Celebrity chef Guy Fieri, known best for reveling in rich recipes of comfort foods (potato and panchetta pizza, anyone?) and celebrating greasy spoons in his show, "Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins," took a new turn for fitness Saturday in a cook-off with Rachel Ray at Pier 36.
The cook-off, for Fun and Fit in the City, was part of the NYC Food & Wine Festival and a kid-themed series of events at Basketball City near Pitt Street on the southern tip of Manhattan.
The popular bleach-blonde TV cook was joined by Rachael Ray and the two went head-to-head in a lunch competition, helped by two culinary teams from New Rochelle, N.Y. in Westchester, and West Babylon, N.Y, in Long Island.
The top chefs were introduced by NYC Council member Christine Quinn who stressed the importance of healthy eating - especially for school children - before the competition began.
Budding chef Daniel Fratto, 18, watched from the audience. Fratto came from Orange County with his mother Danielle, 47, and was thrilled to meet one of his cooking heroes, Guy Fieri.
"I love both Guy and Rachael and watch their shows all the time on the Food Network," said Fratto. "In fact, if my brother isn't at home I watch the Food Network all day."
"This is our first time here and we're loving it," added Danielle Fratto. "I think we might be back next year."
Rachael Ray and the Long Island team won, after a group of discerning young judges called her lunch — a spicy taco chilli on a bed of sweet potato with cheddar — the supreme one.
Guy Fieri's team, which cooked up chicken fingers with macaroni and cheese and a strawberry shake, lost, and apparently didn't win any health points, either (though Fieri pointed out the shake as a fresh form of fruit.)