The Second Annual NYC Wine & Food Festival is seriously right around the corner (see last year's coverage), which means only one thing: invasion of the Food Network stars! And while admittedly we're not too familiar with the current roster—there's something about Brian Boitano whipping up bacon corn muffins floating in the back of our head—we fully stand behind Guy Fieri. The man. The myth. The frosted hairdo. (He kicks of the NYCWFF on Oct. 8 as host of Chelsea Market After Dark; ticket info).
And sure, Fieri pitches for T.G.I. Friday's and has won acclaim with culinary hodgepodges like chipotle penne (two concepts we really can't deal with), he's a straight shooter and highly entertaining guy, both on TV and in person (two concepts we most certainly can deal with). He's also been instrumental, along with the festival organizers, in raising over $1 million for the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength, two worthy causes. We spoke with Fieri about hosting Chelsea After Dark before asking for his favorite NYC restaurants. And, no, Friday's did not come up.
Having attended last year's NYC Wine & Food Festival, what can people expect?
It's everything from wine tastings and pairings to demos and late-night parties. I went to the Burger Bash last year, where Katie Lee took it all.
What were some of your favorite burgers last year?
I remember having Colicchio's. I really did enjoy Katie's. The venue they put it on at—[DUMBO's Tobacco Warehouse]—was just nuts!
What's the best burger in America?
I just can't give it to you, brother. It's like picking the best rock and roll song. To me, less is more. But I'm not saying a Kobe burger on a whole-grain bun is the optimum. Flay has got his burger with potato chips on top of it. And yesterday, I was at In-N-Out Burger with my son. So rating a "best burger" is opening a Pandora's box.
What are you going to serve at Chelsea After Dark?
It could be anything from Italian-Mexican fusion to some crazy pasta choices to some finger food. We really haven't come up with the menu. But if you are the guy who is going to kick off the New York Wine and Food Fest, you better bring your guns. And when I say bring the guns, I don't mean those kind of guns. You can't start the Super Bowl without fireworks.
Let's focus on one dish that you could see yourself making?
You go to these events and often don't get enough substance. I'm a big pasta fan, so I think the chipotle penne pasta with shrimp and Louisiana hot links could work. Something in the spicy, creamy, fusion category. That would go over well!
What are some of your favorite NYC restaurants?
It's funny because I try to break out of routines as much as possible. One of my favorites is New Green Bo. It's my favorite pot sticker. I like Fatty Crab. That is one of my go-to joints. Otto is one of my favorites. When I first started coming to New York, it was one of the places I had to hit. Over in Brooklyn, Di Fara. That's some handmade, old school, killer pie. And Morimoto. That is hands down my favorite New York sushi joint. Yellowtail pastrami!
I used to stay at the Gansevoort at lot, so right next door was the Hog Pit. But it closed!
Have you ever met Anthony Bourdain?
I've only met him one time, while on our way to doing an event at South Beach [Wine & Food Festival]. I know a lot of people who know him. I dig his show. The guy definitely has a great perspective on food and the whole culture surrounding food. Before I was on the Food Network, I was watching all of his shows. He knows a lot about food.
Having interviewed Bourdain a couple times, I feel you guys would get along nicely.
He's actually coming to my hometown at the end of this year or early next year. Hopefully I will be able to meet him again.