Guy Fieri's Super Bowl Food Tips Will Upgrade Your Game Day Spread - Exclusive Interview

The Mayor of Flavortown is a force to be reckoned with. Guy Fieri has seemingly taken over the culinary world with "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," his infamous trash can nachos, and of course, his spiked white hair paired with a flaming shirt. Along with creating his own virtual community named Flavortown, Fieri's myriad of accomplishments as a restaurateur has allowed him to become the signature face of Food Network (and the highest-paid star on the channel for a reported $80 million, per Variety).

With the Super Bowl swiftly approaching — and Fieri's not-so-secret love of football — The Daily Meal sat down with the chef for some helpful food tips, especially when it comes to celebrating the big day. In our exclusive interview, the Santo Tequila founder revealed his epic plans for February 12, his secret to the perfect queso, and how to upgrade your vegan sliders. Fieri also shared an arguably legendary anecdote regarding the Patriots' former wide receiver, Julian Edelman, and his iconic red gloves (for the hardcore football lovers out there).

Fieri has some big Super Bowl plans

Let's first talk about the Super Bowl. How are you celebrating this year? What's going on?

I'm going to the big game and taking my King's Hawaiian team with me. We're throwing a tailgate for 10,000 of my closest friends, a tailgate party. I'm a big fan of all sports, particularly football and particularly basketball. I believe when you have these iconic times, these iconic moments, like we're getting ready to experience here ... We celebrate all the playoff games. We had it last night. We had 30 people over here for dinner last night watching the game.

I'm a big fan of capitalizing on the moment, and fortunately, King's Hawaiian and I have this same energy and attitude about it. We're giving away a million bucks to a fan. We've been having this Slider Sunday Million Dollar Showdown that's been taking place. I've been writing a bunch of recipes and showing people all the diversity that we have inside of our King's Hawaiian menu, from the rolls to the slider rolls to the pretzels to the sliced bread — you name it.

You go big or go home. Let's do this right. I, unfortunately, go through a depression because I know that the season's going to end, but until then, I'm living it up.

You've been to a bunch of Super Bowls. I even saw that you were in a commercial last year, which looked awesome. What is the top Super Bowl highlight that you've experienced thus far?

Well, I'm in a movie that's getting ready to come out here soon, "80 for Brady." I was at that game back when it was the Patriots in Atlanta. I was at that game. My wife's a huge Patriots fan. We were sitting there, and the Patriots were getting blown out. I don't leave — It's the Super Bowl. You're there; let's ride it out. Of course, we all know what happened, and it turned around. That was a pretty amazing experience to have.

Every single one of them has [been amazing]. This is a cool one — we were at the game when the Patriots played and Julian Edelman got the MVP. Julian is a good buddy of ours. We were down on the field. My youngest son, Ryder, was there, and Julian took the gloves that he had made the famous catch with, the red gloves, and gave them to Ryder.

Fieri on Julian Edelman's famous red gloves

Guy Fieri [continued]: Ryder's got the gloves on, and we're walking out of the stadium and the whole thing. I called Jules [Julian Edelman] the next day and I said, "Jules, dude, you gave us the gloves. It's the front page of the [New York] Times ... Every newspaper's got this picture of you in these gloves. Let me give you the gloves back."

He goes, "No, no, no. I don't need that stuff, man. I'm good. Let Ryder keep them." About a week goes by, and one of my other buddies called me and said, "Hey man, has Jules called you?" I said, "No, what's up?" He says, "The Hall of Fame called. They want the gloves. Would you be willing to give the gloves up?" I said, "Absolutely." So Jules sent Ryder shoulder pads, helmet, pants, jerseys. He sent him all kinds of stuff.

That's so cool. That's something you'll never forget.

No. The thing is, we're the greatest country in the world. We get to celebrate ... I love the World Cup, don't get me wrong, but there's something that is really us [the United States], and that is the big game. If you're going to have a chance to have such an amazing sporting event, then you better back it up with a dynamite menu. Don't spend your whole day cooking during the game, so you can sit there and enjoy it, or stand there and cheer on.

This King's Hawaiian relationship and these menus that we've written and these recipes, we've been doing this for quite a while together. There's so many great ideas of what to do and how to do it. If you're going to celebrate the game, celebrate with great food.

The most underrated ingredient for nachos

You're well known for your nacho recipes and your trash can nachos, and before, you mentioned the Nacho Average Torta Slider with King's Hawaiian. What do you think is the most underrated ingredient to put on nachos, and why?

I don't think everybody is as confident with their chorizo usage. It sounds like a hot topic in today's world now, but chorizo, there's two different types. There's Mexican chorizo and Spanish chorizo. One's cooked, one's not, or one's cured, one's not. One's cased — they both can be cased. But chorizo is completely underutilized.

As a matter of fact, there's sweet chorizo that's out there that is so good. You could take our Nacho Average Torta Slider, and you could incorporate soy chorizo in there and go to a vegetarian version of this. But chorizo doesn't get enough play. There's so much flavor inside of it, and it works well. It's chorizo and cheese sauce.

