Though people tend to rib Guy Fieri for his love of diner food that clogs your arteries and might stop your heart with fat and grease, his heart is in the right place. After all, his show, in which he drives across the country, celebrating lesser known and under-appreciated restaurants and their fare, usually served at a countertop, has been on the air for 13 seasons. He must be on to something. Now, there’s something else to love about the celebrity chef: He’s been cooking for victims of the California wildfires.
KQED reports that Fieri arrived in Santa Rosa, the area of California where he’s lived since the 1990s, with “a trailer, a crew, a wood-fired oven and a barbecue smoker,” and began cooking for people who had to evacuate their homes.
“We’re feeding folks in the shelter that have been displaced,” he told the news outlet yesterday. “We just did around 1,200 for lunch, we started this morning. Now everyone’s having a little break, and we’re getting ready to do dinner. That’ll be about 2,500.”
As Food & Wine has reported, the blazes are still destroying homes and wineries, forcing at least 20,000 people to evacuate the affected areas. Fieri himself has experienced some of the fallout from the fires; he said that he and his wife woke up early Monday to heavy smoke, grabbed their dogs, and evacuated their home. Fortunately, his home was spared destruction.
Fieri says afterward, he called up the Salvation Army and told them, “I’m ready, I’ve got an army, I’m ready to help.” The chef insists that he’s not promoting anything, and pushed back against claims that it’s insensitive to use a barbecue smoker in an area already clouded with smoke from the fires.
“This isn’t a PR stunt,” he said. “You don’t see my banners up. I’m not promoting anything. I’m just here cooking. This is feeding people. People need help, and I’m here to help. That’s it.”