Q&A With Guy Fieri, Food Network host

Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri jokes that he always wanted to play the guitar, but plays a griddle instead. He had visions of being a rock star, but is a television star.

So he is combining fantasy with reality in the Guy Fieri Food Show, which is sponsored by the

National Pork Board and billed as "the best elements of a live cooking show, the fun of a variety revue, and the nonstop adrenaline rush of a rock concert."

North Charleston Performing Arts Center is the first stop on a 16-city tour that begins May 17.

Fieri is host of NBC's "Minute to Win It" and three hit Food Network shows: "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," "Guy's Big Bite" and "Tailgate Warriors." He also is a guest judge on "Food Network Star," the hit reality show that he won in 2006.

Fieri spoke about the upcoming tour in a teleconference last week. Here are a few of the questions he fielded:

Q. What can all your fans expect from your upcoming tour?

A. Well, it's funny, because college students probably will get it better than most because they're accustomed to things being wild and crazy. It does have a college tour kind of feel to it in some aspects because there's a lot of moving parts -- a lot of music, a lot of food, a lot of interaction with the audience. It's kind of like a Foodapalooza. Here's the whole basis of the tour: If you love food, and being around food as much as I do, then you want to immerse yourself in it.

When you can pair music with it, pair humor with it, culinary tips and cooking styles and methods with it, you put all these things together and wild flair bartending from a crazy dude in Australia and center it all around food, it's a gigantic food party.

Q: I know you have a cookbook coming out soon, what can you tell us about that and will the show be reflective of some of the recipes that will be in the cookbook?

A: Oh, man, the book. The book is a monster. It's over 400 pages, over 150 recipes and it is ... everything up until now in my life of food. From when I started as a kid to where I'm at now, going through the Food Network, opening my restaurants and so forth, you have recipes from all different eras. ... And, yeah, the recipes we'll be doing on the tour ... it's all going to be centered on the book.

Q: If you could teach people one thing about cooking, what would it be?

A: It's OK to make mistakes. ... Try different things. People need to take a little bit more risk.

Q: In regard to your new cookbook, I'm wondering how you create your recipes and if you get inspiration from food you tried on shows, like Triple D.

A: I look at a basketball laying on the ground and it makes me think of something. Popcorn ball. How 'bout a spicy popcorn ball? That is how my mind is always working. ... I get influence from everybody and everything.

Q: Have you ever been to Charleston?

A: Well, I've been in and about it. We went to the Beacon Drive-In (in Spartanburg). That's where it all started with me, where it started with Triple D. We've been into South Carolina a couple of times doing Triple D. Anytime you start talking about the South, especially the Carolinas, my grandmother, my mom was raised in North Carolina, so all of that Southern energy and attitude, that's baseline for me.

Q: Whenever I picture you, the first thing that comes to mind is you standing in some restaurant kitchen with a big old honker piece of diner food in your hand and getting ready to chow down. What's your cholesterol?

A: Cholesterol is fine, not great, not where it was just cooking on my own. I'm not a real big eater. When you guys see me on the show, there's a couple of true principles you got to know about me. One ... if it's not good, you're not going to see it. I'm not, "Oh, this is great!" and spit it in the trashcan. That is not my style. That is everything I'm against. Two, I would rather have one bite of 12 things than 12 bites of one thing. So I love to taste things. When we go out to dinner, you gotta be prepared, there's a fork coming over your plate. I'm like bartering. I'll give you two shrimp and a piece of steak for some of that artichoke dip.

Q: I'm amazed how you can open wide. ... Do you ever worry about getting stretch marks around your mouth?

A: My dentist says, for having such a big mouth, you really have a small mouth. I don't have that big of a mouth. My mouth opening is actually not that big. I think I just have a better ability to shove it in than maybe most. If people think I'm trying to be theatrical about it, if you're only going to get maybe one or two bites of something, I'm going to get a good bite. No, no stretch marks so far.