Appetizers
December 20, 2012
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri bounces back from NY flap

FIERI.jpg Guy Fieri, perhaps 2012's most talked about celebrity chef, is home in Santa Rosa for the holidays, getting ready for another non-stop busy year.

Last month's much-Tweeted blow-up over his new Guy's American Kitchen & Bar in New York City's Times Square has "blown over," he said.

Fieri already answered New York Times critic Pete Wells' scathing "open letter" of 34 questions with some sharp words of his own on the "Today Show," calling the review "ridiculous" and "overboard."

Thursday, he was philosophical.

"Reviews can be difficult, especially when there's obviously an agenda with it," he said. "But that's long past us."

For now, Fieri's last word about the controversy: Success.

"The restaurant has done incredible," said Fieri, who just got back from a visit to his first major restaurant outside California. "We have a really great team - 250 people. It's a 16,000-square-foot space and 500 seats. We've only been open for three and a half months and we're packed every night. And the city is just electric right now."

Fieri, who owns two local restaurants (Tex Wasabi in Sacramento and Johnny Garlic's in Roseville), has another season of competition versus good friend Rachael Ray on "Rachael Vs. Guy's Celebrity Cook-Off," debuting Jan. 6 on Food Network.

He's also been busy with myriad charity events on both coasts including a fund-raiser in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"Sandy impacted our staff (in New York)," he said. "A lot of our team was displaced, but we thought we could do something. We raised $25,000 for the Red Cross."

Fieri has plans for more new restaurants in 2013 (more on that later), but Sacramento remains high on his list.

"I want to give a shout out to Sacramento," he said. "It's still one of my favorite towns. I have so many friends in Sacramento and had some great times there.

"There's so much going on there, too," he added. "And there's so much opportunity, too."

FROM THE BEE:

* Does Guy Fieri own the country's worst restaurant?

* Guy Fieri controversy comes full circle on 'SNL'


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