Food Network star Guy Fieri is a big fan of diners, drive-ins and dives. But this sports lover also has a passion for National Football League action and a zeal for Super Bowl party finger foods.
The restaurateur has hosted many Super Bowl fetes at his home, but in recent years has watched the Big Game live. Even though he now favors Super Sundays at a stadium, he still has loads of tips on how to host a crowd-pleasing Super Bowl party at home.
Here, Fieri shares those suggestions, gives his take on the Food Network competition Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and chats about his newest restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar in Times Square.
Any tips on how to host a successful Super Bowl party? If you’re ever going to make the purchase for a great TV, now is the time. You’ve got to have a really good TV. Also, serve super cold beverages. I take a bunch of coolers and fill them with ice. We had a lot of kids around for our events, so we filled coolers with juice boxes and soda. I’m a big sparking water fan, too. You can’t just drink beer the whole time or you’ll be a mess — you’ll forget half the game. And have a nice variety of beer. My rule for my buddies is to bring what you like to drink.
Do you have any general food advice? I try to do foods that don’t require a lot of maintenance after they’re prepared. Chafing dishes are probably the greatest gift you can buy anybody, especially someone who entertains. Granted, they’re not super sexy. But if you prepare warm food, just keeping it better than room temperature makes a huge difference. Otherwise, if you leave something out for 20 minutes, it’s cold.
What’s your favorite sports stadium food?I’m a fan of stadiums that find outside restaurant operators that have a specialty items like the beef sandwiches in Chicago or the garlic fries form Gordon Biersch in San Francisco. But I also like the hot sausage sandwiches that are served outside the stadium in Boston. I think people look forward to getting really good food at stadiums — that’s part of the experience.
In Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, you oversee and advise amateur cooks. How do you keep your mentoring helpful, but not weigh in too much with what you’d personally do? You don’t want to invoke too much of your attitude or your style on them. You want them to be themselves. So it’s a little bit of a dance. But once we got rolling, I was able to see everyone’s strengths and could go from there.
Your culinary empire includes cookbooks, TV shows and restaurants. You can’t possibly be hands on with everything. How do you deal with that? You have to put people around you who are talented and who you trust. It’s like someone who has a race car and owns a race team. You’d love to be the guy changing the tire. You’d love to be the guy driving the car. You’d love to be the guy calling out the maneuvers. But you can’t. You’ve got to relinquish it to people who know what they are doing.
Paula Deen, another well-known Food Network star, is embracing healthier fare. Would you ever think of going in that direction? Everybody wants to stereotype and say ‘you’re that guy that does Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, you eat all those cheeseburgers.’ But I probably eat the least that you’d imagine. I’m a big eater in terms that l love flavor, but I don’t like to eat a lot of one thing. I like to eat a little bit. I don’t eat sweets. I’m not a big dessert guy. I don’t drink soda. So I’ve always been living in that space. I’m a huge kale fan. I love sushi. I’m into real foods. I like eclectic foods, spicy foods, unique foods.
You’re a dad of two boys. Any advice on how parents can get tasty, good-for-you meals into their kids? A meal made at home has such a different profile than getting food from a restaurant. It shows that a parent has care, concern and interest in the kids. If your kids are big chicken finger fans, you can take the chicken, bread it yourself and cook it in the oven with just a little bit of oil, and it’ll crisp up. It won’t be exactly like the processed one you get at the fast food joint, but it’ll be your interpretation of it and it’ll be healthier. You can also make them a cheeseburger at home and give them real, good quality, natural organic ground beef in a moderate size. Another great way to get kids involved is to let them decide what they want for dinner and have them make it.
Times Square isn’t known as a culinary destination — it mainly has chain restaurants and hot dog carts. What made you decide to open a Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar in that neighborhood? I knew I wanted to do something in New York. I love New York. My business partner, Jon Bloostein, who is a successful restaurant owner with Heartland Brewery, found the building. And with all the chain restaurants, it’s nice to have something here that isn’t a chain, something that serves handmade and all-American food.
Between keeping an eye on those restaurants, your Food Network commitments, charity work and your family life, when do you find time to sleep? Sleep is so overrated. It’s so not my favorite thing to do. Remember when you were a kid and you’d go to bed at Christmastime just wanting it to go quickly so you could just get up in the morning? That’s how I am — let’s just get this sleep thing done and get back up and get after what’s going on.