Fieri explores beginnings: Celebrity chef's return to North Coast airs in February on Food Network

A few Humboldt County favorites will soon be featured in celebrity chef Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives" 19th season premiere on cable television's Food Network.

The episode, called "Guy's Hometown Tour," because Fieri spent his formative years in Ferndale, is scheduled to air on Feb. 7 at 10 p.m. local time and will include coverage of the Loleta Cheese Factory and Ferndale Meat Company.

Filming for the show took place before Thanksgiving.

Tony Enos, assistant plant manager at Loleta Cheese Factory, described how he finally got Fieri to visit and film the factory in November.

"Guy and I have a mutual friend whom I would give Loleta cheese to whenever Guy was in town, to remind Guy that the factory is here, and I was eventually contacted about the show," Enos said.

Fieri's enthusiasm for his work really showed on and off camera, Enos and Bob Laffranchi, president and CEO of the factory said.

"We had about 20 different types of cheese we wanted Guy to try and he said he only wanted four or five," Enos said. "But he genuinely liked the cheeses we were giving him and ended up trying around 15."

Enos even kept handing Fieri cheese in between takes and as his crew was wrapping.

"He kept giving the cheeses funny names," Enos said. "Like our Dill Havarti that he called the 'silly dilly' and a Havarti herb and cheese that he kept thinking we were calling the 'Havarti urban cheese.'"

Laffranchi said Fieri just makes food fun.

"With every new cheese he tried he'd say 'this is my new favorite.' It will be fun for viewers to see what cheeses he finally selected as his most liked."

Curt Terribilini, owner of Ferndale Meat Co., said Fieri had been to his store before, is easy to talk to and just like any other person.

"I've never been one to be comfortable in front of a camera, but during the shoot, whether Guy was there or not, I didn't even notice the cameras. Guy said 'don't worry about what you say, we aren't going to make you look like a fool,' so I was really able to relax.

"I'd do it again in a second."