Whenever I sit down with Guy Fieri, I never know what to expect. And with that being said, the best part about sitting down with my buddy Guy is that I never know what to expect. His no-nonsense approach to food, eating and creating just enough random chaos wherever he shows up, makes him a man after my own heart (who is well aware of the fact that the man crush I have on him is, in fact, a Bromance in the most appropriate sense of the word).
Add to this a new season of Rachael Verse Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and Coach G. has his hands full with a rather eclectic team of celebrities who find themselves performing unfamiliar and often grueling challenges, guaranteed to put not only their culinary chops to the test, but also offer them the opportunity to earn $50,000 for their charity as well as bragging rights as winner of Celebrity Cook-Off.
Joshua Estrin: Do you think of cooking as an art or science?
Guy Fieri: There's really no easy answer. I think it's both, I think there's an aspect to it that certainly is a science -- especially when we talk about some of the more complicated recipes where you really do have to worry about the precise balance of flavors. But it's also an art, a joy and it's filled with passion that you just don't find in science.
JE: What surprised you the most throughout the process?
GF: I'm not sure I would call it surprised, but it was exciting to watch this group roll up their sleeves and strip away all preconceived notions, put ego aside and really let us and viewers get to know them. It was an interesting mix... many of them have mad skills in the kitchen and yet they were excited to learn more and of course in the name of charity do as much as they could for the organizations they were representing.
JE: This season's celebrities are a rather eclectic group. How do you think that will play out?
GF: They are a really a terrific group. But yes, we have some strong personalities and after all this is a competition in the name of charity so I'm excited that they're taking it seriously. Things will always be exciting and as the team captain it's my job to not only to keep them comfortable, but gently push them out of the comfort zone as well. It's not about forcing them, it's about listening to what they want to do, what they are interested in learning and creating and helping make it happen. I have a great team and I think viewers will see that and see that we have a terrific time together.
JE: You are well known for your skills as a chef and a self-proclaimed foodie, but do you have any other surprising special skills?
GF: I can whistle. Now there's whistling, and there's whistling... what I'm talking about is the serious eardrum blowing type. You know, the two fingers in the mouth? I'm not saying I have it all figured out yet, but if whistling ever becomes an Olympic sport... I'm going for the Gold!
Rachael VS. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off premieres Sunday, January 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Food Network.