There are certain seminal moments in a man’s life. Moments that change the very trajectory of his nature. For this man, it was when he first dunked a basketball. It was when he moved to California. It was when he married his wife.
But all of those pale in comparison to the afternoon I spent with Guy Fieri on a Carnival Cruise ship eating barbecue.
To celebrate the maiden voyage of the 4,008-passenger Carnival Panorama, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship and the first new-build for the West Coast in more than 20 years, we were invited to sit down with the Mayor of Flavortown himself. We dropped all meetings, re-arranged our scheduled, and even changed our travel plans just to be there.
The NorCal legend cooked us an insane menu of bbq ribs, pulled pork and brisket from his onboard restaurant Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse. It’s the latest addition to Guy’s dining empire, which includes his namesake chicken finger chain and restaurant ventures in airports and casinos all across North America. More information on the Carnival Panorama and the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse, click over here.
The Mayor of Flavortown gave us some sound barbecuing advice that I will probably repeat at every cookout I attend for the rest of time: Never put the BBQ sauce on the meat, always on the side for dipping.
Our sit down was fun and loose– we covered topics such as the devastating fires that ravaged his hometown of Santa Rosa in 2017, his favorite music and what Guy Fieri’s house looks like for the holidays. Our sit-down was also the first he’d heard of BroBible, despite us covering him at length in our 10+ years of existence.
Below is the entirety of the interview, unedited for your enjoyment.
Spoiler alert: It’s impossible to not read the interview below without forever thinking of Guy Fieri as “The Admiral of Flavortown.”
What a legend.
BroBible: Guy, nice to meet you, JR.
Guy Fieri: Pleasure man, nice to meet ya. Where you from? What’s the name of it?
Yeah. Ever heard of us?
No, what is this?
We’re a men’s lifestyle and humor site. Stuff like that. You’re featured…pretty often!
In a positive fashion, I hope.
In a positive fashion of course!
It’s just called the BroBible?
It’s just called the BroBible. For bros all over. Young males all over the world.
And what do you do there for them?
Writer, content creator, podcaster all that good stuff.
And how long’s it been going?
The site’s been around for ten years, I’ve been with them for two.
Oh, that is funny dude, I’ve got to check it out. Is it Brobible.com?
BroBible: So, Guy, I’m from San Francisco and I wanted to thank you for all the charity work you do up in Santa Rosa.
Guy Fieri: Absolutely!
Santa Rosa is Guy Fieri’s hometown, just an hour north of San Francisco. In both 2017 and 2019, wildfires ravished the north part of the Bay Area, destroying thousands of buildings and homes and causing billions in damages. Guy and his team worked tirelessly to feed the thousands that had been displaced by the fires. He did it again just recently when the fires struck again in 2019.
The Tubbs fire, two years ago, the worse one. You and your team were asking for grills, and my wife and I had a little portable grill that we had never taken out of the box. And I was like, we’re driving this up to Guy Fieri. So we got in a car, and I think she handed it off to someone on your team. (How long did) you grill up there for? Two days straight? Three days straight?
Oh God no, we were up there for a week plus. You know what it was, I was actually on my way to Sammy Hagar’s birthday down in Houston. Then the fires happened and I had to get home so I called my dad as I’m flying back and I said, “I’m getting all my boys together. I’m going down to the fairgrounds and I’m going to start feeding people.” And he goes “You can’t even drive on the roads in the area.” And I said, “I know enough of the right people. I’m going to be able to get there. Get down to Costco, buy all the pork butts that you can, get all the stuff, get it in the smoker.” So I landed, got the stuff that morning, we drove down and the Salvation Army was there running the thing at the vets building.
I said “Hey, I’m here to serve food” and they’re like, “Well how much food do you have?” And I said “I probably have enough for like a thousand today.” And they’re like “A THOUSAND?”
And I said, “What are you feeding people?” and they’re like, “Crustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
Oh Jesus Christ.
So we got into it, and people like yourself just started showing up. By the time we got done it looked like a full on trailer park of barbeques and cooking apparatuses. We had great chefs from all over the country. Traci Des Jardins, she came up from the city with a whole army of chefs. And then a big group called Operation Barbeque Relief, great team. And they’re a little more calculated, a little more organized. And we cooked with them for about a week.
Boy I’m telling you it’s tough to see your friends and family and all the people in your community just disoriented. When you kick people out of their home for more than a day…
We just had the fires recently, we had the fire burn up to our backyard. My new house my wife and I just built. Took us two and a half years, we bought the property when the Tubbs Fire happened and with all that happening it changed the way we built our house. With metal roofs on the house and cement sidings as opposed to wood.
So when this fire came, I’m telling you, me and ten buddies were there spraying water on it. You want to talk about BroBible, I mean when you get your friends and you’re like “Hey, I don’t know what you’re doing for three days but would you like to live in the barn and help me fight the fire?” and they did.
I’m glad you mentioned you’re from NorCal because what a great community, what a great group of people man. We didn’t even have to blink. Just like you and your wife. We said we were cooking, people started showing up.
Well again, thank you for all your work up there.
Good man, good man.
After endearing myself to the legend, he became visibly more comfortable. He had spoken to a few other media outlets in a short window and I could tell he was going through the motions. The Santa Rosa stuff really warmed him to BroBible, so I decided to throw him some more off the wall questions to keep his interest.
So, holidays are coming up. What’s Christmas cooking look like in Guy Fieri’s house? Are you doing the cooking? Or are you sitting back and letting somebody else do it for once in your life?
