The first time I talked with Guy Fieri, the topic of conversation wasn't big-ass burgers, buckets of nachos, or off-da-chain gravy; it was all about okra. Red okra, to be specific-which he hadn't known existed. I've got a pretty big tattoo of heirloom red okra pods up the back of my left arm and when I sat down to interview the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host in a bustling hotel lobby during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, it caught his eye. Fieri is no slouch in the ink department, himself, so we ended up chatting about it and it led to a fascinating revelation. Not only is he a massive proponent of sustainable and organic eating, he's also an extremely avid gardener and a juicing zealot.
Extra Crispy: You really are way into gardening, huh?
Guy Fieri: Everybody can have a mini garden. A tomato grown out of a five-gallon bucket. You could compost in a coffee can. I'm a big composter, I have organic chickens, and I also have two humongous turtles. This big. [Spreads hands very wide.] I try to stay on all my plant-based foods, I try to stay 100% organic. I try to resource every factor of it.
You notoriously hate eggs and you just told me you love grits. What are some of your other breakfast habits?
You know what my favorite thing is? I don't know why I'm giving you all my secrets, but I'm a huge juicer.
You travel so much-do you just roll up to a local juice bar and hope?
When I'm on the road, whenever I'm in the studio, I have my juicer on set and I have about 10 different recipes that my guys follow. I drink 16 ounces of fresh vegetable juice. I don't do the fruit, just a little bit of apple to sweeten it up a bit, a ton of kale, a ton of parsley, a ton of beet, get antioxidants in there-no powder, just juice. As you know, we can't process vegetables as fast as we want to extracteverything that we need, because we do need the fiber side of it. You have to juice it and drink it immediately to get the true enzymes. It's like why you don't see wheatgrass for sale unless they can make it for you right there. Or at least that's what I've been told.
Is this just a you thing or does the family join in?
I juice all the time and when my wife was pregnant with our first son, we juiced every single day of her pregnancy. The guy next door to me was preaching the world of juicing and told us about this guy Jay Kordich who beat cancer by juicing and believe it or not, my oldest son has never as far as I know had a cold. He's had sniffles, but never anything big and I believe his immune system from her being pregnant-and of course someone's going to say hocus pocus-but I really believe that. We all know our food pyramid is upside down from what we were taught as kids. Vegetables should be the biggest part.
Do you just have a juicer stashed in every state you visit?
It travels in the back of the Camaro. No shit. We have the Camaro shipped everywhere we do Triple D.