A BBQ rig appeared outside a wildfire shelter. A famous chef was cooking inside.
Turns out, Guy Fieri is a pretty righteous neighbor. Even in the worst of times.
On Oct. 12, the "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" host set up a mobile kitchen outside Veterans Memorial Building in Santa Rosa, California, to help feed thousands fleeing deadly wildfires.
"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."
According to Fieri, the menu included pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and bean salad. The celebrity chef also sent a batch of roasted chickens to firefighters battling the wildfires several miles away. (Update 10/17/17: Fieri is currently raising money to support the efforts in the wake of what he describes in a statement as "growing" need.)
Like many of their neighbors, Fieri and his family were forced to abandon their home at 2 a.m. as the fires swept into town with little warning early Monday morning.
The Food Network host told KQED they, "grabbed what [they] could," including family photos and pets.
He added his barbecue rig to a coalition local chefs and restaurants who have been pitching in to aid the relief effort.
In addition to Fieri, Sonoma Magazine reports that nearly a dozen restauranteurs from the affected area have been serving free meals to locals displaced by the fires, including Dustin Valette of the upscale Valette restaurant, Damien Gault of Springer's Tap Room, and Mark and Terri Stark, whose restaurant Willi’s Wine Bar burned down on the night of Oct. 8.
Fieri estimates he served 1,200 meals for lunch and 2,500 for dinner that day.
He continued to cook over the weekend, joining forces with Operation BBQ Relief, which recently brought thousands of meals to shelter residents evacuating Hurricane Harvey in Houston. While Fieri has faced criticism for seeking the spotlight, the Food Network star countered that his primary aim is getting food to those who need it.
"This isn’t a PR stunt," Fieri told KQED. "You don’t see my banners up. I’m not promoting anything. I’m just here cooking. This is feeding people. People need help, and I’m here to help."