Guy Fieri may be a devout meat lover who serves up barbecue and other carnivore-friendly meals at his many restaurants—but that doesn’t mean he has no love for vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.
“I always tell my family—and they laugh about it—but someday I will write a vegetarian book,” the Food Network star told PEOPLE on Wednesday at the Carnival Summertime Beer-B-Que in New York City. “My cousin, who’s a big vegetarian, tells me flat out, ‘You’re my favorite vegetarian chef.'”
The restaurateur developed a love for creating vegetarian dishes while cooking for his late sister, Morgan Fieri, as she battled cancer in 2011. “I learned so much about it,” he says. “At first, people think about vegetarian food like, ‘Here’s some veggies. Here’s some pasta.’ But there’s so much more you can do in the vegetarian and vegan world.”
Fieri even has some vegetarian mega-fans. He responded to his “fangirl” Lea Michele — who’s known for her clean and occasionally vegan diet — after she expressed her love for the chef and dubbed him her “hero” at Coachella in April.
“She’s awesome,” he says. “I didn’t get a chance to get her info, but I gotta reach out to her because here’s the thing, I cook so much vegetarian and vegan food, it’s crazy!”
He also doesn’t mind going vegan-for-a-meal himself. The star previously dined at a Minnesota vegan butcher shop, The Herbivorous Butcher, on an episode of Diners Drive-Ins and Drives show, and in June, he raved about the Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro & Bar in New Hampshire.
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Since the king of Flavortown is busy promoting his upcoming Guy Fieri Family Food cookbook and tending to his new smokehouses on cruise ships, it’s unclear when he’ll actually get around to turning his passion for vegetarian cuisine into a full book.
But if he does ship this baby out, we just hope there’s still something delicious and smoky in the mix. If there’s anyone who can convince us to go vegan, it’s Guy Fieri.