LASSEN COUNTY, Calif. - As California's wildfire season rages on, Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri is once again giving back to crews on the front lines with thousands of freshly cooked meals.
KTVU's Sal Castaneda joined Fieri Tuesday and Wednesday at the Lassen County Fairgrounds to help prepare and cook at the base camp for crews battling the Dixie Fire.
"I was at a party, he says do you want to help feed three to four thousand people? Yeah, I give him my number, and he called me on it," Castaneda said.
"He showed, that's the funny thing," Fieri said. "I ran into him in a parking lot at 1:00 in the morning. The other night I got the job. You made it. It's awesome. He's been a big help, too," Fieri said.
The two TV personalities are part of a team of about 25 volunteers who descended upon the base camp to pay it back to the firefighters who have spent the last 40 days battling the Dixie Fire.
Tuesday night alone, Fieri served 2,200 people. These included firefighters at the base camp, as well as crews on the front lines, and support staff such as the California Highway Patrol and Lassen County Sheriff.
"There's a lot of first responders who can't make it to the base camp. So we sent it the fire lines. We sent it to a lot of the sheriff's department and CHP that were out blocking roads," Fieri said.
As for what was on the menu? Pulled pork, mac and cheese, and coleslaw. All made from scratch. Fieri says he and his group cooked 1,200 pounds of pulled pork.
Reflecting on Tuesday, Castaneda says cooking 2,200 meals wasn't an easy feat. "I didn't realize, first of all, how hard it is to do the hard work, nothing compared to what the firefighters are doing. But you're also working hard. You're out here working the whole day," Castaneda said.
"We've got a great group of people, Fieri said. "We have folks from all different walks of life, you name it. From construction to law to medicine to truck driving to security system systems... we got a pilot, you name it."
But, Fieri says he could use more help. "We need hands. We need help," he said.
"These firefighters, first responders really appreciate it. All the people who came by really loved it," Castaneda said.
Castaneda says his cooking skills have improved just from his time volunteering, and Fieri agrees. "I learned how to use a knife a little better," he said. "I think you guys absolutely should see this guy cook, Fieri said. "His cooking skills went up three notches yesterday!"
Castaneda says it's important to say thank you to the firefighters as they hand each one their meal. "I hid behind this Plexiglas with a mask on serving people and they always say thank you, but we always say thank you back. We're working for two days. They've been working for more than 40. So they say thank you to us, we say right back at you," Castaneda said.
This is not Fieri's first time cooking for California's firefighters. In 2019, Fieri cooked for firefighters and evacuees in Sonoma County as the Kincade Fire raged.