Thanksgiving is 60 people at our house. Christmas is just my wife and my two boys, Lori, Hunter and Ryder. My nephew Jules and my Mom and Dad Jim and Penny. Everyone has to help actually, but it’s usually something like…there’s usually a white truffle involved.
GF: Don’t ever get your kids on white truffles
Expensive habit to kick.
There’s usually crab or lobster. But we usually slow it down, we spend the whole day, we make pasta. Kids don’t eat pasta like we used to.
Sure, nobody does.
Then we do a prime rib on Christmas Day. And I have to do the mashed potatoes. Then from the 27th on, a bunch of friends come through the ranch and who knows what food we’ll make.
So even on Christmas, Guy Fieri can’t get a day off?
It’s my favorite thing to do! Guy’s Big Bite. cooking. That’s how I got into this. That’s all I do. That’s my favorite thing to do. So when you see this food that we’re doing (onboard Carnival) and people are like “Well how much did you really have to do with this food?” It’s like– every single thing. Every single thing we did.
If you’re like us and you’re a fan of award-winning BBQ and indulgent side dishes, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse is the spot to hit the next time you take a Carnival Cruise. Their menu has everything from loaded nachos to pork belly sandwiches to a sweet potato mash that’s covered in brown sugar. To top it off, they have their own brewery onboard, brewing specialty beers inspired by the ship’s various port locations from around the world. But I also knew there were rules about burning wood fires aboard cruise ships…
So are you guys smoking real wood in there?
Real wood! I love hickory. Old Hickory makes a bunch of my pits and when we started talking with Carnival and they said “Hey besides burgers what would you do?” I said, “Well you’re in the sun, you’re at a party, you’re having some ice cold beverages, you’re around your family, of course you want barbeque. That’s what it is.” But I said “Listen there’s no way we can do it. Because I know marittime rules. I know you can’t have gas on the boats and I know you can’t have burning wood.” And they said, “Well who makes your grills?” And I said “Old Hickory” and they said, “Well we want to talk to them.”
Eight months later they said, “They’re gonna make us one. It’s gonna work.”
Real wood or wood pellets?
Real wood! And I said bullshit. You guys are gonna smoke this bbq on the dock, and then put it on the thing and warm it up. And they said “No no no, we’re making it.” See? They’re sitting right over here. (points)
I said, “Well, you guys aren’t going to have a pit master who can run it.” And they’re like, “Have we ever let you down before?”
So I don’t know if you know about the Indian chefs…
The chefs here are predominantly Indian. I’ve had Indian food all over the world. My favorite place to eat lunch is with the chefs downstairs. When they just make the simplest Indian food that’s made so precisely. I keep telling them all the time, “You need to put an Indian restaurant on the damn ship.”
These folks (at Carnival) they’re so disciplined, and once I saw how they treated Burger Joint, I was like, “I’m down, let’s do this.”
Amazing. We love music at BroBible. We’re sometimes a jam band blog. What does Guy Fieri listen to when he cooks?
Guy Fieri: (laughs heartily)
We’ve actually got a bet going about this.
So we just built that new house and we put 25 Sonos speakers in the house. I’m a huge country fan. I’m a huge Willie and Waylon fan. I’m a huge new country fan. I’m an old rock fan. I’m a Gypsy Kings fan. I’m a Tony Bennett fan…
I’m an Enya fan. I’ll even throw down with a little Los Tigres del Norte. I like old school hip hop. I can get down with some of the new school hip hop. My younger son Ryder likes to play games with me like, “Have you heard this one?”
Very cool, yeah.
So who did you think (I was going to say)?
I was actually going to say Metallica.
Oh, huge Metallica! Yeah, San Francisco…
Jam bands maybe? Phish…
Love jam bands. So the drummer of Phish…
He’s the godfather of my nephew. Ironically enough.
Get the f*ck outta here. That’s very cool.
But I go to Stagecoach, I don’t know if (you’ve) every been, but if you haven’t…
We have a house out there.
No, my family.
I was gonna say, I gotta get in on this one…
So years ago, I hosted you, I was working for Maxim at a Super Bowl party…
Oh yeah? Like that’s not a blast. Were you there when I put Danny Palomino on the ground?
Was that Minnesota?
(calling to his bodyguard off to the side) Where did I put Danny Palomino on the ground?
Bodyguard: At your house?
No, that’s when I tore his jacket sleeve off.
It was either San Francisco or Minnesota.
It was Minnesota. He got me the cover of Entrepreneur magazine.
Um…I’ve got to ask you this question, because somebody bet me I wouldn’t…
I felt like the entirety of my writing career had been leading to this moment. I took a deep breath and asked Guy Fieri the question that (hopefully) kept BroBible burned into his memory forever…
Now that this is maritime and you’re on these ships, are you now considered the Admiral of Flavortown?
AH! HA-HA-HA! You know what? We should actually do that, we should do an appointment of the Admiral. So I was in Kentucky for the Derby and I met the Governor and he gave me my Colonel of Kentucky. So I was telling somebody I was the Colonel and they go, “Well, everybody gets the Colonel.”
So I saw the governor the next year and I’m like, “Hey.” and he says, “OK, you don’t want to be the Colonel who do you want to be?”
And he goes, “Of a landlocked state?”
And I go, “Hell yeah!” So I have the plaque hanging in my office. The Admiral of Kentucky!
Amazing! So you’re already an Admiral.
But not an Admiral of Flavortown. I should probably take that on.
Guy, thank you. This has been amazing.
You’re good dudes, man! Nice to meet you guys! You guys should come up and see Grocery Games some time.
Man, why can’t all my interviews be like that?
Right back at you, Guy.