Guy Fieri Uses TV Series to Boost Community Ties, Give Back to His Neighbors

Paula Hendrickson

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Guy Fieri has been a Food Network staple since “Guy’s Big Bite” debuted in 2006, so when he suggested shooting a series at his Northern California ranch, the network signed on. In 2017, “Guy’s Ranch Kitchen” was born.

“I’m gone quite a bit, so when I’ve got a chance to work from home it’s awesome,” Fieri says. “The ranch is my favorite place in the world, and we built this kitchen specifically to have big outdoor cookouts with friends. It’s awesome that we decided to shoot some shows up here.”

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Having a TV crew and a bunch of chefs hanging out at home can be hectic, but Fieri and his family like it.

“The kids know the production team, we’re all friends, and it turns into great dinners,” he says. “I’m not a big dessert guy at home, but I do them on the show, so the kids are always happy there’s going to be dessert.”

The ranch kitchen proved helpful when wildfires ravaged the Santa Rosa area.

“A couple years ago, we were feeding some of the evacuees. When the fire wasn’t too close to the ranch, we used it as home base to cook up to 5,000 meals a day, and shuttle them to different satellite areas to feed people,” Fieri says.

Although his family was evacuated during one fire, their home was spared — unlike many of their neighbors.

“I looked at our friends that had been evacuated and lost everything. You really get a different sense of community and how to help wherever you can help. The only thing I know how to do is cook, so I got a lot of great people working alongside me — chefs from San Francisco, chefs from the surrounding areas, chefs from Eureka. Everybody showed up to help.”

Fieri recently participated in a second fundraiser to help uninsured or under-insured senior citizens displaced by the fires.

“We raised a couple hundred thousand dollars for a great program called Burbank Housing. We’re a small community up here, so it’s wonderful to see everybody coming together.”

Another show, “Guy’s Grocery Games,” is also shot near Fieri’s ranch. “The beauty of it, the silver lining, is we donate about $250,000 in food a year to the food bank, the Redwood Gospel Mission, the neatest people in the world.”

Fieri’s TV productions boost the local economy not only by employing local people, but by bringing guest chefs and contestants who spend money at local businesses. “I’m really proud of the community I live in. It’s awesome how well we’re supported in what we do, and that we get to give back.”

Something else Fieri is excited about is the “super interactive” Food Network Kitchen app, which launched in October. He’s already looking for opportunities to gather some of his fellow chefs together at his ranch to cook and dish about food while livestreaming with fans.

“When the Food Network and I were having this little chit chat about how expansive the digital world is, how people are jumping in and having these live chats, I said, ‘Why don’t we do it that way? Why don’t we do a live chat?’” He envisions chefs debating various cooking techniques, discussing recipe ideas, how they celebrate various occasions, and best of all — answering fan’s questions live.

“Hopefully, when it’s close to Super Bowl time we’ll do a ‘Guy’s Super Bowl Hotline,’ or maybe we’ll do a ‘Guy’s Hotline’ for Cinco de Mayo, or whatever. I’ll bring in our favorite chefs and put it all together and everybody kind of has a little jam session.”

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