A celebrity chef stepped up to the plate to cook for evacuees of the wine country fires on Thursday.
Guy Fieri, who is a Santa Rosa resident, arrived at the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot Thursday morning with a wood-fired oven and barbecue smoker to cook meat and mac and cheese for evacuees, KQED reports.
“We just did around 1,200 for lunch, we started this morning,” he told KQED. “Now ... we’re getting ready to do dinner. That’ll be about 2,500.”
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Chefs, restaurateurs and restaurants Sonoma County-wide have assisted in efforts, including Dustin Valette in Healdsburg, Daniel Kedan in Forestville and Vero’s Kitchen, KQED says. Civilians have also helped with feeding those in need.
Criticism greeted photos of him helping out that hit social media, including questions about his use of the smoker amid the fire.
KQED says Fieri responded to the smoker criticism: “That’s a ridiculous question. And that’s a ridiculous statement. I mean, come on. What do you want me to do?”
The Salvation Army told Patch that Fieri and his team will be helping with cooking and serving lunch and dinner throughout the weekend. The food is also being distributed to two other Santa Rosa evacuation centers, KTVU reports: the Finley Community Center and Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. (See a full list and map of evacuation centers here.)
Fieri told KQED that he was woken up by his wife Monday morning at their Santa Rosa home. “We had to evacuate at 2 in the morning, and we grabbed all that we could,” the chef said. His home survived, despite being a block and a half from decimated Coffey Park.
“This is the least we can do. We’re so happy to do it,” Fieri told KTVU. “We’re so sorry for friends who have lost homes. There’s a lot of really good people coming together.”
For more information on how to help, visit http://sacb.ee/beV4.