On Sunday at 10 am/ET, Guy Fieri, the winner of Season 2 of The Next Food Network Star premieres his off-the-hook prize. Guy's Big Bite promises to cater to America's appetite for big, bold and broad flavors, whether it's a Philly Cheesesteak egg roll, a Bloody Mary steak or a pasta-stuffed calzone. Shortly after he won Food Network Star, but before his show had been officially named, TVGuide.com called Fieri to get a taste of what's to come.
TVGuide.com: What was that music I just heard as your cell phone rang?
Guy Fieri: That is the ever so wild and exciting way that you can get your music from Verizon.
TVGuide.com: So instead of hearing your phone ring, I get music?
Fieri: Yeah, exactly. Being a restaurant guy, we need to be full of entertaining aspects, right down to the cell phone. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: First of all, congratulations on winning Food Network Star!
Fieri: Thanks a lot, bro!
TVGuide.com: I'm sorry I couldn't make the winner's party. What'd I miss?
Fieri: Whoa-ho-ho... it was such an off-the-hook event, no pun intended. [Food Network Star judge] Bobby Flay shut Bar American down and rolled out the red carpet. I've been to the Grammys and I've walked red carpets and all that kind of stuff, and I will honestly tell you that out of all the big hoopla parties I've been to, in Vegas and so forth, this was top-caliber, top-notch. It seemed like there were 400 people there, a DJ, a dance floor, tons of great food.... It was a very outstanding event.
TVGuide.com: Ever since my appearance on Food Network Star with the other TV Guide reporters, I can't tell you how many comments/inquiries I've gotten about that "Grape Ape Bowler" drink you pushed in front of us. Everyone says to me, "That looked so good" and it was.
Fieri: You guys didn't get a chance to drink much of the Bowler and most of you were vegetarian, and I put pork in front of you! but when I got into the back area, I started serving up the drinks. Nobody knows just how much alcohol is in that thing, but here it is 10 o'clock in the morning and we're swigging this stuff back. I think everyone got a buzz before lunch! Those Bowlers are great for parties. Just give everybody a straw, make three different-flavored Bowlers with a sign in front of each, and then have people go up to each and take a sip with their straw. It's an interactive party!
TVGuide.com: What's the name of your show going to be?
Fieri: I don't know yet, man. That's the tough thing. It's back to that whole beginning step of how difficult it is to capture my "CPOV" my culinary point of view because I go a million miles an hour with 50 different recipes going.... People ask, "What's your signature recipe?" Well, it depends on what time of day it is, or how I'm feeling. I could be into Latino food, I could be into Italian, maybe I'm feeling California-fusion.... "Off the Hook" was my first name, meaning unbridled and out of bounds, but Food Network is kicking around a couple of other names.
TVGuide.com: Don't the people in postproduction need to get ready with title cards and graphics and stuff...?
Fieri: Oh, yeah, we're really making it hard on everybody! [Laughs] I had a big meeting at Food Network, where was were writing down ideas for shows, and they're like, "What are some of your signature dishes?" Well, I've got these shrimp dishes I like to do. "Oh, that's great. Is that Asian?" Well, I've got an Italian one, a Mexican one, a Cuban one.... But what's neat is the producers I'm working with are really capturing what's going on. I don't think it's going to be as "high splash" as it will be if I get my contract extended, but for my first six shows, I think people are maybe going to see a different edge to a Food Network show than they have seen in the past.
TVGuide.com: Are they keeping you intact bowling shirts, spiky hair and all?
Fieri: Oh, yeah. I don't think they're going to curb that side of me. I honestly think we have a clear perspective on what my deal is and where we're going to go with it. From Day 1, when we shot a bunch of pilot teaser stuff... I don't get surprised very often and I'm not blown away very often, but I was blown away with what we shot. The first time I met the guy producing my show, Jimmy Zankel, I said, "You don't seem like a Food Network-type producer guy, you remind me of an MTV type." He said, "It's funny you say that because I came from VH1!" We're not going to try to reinvent the wheel here, but it will have an entertaining edge that maybe will appeal to a demographic Food Network hasn't tapped yet.
TVGuide.com: Who did you call first after winning Food Network Star?
Fieri: Well, all of my closest friends were there [for the announcement]. But my best friend who wasn't there, a buddy we call Mustard, is actually one of the main reasons I did the three-minute demo. We're on a professional barbeque team together called Motley Que "the bad boys of barbeque" and he's the godfather of my son, Ryder, so he was the first one I called. He's a very emotional, deep person, so he was silent at first, and then he said, "I just don't know how I could be any prouder of you."
TVGuide.com: So your friends and family all have their TiVos set for premiere day?
Fieri: Oh, yeah, the support has been just overwhelming. When I got home, my e-mail was actually down because of the bombardment I got over 3,000 e-mails! As a matter of fact, I'm trying to gather my thoughts about how to thank everybody, but how do you contact the United States with a "thank you" that's genuine? I'm working with a graphics designer to come up with a cover page that can be e-mailed. But it's two days' worth of data entry just to compile the list!
TVGuide.com: That's quite a support network!
Fieri: People ask me, "How do you think you won? What was the key to your winning?" They expect me to say, "Oh, well, I've got really good knife skills" or "I like to joke around." But I will tell you, when you have your alma mater and your fraternity put you on their website I graduated 15 years ago, mind you it's a blast. That's all I have to say!