Host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” visits his alma mater
You may have seen him as the face of The Food Network or on the advertisements of T.G.I Friday’s, but one place you wouldn’t expect to see Guy Fieri is in the very kitchen of UNLV’s Stan Fulton building.
Taping an episode of his show and surrounded by cameramen and students, Fieri shared stories about his expertise and how UNLV helped him get there.
Dressed in a casual polo, shorts, and, of course, his backwards sunglasses, Fieri explained that he came to UNLV to tape an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives because he wanted to pay back his community and “do things closer to the heart.”
“Did I say Cajun food, professor? I meant Cajun-Italian food,” Fieri reminisced about one of his first culinary projects with UNLV Hotel College’s executive chef John Gremo. “The ending to that story is I own four restaurants that feature the very same dish that I submitted that day in class. And it came from UNLV.”
Coming from Northern California, Fieri graduated from UNLV in 1990 with a bachelor’s in Hotel Administration and Hospitality.
“Running a restaurant is all about hospitality — and that’s what UNLV taught me. I had a good relationship with my professors and UNLV is such a great school. I’ve had so many memorable moments here,” said Fieri. “I love to see the culinary attitude is still going strong at UNLV.”
Fieri showed the students how to cook spicy Thai shrimp, and alongside Gremo, gave his insights from inside the culinary industry.
“It’s all about what you bring to the game. You have to own your food, no matter what it is. You need to know the full spectrum of cooking your food.”
“Being open-minded in this business is one of the best traits you could have,” Fieri said after asking the students for their own suggestions to the recipe. “You guys have to build off of each other, that’s how you learn how to cook.”
After the spicy Thai shrimp was done, Fieri asked the students to each take a bite and describe what they were tasting.
“Guy says to ‘eat with your eyes,’ and that’s the truth,” Gremo said.
Fieri also warned against processed foods.
“I came here to show the next chefs in line how they are important. Look where processed food has gotten us in the last twenty-five years: childhood obesity, diabetes, etc. I presented myself to my alma mater so we can change some of that by showing the next chefs in line how to properly prepare food.”
It’s been nearly twenty-two years since the food dude graduated from UNLV, currently owning six restaurants with a seventh on the way — and still, Fieri say’s he’s a proud alumni and Rebel. “There’s nothing like Las Vegas. There’s a lot of imitators, but we are the innovators. That’s the way UNLV is, so to be called a Rebel is an honor.”