May 2, 2011
There were bigger and flashier news outlets than the Weekly at 2011's Fourth Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine, but you can bet your last cup of fennel sorbet with chilled cactus pear soup that no one's post-event coverage will rival the size and insight of the Weekly's.
Regular Weekly food contributor David Schmalz, who covered the event for the first time, will figure prominently into that coverage, which will also include some of my own observations, video and photography elements from Joel Ede and Nic Coury, and no shortage of fly flavor.
Here's what Schmalz has on Fieri:
Celebrity-chef Guy Fieri was more raconteur than stovetop wrangler at his Sunday gig in the demo pavilion, but he did muster up enough concentration to churn out three divine creations: a strawberry-rhubarb cocktail with a potent contrast of sweet, sour and Belvedere, an oysters Rockefeller remix roasted on a bed of sea salt and “Hong Kong Noodles,” a pan-fried, crispy noodle dish mixed with a stir fry of veggies and marinated chicken that speaks to Fieri’s signature style—“con-fusion.”
The man who describes his physique as “petit gangsta” had the crowd eating out of his hand with giveaways ("They can't have me go in the middle of the festival or there isn't any equipment left") comments like “I’m not a big fan of any parts of the animal that had a job.” He was also charmingly serious as he talked about the best foods for kids. In fact, he was recently honored in Sacramento for his Cooking With Kids initiative.
“I don’t buy into chicken fingers—I've cleaned a lot of chickens and never found a finger,” Fieri said of "kid-friendly" foods. “If it’s not too spicy, then I think it’s kid-friendly.”
But the most memorable interaction with the culinary guido came Saturday night at the after hours party, where he was spotted sitting by himself on a private platform, affording the opportunity for this intrepid reporter to get to the bottom of a burning question: What’s up with his Lambo?
For those who don’t know, Fieri’s canary-yellow Lamborghini Gallardo was stolen last month from the San Francisco dealership where it was stored. The heist was daring, epic and unbelievable: The thief scaled the building at night, rappelled into the showroom with a climbing rope and broke the locks out from the inside. With muscle that can take the Lambo from 0 to 60 in less than four seconds, escape came easy. A few days later, it was was spotted crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and going in and out of Tiburon, but it hasn’t been seen since.
“It’s probably in Dubai right now,” said a member of Fieri’s entourage, whereas the guido himself was more succinct.
“Gone,” he says emphatically. When asked if he could admit that it’s a pretty great story, Fieri, looking less than thrilled, held out his thumb and pointed it sideways.
“It is what it is,” he said.