I don't think cheese sauce gets enough play. I'm a fan of making the cheese sauce, which typically in my recipes, we do. At our restaurants, we call it SMC, super melted cheese. But cheese sauce ... [When you] just melt cheese on stuff, once it starts to cool down a little bit, it gets a little bit chewy and tough. I want something creamy and luxurious — cheese sauce and chorizo and King's Hawaiian.

Fieri on his iconic trash can nacho recipes

What would you say is the secret to the perfect queso or cheese sauce?

A nice variety. I'm not in the cheese game. I'm in the bread game. I'm in the slider game. I don't want to sit there and talk too much about other people's cheese ... That didn't sound right. [It's] a nice variety of cheese. But you have to remember when you're melting that cheese into your fundido or your queso or your fondue — whatever you want to call it — don't go too fast, because it'll cheese up on you. You got to let that cheese slowly melt, slowly become creamy. One of my go-to favorites — [you've] got to have some smoked gouda in there.

You recently launched trash can nachos, but a dessert edition. Do you have any other fun trash can recipes in the works or anything else going on?

There is. In the Mayor of Flavortown's library, the Flavortown library has an arsenal of things. I have to slowly do it, because I unleash all of this, and you're not going to know what to do with yourself. You probably won't leave home.

[The] same thing goes with these King's Hawaiian recipes. You can go to, and we've got ... If you can't find something there that blows your mind, you're not hungry. Nachos are a real key — sandwiches, nachos, creative food. I don't know how people eat boring food. Life is too short.

As you've mentioned, you've been a partner with King's Hawaiian for some time now, and you've concocted several slider recipes. What is your ideal burger blend, in terms of cuts of the beef and lean-to-fat ratio?

It's an 80-20. I get sad when people go 90-10, because what they end up doing is making a dry burger that they then fortify with a bunch of mayonnaise or some other type of fat. I'm a chuck short rib. I like to get some good-quality fat in there. Hands down, I would have to start with the chuck brisket short rib mix; that would be my favorite.

Don't overcook your appetizers

I also saw that you created a beer braised bratwurst on pretzel slider buns. What is the best way to avoid overcooking sausage like that, or a meat like bratwurst?

[They're] really good — we just made those, believe it or not. We made those on Sunday. The menu here on Sunday is ... I text all my friends. We have a whole big text list, and most of my buddies can cook. I'm the chef, but they've all learned how to cook. They have to learn how to cook if they're going to eat here at the house, because I don't let anybody sit on their butt. They all have participated.

We did make the beer bratwurst, and you're absolutely right: There is an ability to overcook them. People don't get this — you sit there and overcook them. You liquefy the fat side of the sausage, the fat starts to come out, and now you've got this dry sausage. You've got to pay attention to what you're doing because they can overcook.

It's just paying attention. Cooking is not a part-time sport. You've got to stay in the pocket. Get in there [and] do it right. Set your phone down. Focus on what's going on. Don't be TikToking right now. Taste what you're doing.

I was cooking carbonara last night, and I made garlic bread, actually, out of King's Hawaiian. When I got with King's Hawaiian, I didn't know that they had so many different styles of King's Hawaiian. The pretzel bun is one of my faves, but [they've got] different styles, sizes, sliced bread, the whole thing. I got a little bit of a lesson in that.

Anyhow, I was cooking carbonara last night with Puccini pasta. My friends were laughing. I probably pulled the pasta out of the pot 5, 6, 10 times, tasting it. You got to get it because it's going to continue to cook a little bit, and you have to make sure [it's right], because I don't want any mushy pasta. In today's day and age, to be able to eat the carbs of pasta, it better be great pasta, just like if you're going to eat bread, make it great bread.

The vegan substitutes you need to try

Do you have any recommendations for vegan sliders? You mentioned that briefly before, but if so, do you have any tips?

That soy chorizo, you've got to give that a shot. I've watched people on "Guy's Grocery Games" run over. They're in the competition and they're losing their mind, and they run over, they grab the chorizo, and they run, and they go do this thing ... Then they'll look at it and go, "Oh my gosh, I grabbed soy chorizo."

I'm like, "Don't fret. Do not worry about this. You're going to be okay." Soy chorizo [is] probably one of the best ... I don't want to call them "meat substitutes" or whatever, but it's one of the best go-to's. Again, back to King's Hawaiian — you got to start with a good foundation. You wouldn't build a house on a sandy foundation. You'd make a good foundation. The great thing about all the breads that we have on our team is that it's a great way to begin. Quality ingredients will always prevail.

People are starting to learn about tempeh and seitan, and they're starting to see these vegan mayos. [For] making nacho cheese ... I don't know if you've used nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast and cashews — raw cashews — and veg stock will make you some nacho cheese that will blow your mind. Look it up. Everybody's got a recipe about how they like to do it.

I do it with my friends. I've done it and not told them what it is. They'll guarantee me that I'm not telling the truth. I'm always trying to play little tricks on them around here.

Learn more about King's Hawaiian's offerings on its website. Keep up with Guy Fieri's latest projects on his Instagram page.

This interview has been edited for clarity.