Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.
Over more than 30 seasons of his iconic show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy Fieri has visited nearly 1,500 restaurants to tell stories of how food is made throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Food Network superstar says it's been "amazing to show how diverse the food world is," and admits he has no plan of ending his food-driven travels any time soon.
"I'm so happy it's something people still really love," Fieri tells Yahoo Life. "I get asked how long I'll be doing it and I say, 'I'll probably be doing this show in a walker.'"
But does the 54 year old remember every diner, drive-in and dive he's visited? "I'm probably 60/40," he admits. "I can't remember them all ... I get a little muddled. Plus, I'm getting older. I don't have the brain that I used to have — there's lot of food clogging it up."
The celebrity chef and restauranteur started teaching himself to cook at age 9 "out of survival."
"My parents were eating a lot of macrobiotic food and vegetables," says Fieri. "I'm a vegetable junkie now, by the way, but when I was a kid it was like Just get me some meat, please, anything other than salmon. We ate more fish when I was a kid than anyone can imagine."
Still, even with her fondness for fish, Fieri grew up waiting with bated breath to learn what was on the dinner menu each night. So much so that his mom had to enforce a rule to save her sanity. "I would ask for dinner as soon as I got up in the morning," he says. "My mom — it was a rule in the family that I was not allowed to ask what was for dinner until we'd had lunch — it used to piss my mom off completely."
Fieri says he "really fell in love with food" while attending high school in France as a foreign exchange student. "I came back and went to college and thought All I want to do is have my own restaurant — just have my own playground where I can cook," he says.
But throughout his journey, which eventually led him to win Season 2 of The Next Food Network Star in 2006, Fieri never considered himself a "foodie."
"I don't call myself a foodie," he says. "I don't know that I don't like [the term], but in my description of who I am, I'm a cook. Sometimes foodie can mean somebody that really appreciates food but maybe doesn't know how to do all those pieces inside the dish."
"So, it's not a negative to me," he adds, "it's just not a way I describe myself. But maybe I was that when I was a kid, because I wasn't a cook yet."
The co-owner of restaurants everywhere from Walt Disney World (Chicken Guy) to Carnival Cruise Line (Guy's Burger Joint) says he went from a kid who dreamed of owning one restaurant, to someone with multiple locations that offer a variety of experiences, from sit-down dining to quick-service sandwiches. "It's a little overwhelming," he admits. "On one side of my mind, am just the guy that's happy to have a restaurant. On the other side of my mind, I love that I've got a platform now that I get to play on a bigger level and make a bigger impact — it's just like Wow, you've gotta be kidding me."
Fieri spoke with Yahoo Life as part of his work promoting King's Hawaiian, and its Slider Sunday recipes, perfect for noshing on during weekend football games. Through the King's Hawaiian Slider Sunday Million Dollar Showdown, a sweepstakes that will award one fan one million dollars.
"In the Fieri house, 'Sunday Funday' is a big deal, and King's Hawaiian has always been in my repertoire, from my restaurants to personally," he says. "I'm not too proud to say there's no way I can make [rolls] as good as King's Hawaiian. They're not too much of any one thing — they're tender enough, but they're chewy enough. It's savory enough, but it's got a little touch of sweetness."
For the slider showdown, Fieri even created a recipe of his own: Guy Fieri's BBQ Chicken Ranch Sliders. "It's the idea of taking what everybody loves, barbecue chicken, and ranch dressing, which I think is probably the next condiment under ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise," he says, "and then the King's Hawaiian roll is the perfect medium for it."
Fieri's favorite thing about King's Hawaiian rolls? They're small enough to allow him to taste a bit of everything in his Sunday football spread.
"When I go out to dinner, I will pick off everybody's plate," he says of his eating style. "I don't let anybody order the same thing. When we go out to dinner, everybody's gotta try something different."
Wellness, parenting, body image and more: Get to know the who behind the hoo with Yahoo Life’s newsletter. Sign up here.