Twice a year, a 40-foot trailer pulls up to Food Network's New York City studios and drops off the pieces of a seriously cool apartment: wood paneling, shag carpeting, a Viking stove, a fire-engine-red refrigerator and a garage worth of band equipment. In three days, these parts become the set for Guy's Big Bite, and less than two weeks later, they're packed up and shipped back to storage until next season. Building and rebuilding the set is a huge undertaking, but Food Network's prime shooting space, Studio A, is home to more than just Guy's Big Bite. Other shows, including 30 Minute Meals and Iron Chef America, are taped here, too.
When Guy's set is assembled and camera-ready, he has just 10 days to wrap 20 episodes, a deadline that translates to many long days in the studio. Lucky for Guy and his hardworking crew, the set looks and feels more like a bachelor pad than the stage for a cooking show. The inspiration? Mark Dissin, vice president of production and the show's executive producer, just asked Guy what he wanted. "I sat there and rattled off all this stuff – a pool table, a pinball machine, a big-screen TV – and I showed up and it was all there!" Guy says. Production designer Amelia Battaglio pulled the whole look together, taking cues from real-life bachelor pads.
Guy showed us around during a few minutes of downtime while taping his latest season of Guy's Big Bite, airing Sundays at 11 a.m. We wanted to hang out all day, but unfortunately, Guy had to get back to work.
"You gotta say something about Fender! For my birthday, they got me a sick $12,000 guitar," Guy says about his new custom Presidential Select Stratocaster. Guy has a few guitars on set, plus enough equipment to keep a roadie busy for days: keyboards, drums, amps, colossal speakers. While he's not bad on the keyboard and drums, he's going to stick to cooking for a living.
After six seasons of Guy's Big Bite, Guy has everything in his kitchen just how he wants it. The latest additions: pullout recycling bins and an extra-deep sink, where he hides dirty pans while he's cooking. He also likes to show off his counter with built-in storage for squeeze bottles, knives, salt, pepper and garlic. But the best feature of all? As Guy puts it, "I told them: 'I want one big-@$$ cutting board!' " And he got one: The 4 1/2-foot-long board sits flush with the counter.
On his show, Guy cranks out recipes like Red Rocker Margarita Chicken and Cuban Pork Chops with Mojo — not exactly food fit for white china. To find plates that stand up to Guy's big flavors, design director Wendy Waxman hits flea markets and eBay, hunting down anything she thinks is "gutsy and weird." That means skulls, snakeskin, spiders or any big, bold prints. "There's a fine line between flashy and too flashy," she says. "With Guy, you want to be right on that line."
Guy is from California, birthplace of the hot rod, and he owns eight cars himself. Designers incorporated the car theme into the set with old hubcaps, license plates and grilles, and Guy's now-famous fridge with a racing stripe.
The area next to Guy's kitchen is what you might picture for a Fieri Family rec room. It's packed with dude-friendly gear like a bumper pool table, Ron Jon surfboard and 42-inch TV. And the best toy of all is the 1970s Drop-A-Card pinball machine, which still works. Some crew members went a few rounds between takes, but no one was able to top Guy's high score: 8,408 (out of a possible 9,999).
Photographs by Mark Peterson