Guy Fieri ate Valerie Erwin’s food, and he liked it.
“He was very funny and very gracious,” Erwin said. “He was very complimentary.”
Fieri recently made a stop at Erwin’s GeeChee Girl Rice Café in Mt. Airy to film a segment for his popular Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
“We were contacted by his production company,” Erwin said. “They were going to shoot in the Philadelphia area, and they were vetting a group of restaurants for the show.”
Erwin said that the producers of the show look for restaurants that do cooking from scratch, and that have never had national television exposure before.
“Guy is a lot like he on television,” Erwin said. “He’s a little bit crazy. There’s definitely a change that happens once the cameras start rolling.”
Fieri’s show spotlights specific restaurants, but more than that it spotlights specific dishes.
“We made our North African Chicken for the show,” Erwin said. “That’s spiced with cumin and oregano with some citrus juice. I served it on a bed of Carolina gold rice that’s almost like a couscous with some sautéed greens.”
Erwin also served pulled pork and pound cake.
After filming finished, Fieri sat down and ate a meal at GeeChee Girl.
“I was told that he never eats the food,” Erwin said. “But then someone else who works for the show said, ‘Of course he does.’ He has to go to a bunch of restaurants in one day so it would make sense that he didn’t eat a full meal everywhere.”
Erwin added, “We were very honored.”
The GeeChee Girl segment is set to air on Monday, July 1, at 10 p.m. on the Food Network.
To celebrate, Erwin will host a picnic outside behind her restaurant.
“There’s essentially a vacant lot back there,” Erwin said. ‘We’re going to set up tables and chairs and lights so people can eat and watch the show.”
The picnic will start at 9 p.m., and reservations are recommended.
“We’re going to serve food from the show, but in a style more appropriate to picnic. So instead of a full chicken we’re going to have wings, and instead of pulled pork we’re going to gave pulled pork sliders,” Erwin said.
The proceeds from the picnic will then be donated to a charity.
“We haven’t decided which charity to donate to, yet,” Erwin said. “In the past we’ve given to Big Brothers Big Sisters and a clinic in Germantown that treats the uninsured.”
GeeChee Girl Rice Café is located at 6825 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy. Reservations can be made by calling 215-843-8113. The picnic costs $25 per person.