
Fieri: And then you made out.
What was your favorite childhood food?
Fieri: Grits with ham and red-eye gravy – I could eat it all day – and pasta with tomato sauce.
Scott: My mom’s spaghetti with ground beef that she made in a crock pot. That smell is such a memory for me.
Something in your ’fridge or freezer that would surprise people?
Fieri: Abalone. A buddy of mine dove for it. I’m not a big freezer person. I have to get everything fresh. I’m so ADD – it drives my wife nuts. I think about dinner when I wake up.
Scott: The fridge.
Is there a dish you struggle to make?
Fieri: Tater Tots. I just couldn’t push it to the next level. I tried everything with those potatoes – piped, ground, shredded, frozen, micro-diced; I tried binding them with rice flour, egg whites … Those people at Ore-Ida are ninjas!
Scott: I can’t do a soufflé even with a recipe right in front of me.
What are some foods that you don’t like?
Fieri: I didn’t like Brussels sprouts until about four years ago, or asparagus until five or six years ago. I don’t like cucumbers (wrinkles his nose) – it’s the smell. I grew up on a ranch where we slaughtered steers, and I worked in a meat packing plant, so I have never been a fan of animal parts that did a job.
Scott: I don’t like sun-dried tomatoes. I grew up in the Central Valley, and I worked in the fields – I can still smell it.
What is your favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant close to home?
Fieri: When I’m home I go for some noodle soup at Pho Vietnam – I love the fresh basil and bean sprouts. And La Texanita is awesome – they have great fresh-made tortillas.
Scott: Dottie’s True Blue Cafe in the Tenderloin. There’s always a huge line, but the food rocks.
What was your worst restaurant experience?
Fieri: I was the flambé guy at a restaurant, rockin’ some really hot polyester, and one Thanksgiving I set the flambé cart and a couple’s table on fire. I put it out with a Hurricane drink.
Scott: When I was at the California Culinary Academy, I was serving a table, and I shattered a light bulb opening a Champagne bottle.
For more information on Guy Fieri, visit www.guyFieri.com. For more information about Ryan Scott, check out www.ryanscot2go.com.