NASHVILLE – Sampling his first bite of Ma Stevenson’s Famous Smoked Chicken Sandwich, the nearly 100-year old signature entree at Annie’s Diner in Claremont, TN, Guy Fieri, host of the Food Network’s popular Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, was reported to be, according to one patron, “absolutely fucking disgusted”.
After spending much of the day excitedly helping the restaurant’s current owner, and Mrs. Stevenson’s great-granddaughter, Linda, rub, brine, and smoke an entire grain-fed, organic chicken, pick and cut two slices of heirloom tomato, mix up a dollop of Ma’s famous special sauce, and delicately bake a single onion brioche, Fieri, sinking his whole face into the packed, dripping sandwich, was, in a first for the program, immediately taken aback by the repulsive, nauseating mess he’d just attempted to eat. “Oh my Christ, that is insanely awful.” said a light-headed and pale looking Fieri, noticeably stunned, and erratically stumbling around the diner’s kitchen. “No, really. That. That is just. Oh my God.” Fieri then spent the better part of an hour retching into a nearby trash can, while struggling to maintain control of the sunglasses he was still wearing indoors.
Eventually prompted by producers to quickly finish taping the segment, Fieri reportedly composed himself, and tried to muster some amount of commentary.
“Okay, first there’s, Jesus, there’s this house made sauce that’s horrific beyond description. To put it in context, if terrorists made condiments, they would all taste like Ma’s Special Sauce. It waged war on my tastebuds until all I could think of was my loving wife, and two beautiful children.”
Struggling to remain upright, Fieri continued. “And, oh yeah, Linda you said you smoke that for 8 hours with, was it hickory or cherrywood? Hickory? Okay, because I thought you said it was a dead body. Just one whole chicken, and a dead body, at 175 degrees for 8 hours.”
“Sincerely Linda, last thing, just please tell me. Did your great-grandmother really come up with that recipe? Like your great-grandmother, Ma. Did she invent this? Listen to me when I say: I wish she were still alive so I could tell her, to her face, how bad her sandwich is. The idea that that sandwich is ‘famous’ by anyone’s standard is completely preposterous.”
Turning towards the camera, in a stark departure from his typically boisterous on air persona, a reflective Fieri offered a brief moment of candor. “Over 12 seasons, and roughly 400 episodes, I have never once seen a dish so alarmingly bad. I cannot in a thousand words hope to convey to you the total dishonesty inherent in this restaurant allowing that sandwich a spot on its menu.”
As credits rolled, a shaken and visibly exhausted Fieri could be faintly heard asking a nearby producer for a large glass of water, adding, “Chuck, it’s like this sandwich raped my mouth.”
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