The Next Food Network Star, Season 2, was taped in New York City, December 2005, and premiered on March 19, 2006, now almost five years ago.
Elizabeth writes that upon arriving at Chelsea Market for the first time, "another black town car quickly pulled up behind me and the door swung open with force. Out came a platinum blonde, jewelry-clad, larger-than-life personality with his hands up in the air, mouth wide open and a laugh that was probably heard in Jersey. Who is this guy, I remember asking myself."
In the ensuing hours, I met all the other finalists, but was very drawn to the magnetic Guy Fieri. He was surprisingly personable, pure comedy and utterly eccentric – and unlike anyone else I’d ever met. In the same breath, I do have to admit that I was convinced he was not a threat. I had my eye on others as my primary competition, but certainly not “Guido”, as he called himself. He didn’t take things seriously, drank copious amounts of Jack Daniel’s, had an entourage of friends with names like “Dirty P”, “The Spaniard” and “Mustard” and found humor in almost every situation, appropriate or not. On the flip side, he had intense drive and, dare I say it, a very sweet heart. All traits I later learned, when combined, were his greatest asset.
Guy Fieri kept a blog during those days. On Day 4 of the competition, he wrote,
-Up at 11am....
-Out to dinner with Evette, Andy and Beth, to the Rocking Horse. Expensive and small portions, just what I hate but the food was good. Boy is it cold, feel like it might snow tomorrow.
And on Thursday 12/8, he continued,
-Everyone got called and Beth got taken out. Really sucks, at a time I should feel relieved, I feel sad - she is cool, sweet, focused, talented, wish the show could just be about all 8 of us and no cuts. I do NOT like this part, this emotional train wreck is like people slowing down to see a car wreck. Negative.
-Off to dinner. I'm gonna call Beth tonight - I hope she is ok.
Of course, Elizabeth Howes is fine. She is an accomplished chef, wellness enthusiast, food stylist and photographer. Elizabeth's private chef and boutique catering business, Saffron Lane, is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
She stays in contact with Guy.
The last time I saw Guy was at a rather private and over-the-top birthday party thrown for him last year. There were VIP rooms, plenty of pulled pork and whiskey, and a collection of classic cars and motorcycles regally parked inside the venue. True to form, it was a sight to behold. He seemed happy, as he usually does, surrounded by the things he loves, the bright lights and people who love him.
When I was able to make my way through the crowd to say hello, I reminded him that he owed me a new pair of jeans – long story, but something only Guy could get away with – and gave him a big hug. “So great to see you, Beth Ann”, he whispered (long story about the odd nickname, too).
To read Elizabeth Howes' full blog post, visit eatnlisten.com.
Find out what Elizabeth Howes is cooking up now by reading her blog, following her on Twitter and liking her on Facebook.
NFNS 6 - Guy Fieri featured on episode 3
Guy Fieri's Rhode Island Calamari
Guy Fieri guest hosts Next Food Network Star 5, episode 4