Chef and TV star Guy Fieri might be a larger-than-life personality on the small screen, but the California native knows his food (he’s a fan of Michael Schlow and Ken Oringer) and is a big supporter of the annual Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port.
Fieri just opened his new GuyFieri’s Foxwoods Kitchen + Bar at Foxwoods Resort & Casino with Big Night Entertainment Group and we spoke with him about his favorite spots in Boston, his approach to food (it isn’t all Diners, Drive-ins & Dives), and his go-to holiday dishes.
Boston Common: You've come to Boston a few times for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. What are you favorite spots to eat at when you're in town? Is there a dish you always always have to eat before you leave Boston? Guy Fieri: Oh, yeah, Boston’s got a great food scene for sure. With the great history of the city, being by the sea, its got a lot to offer. When I’m in town, I always try to check out Mike’s City Diner, Boston Burger Company and probably whatever my buddies Michael Schlow or Ken Oringer are doing. But no matter what, I’m not leaving without some lobster ravioli from Rino’s place.
What was your approach to the food at Guy Fieri's Foxwood Kitchen and Bar? GF: Foxwoods is an amazing and hugely ambitious place. Its really got something for everybody. The casino is run by great people, from the tribe to the executives, and when the chance came up to put a restaurant in there, I jumped. At Guy’s, we’re doing some really killer food…some of the greatest hits from places like Guy’s Vegas Kitchen + Bar and then some specific dishes created just for Foxwoods.
The Bacon Mac-n-Cheese Burger is always a crowd pleaser, our brined, rubbed, and roasted wings are awesome and then there are some really great additions just for Foxwoods like the Prime Time Kobe Burger and the Lobster Fra Diavolo. For me and my partners at Big Night Entertainment, its really all about real-deal, scratch made food, killer cocktails, great hospitality and a good time…that’s what we do.
Tattoed Mojito at Guy Fieri's Foxwoods Kitchen + Bar.
You've become a larger than life food personality. How has your approach to food changed, if at all, over the years? GF: You know, I’ve always been all about food, even when I was a little kid growing up in Northern California. My parents, Jim and Penny, were on a macrobiotic kick there for a while and I wasn’t havin’ it. So, basically, they said ‘if you want to eat something different, make it yourself.’ And I did. I learned to explore a lot of different foods and branch out…I was eating sushi when I was 10 years old…not the norm back in the day.
So, I’ve always had a pretty big appreciation for food but if I had to say how its changed, I’d say its broadened and my awareness of different ethnic foods and food cultures has really expanded. You’ll see it on DDD [Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives] People make generalizations like DDD is just about burgers and wings but if you watch closely, particularly in recent years, you’ll find a pretty big spectrum of ethnic joints that really explore the flavors of the world.
I’ve also really learned to love vegetables and grains and appreciate their role. I was inspired by my sister, Morgan, to think more like a vegetarian and I swear, more often then not, I find myself really making greens and grains the star of the show these days.
What would your ideal meal be if the Oakland Raiders met the Patriots in the playoffs? GF: Wow. What a match up that would be and a real showdown at my house! My wife, Lori, is from North Providence and a big time Pat’s fan. Plus, we work closely with Best Buddies and do a great event with Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and a bunch of the guys every year in June. But, as a lifelong Bay Area sports guy, I’m all about Raider Nation…so I’ve gotta root for my buddies on both sides!
As far as what we’re cookin’ up, first I’d knock out some Neapolitan style pizzas in my wood fired oven because I cooked them up for the Raiders during training camp this year and they dug ‘em. To satisfy the Pat’s fans in the house, and considering its playoff time and cooler outside, I’d go with some real-deal New England Clam Chowder…with extra clams on the side because my little guy, Ryder, is a clam eating machine.
The interior at Guy Fieri's Foxwoods Kitchen + Bar.
Do you have any go-to holiday dishes? GF: One of the things that we always do during the holidays, which is a real California thing, is Dungeness Crab. The season starts around Thanksgiving and the best crabs come out of the ocean off of the Northern California coast in early December. I make a killer Cioppino with fresh Pacific seafood that everybody loves during the holidays. It's a San Francisco specialty, like an Italian-American bouillabaisse.