During last year’s devastating wildfires that ravaged Northern California wine country, Santa Rosa native Guy Fieri brought a mobile barbecue unit to cook for evacuees, volunteers, and first responders. Unfortunately, another fire known as the Carr Fire has swept through Redding, California, destroying more than 98,000 acres of land and over 850 structures. The fire, which has forced an estimated 36,000 people to evacuate and has claimed the lives of six people so far including four residents and two first responders, has prompted Fieri to return and assist the community the best way he knows how — with food.
The “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” star brought a group of 20 volunteers with him to Redding’s Shasta College to make and serve hot meals in conjunction with the Salvation Army and Operation BBQ Relief — a group that organizes cookouts to feed large groups after natural disasters. According to Esquire, Fieri and his team cooked and served around 1,400 meals on Sunday to first responders and those displaced by the Carr Fire.
“My son and I, and his buddies and a bunch of mine, loaded up our caravan from the wine country and drove four hours up here," the chef revealed to CNN on camera. “[We’re] just working arm-in-arm with the Salvation Army, and local chefs and residents and everybody, helping out the evacuees. There’s like 36,000 folks that have been displaced, so it’s quite a program.”
Fieri has been sharing photos on social media of others who have volunteered, including a chef from the Sheraton Redding Hotel who brought enough pasta salad and coleslaw to feed 1,000 people. “Chef James from Sheraton Redding Hotel stepped up HUGE with pasta salad and coleslaw for 1000 people for lunch and in for another 1000 tonight. Real deal!!” wrote the excitable chef, who recently announced plans to launch a chicken finger restaurant in Florida’s Disney Springs.
He also thanked the Cattlewomen of Humboldt who donated beef that was then barbecued and served to evacuees. “Big thanks to the Cattlewomen of Humboldt for a great beef donation for the Redding evacuees!”
James Beard honoree and super-chef José Andrés also had fire survivors in mind. The chef’s nonprofit World Central Kitchen had a team on the ground feeding first responders and those in evacuee centers, and Andrés tweeted his support. “Our @WCKitchen Relief Team is on the ground in Redding, California to serve the #CarrFire evacuee shelters & emergency crews! Coordinating with @Cal_OES @RedCross @SalvationArmyUS to deliver hot meals with our Food First Responder partners @GuyFieri @OpBBQRelief! More soon...” he wrote.
According to USA Today, the Carr Fire is the seventh most destructive fire in California history. As of July 31, the fire is only 27 percent contained.
Readers who mostly associate Fieri with high-volume detours to Flavortown might be surprised to find out how much time and energy the big-hearted chef has spent helping people from actual towns — and there are probably at least 15 other things you didn’t know about Guy Fieri.