Guy Fieri and Stacy Chatfield, culinary arts teacher at FHS, during the first responders luncheon in 2022 | Photo from the Fortuna High culinary arts Instagram


Guy Fieri — the Ferndale-grown, spikey-haired Food Network star and restaurateur — is coming Homeboldt once again, this time to impart some of his foodie wisdom to the culinary students of Fortuna High School, helping the chefs-in-training host a luncheon on Aug. 25, to raise funds for the school’s culinary arts program and boys basketball program. 

Norm Sotomayor, the boys basketball coach at Fortuna High, told the Outpost that Fieri brought him the idea a little while ago, while the two were on a hike together. Sotomayor grew up in Fortuna, around the same time Fieri was growing up in Ferndale, and the two have known each other since fifth grade. 

“[Guy] said, ‘Hey, last year we did the foundation lunch at the fair, but we want to do something different this year,” Sotomayor said in a phone interview with the Outpost on Wednesday. ‘Would your culinary class be willing to do a luncheon and raise some money for them?’ And I said, ‘Of course they would.’”

Since Sotomayor is the basketball coach, he also wanted to help his students raise some money, so he asked if it could also be a benefit for the boys basketball team. Fieri was down, Sotomayor said, so they decided to combine fundraising efforts for both programs. Sotomayor added that Fieri also chose to help out Fortuna High because his own alma mater, Ferndale High School, doesn’t have a culinary program. 

All of the money raised from the luncheon tickets will go toward the culinary arts program, specifically to help fund the program’s annual trip. This year teacher Stacy Chatfield will take the students to New York City for a week of dining at different restaurants, learning from professional chefs and doing some sight-seeing. For their part, the boys basketball players are selling raffle tickets for the event. The raffle winner will receive eight tickets for the “chef’s table” at the luncheon and some free “Guy swag,” Sotomayor said, including cookbooks and things like that. The chef’s table guests will also be served some special cuisine that will not be available to the other tables. 

For the regular ticket holders, the luncheon will include BBQ pulled pork, cajun chicken pasta, salad and more, prepared by Fieri and his team, along with the Fortuna High culinary students. Sotomayer said that all the culinary classes (there are three levels) will be helping out in some way, with most of the students prepping the food the day before the event. The advanced culinary students will be cooking and serving the food alongside Guy and his crew on the day of the luncheon.

Of course, this is far from the first time the “mayor of Flavortown” has served up grub for a good cause. The Guy Fieri Foundation has donated food to many evacuees of devastating California wildfires, donated grant funds to help struggling restaurant workers during COVID and has served many meals to first responders. Last year, a group of Fortuna High culinary students helped Fieri and his team host a luncheon at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds to benefit and honor Humboldt’s veterans and first responders. Here is a post from Fortuna High’s culinary arts program about last year’s event:

Fieri also usually hosts the annual Chili Cook-Off during the Humboldt County Fair, and will be doing so again this year during his late August visit. 

Sotomayer said that the students who helped at the first responders luncheon were really excited for the experience and said that Fieri spent a lot of time with the students, talking about their goals and aspirations. 

“They really enjoyed that,” Sotomayor said. “Some of those students are returning this year and I’m sure they’re excited to be able to work with [Guy] and have that experience.” 

The Guy Fieri Foundation Luncheon will take place on Friday, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. at Fortuna High School. Sotomayor said that there will only be 100 tickets available, so you will want to buy them ahead of time. Tickets for the event and raffle tickets can be purchased at the Fortuna High office, or by calling Coach Sotomayor at 707-845-4027.