March 21, 2007 / 10:12 AM / in 11 years

World chefs - Fieri finds history is made in diners

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Chef Guy Fieri’s career started at age of 10 when he sold soft pretzels from a bicycle cart and it hasn’t stopped since then.

The cook, restaurant owner, television presenter and the 2006 winner of the Food Network’s contest The Next Food Network Star describes himself as a “food dude.”

In a new television series “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives,” he takes to the road in a ‘67 Camaro convertible to find some of the most unusual restaurants in America.

From drive-ins with carhops serving home-made root beer to unique diners in out-of-the-way places, every establishment has a story that Fieri wants to tell:

Q: Where did you get the idea for the new television series?

A: “‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ was actually developed by my producer, a guy named David Page. It is a perfect fit. I get to talk to people who are in the same business I am, who are in unique establishments from any perspective.”

Q: How long did it take you to film the show?

A: “The pilot of the show took us 21 days from start to finish. We are currently in the process of filming now. We have been on the road for about six weeks. Every segment, and there are three segments to a show, takes us a full day. The show has taken us all over the country, from Los Angeles to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas. We will continue shooting until May for the 10 episodes of the show.”

Q: How did you choose which restaurants and dives you go to?

A: “That is the magic question. We go by what has the most interesting story. There is a laundry list of places throughout the country. After the pilot aired in November people started sending us recommendations.”

Q: Does each episode cover one restaurant?

A: “Three diners, drive-ins or dives will be highlighted in each episode. We are not geographically bound. There is a theme that goes along with each one, like burger joints or barbecue joints. In each show the restaurants will have some common theme.”

Q: Will you be cooking on the show?

A: “It’s everything. In almost every episode I am in the kitchen with them (the chefs).”

Q: What are some of the more unusual restaurants or dives that you have visited?

A: “We visited a place up in the hills of Texas that was a little shack and the kitchen is on the outside. They served something called cabrito burger, which is a goat hamburger, and it is phenomenal. Every place we go to has a story.”

Q: Have you gotten inspiration for your own restaurants?

A: “There are a lot of things that I see in these restaurants -- menu ideas, the style of cooking -- that inspired ideas for me.”

Q: Is the show a slice of Americana?

A: ”I really think it is. This is a nice recognition of how diverse and unique our culture is in food. We have all different kinds of food. We did a drive-in that is an Italian food drive-in. Where else would you find something like that?

These are place we all come to love. History is made in these diners and drive-ins -- engagements and first dates and celebrations.”

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