Celebrity chef, restaurateur, author and Food Network star, Guy Fieri, swung by Montclair State University on December 5 to rub elbows with students and check on his newest restaurant, Guy Fieri on Campus. The first of what will be a chain of fast casual restaurants on college campuses, Guy Fieri on Campus (GFOC) is located in Blanton Hall and has a menu designed for college students featuring food prepared in the chef’s unique culinary style.
After arriving on campus, Fieri went right to work in the kitchen at GFOC meeting workers, sampling food and making suggestions. The chef was happy with what he saw: “I had ‘proud father’ moments,” he said later. “[You should have seen] the smile on my face walking through there, meeting the team members and seeing the effort that’s being put in. You’ve already set the bar way up here!”
Made possible by a partnership between Fieri and Sodexo, which provides dining services to Montclair State, GFOC is geared to today’s college students who, according to Fieri, are much more knowledgeable about food than in years past.
“People now days expect great food,” he said. “We’re so educated through the Food Network…great cookbooks…and all these great chefs that we’re in the middle of a food revolution. We’re finding more farmers’ markets, more food to table, we’re all taking a bigger perspective and it would seem that the kids are leading the way in this.”
Fieri took time out to sign cookbooks and autographs for the hundreds of students who gathered in the Plaza at Blanton for a chance to meet him. “This is very exciting,” said Blanton Hall residents Maya Johnson and Briana Lans as they waited for their turn. Chris Germinario agreed, saying, “This is awesome!” “We eat here all the time,” added Mike Nolan, “it’s good!”
The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host is happy to be involved with students, who he considers to be a big part of his fan base. “I really appreciate the opportunity,” he said. “The students are amazing fans of Food Network and what helps propel my career. And so the opportunity to be so close to them and to be associated with such cool people and such a cool university has been great.”
Fieri expressed his appreciation to Montclair State and Sodexo for helping make GFOC a reality praising the open mindedness, awareness and forward thinking that made it work. “This is so far advanced compared to what other people are doing,” he noted. “You are the first ones, you are the innovators, you are the ones who started it. This is something that won’t be forgotten—you’re setting the standard.”
View and download photos of the event at Flickr.com.
Read an article about the event in Passaic Valley Today.