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A wife's view of celebrity chef Guy Fieri

  • Lori Fieri (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG / The Press Democrat)

Lori Fieri isnt complaining, though it is a school day and once again her husband, the father of their two boys, is ... Where was Guy that day?

He was in New York, shooting for one of his three Food Network shows, Guys Big Bite. The plan is for him to be home in Santa Rosa for five straight days and then fly off for about five days to make some of TVs most popular food shows. His Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is the Food Networks most-watched program.

But Guy Fieris schedule is crazy, with endorsement commercials and celebrity appearances with David Letterman and Jay Leno and such. As a result, his time away sometimes stretches to two weeks.

I miss him. The kids miss him. Thats no secret, Lori, 38, said in the kitchen of the couples upgraded 1940s ranch-style westside home.

Is it hard? Yes. I try to be really careful to not be too sad. We chose this for our family right now.

From the beginning three years ago, when the half-tamed restaurateur shed married first caused a sizzle among the star-seekers at Food Network, Lori encouraged him to go for it.

First-born son Hunter was 9 and his brother Ryder was well on the way, when in the fall of 2005, the Fieris received a phone call theyll never forget.

A seat-of-the-pants audition video Guy had submitted to The Next Food Network Star competition had been well received. The caller invited him to come to New York for three weeks that December and compete as a semi-finalist.

Lori remembers Guy telling her that he wasnt going to go. She was pregnant and Christmas was coming and Guy knew he shouldnt be gone that long from his and partner Steve Grubers restaurants Johnny Garlics, Tex Wasabes and Russell Ramseys Chop House. And, really, what was the chance the Food Network contest would come to anything anyway?

Lori recalls looking him in the eye. I said, Listen, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. If you dont try, youll never know. You need to go.

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