Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy cooked up several chances to spend time with his fans in The Villages on Friday.
Villagers and non-Villagers alike joined Doocy as he broadcast his morning show live from R.J. Gators Florida Sea Grill and Bar at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.
Doocy spoke with attendees about politics and current events during the show, and he took photos with the crowd on commercial breaks. He also talked about his new book, “The Happy Cookbook,” which he later signed copies of for fans at Barnes & Noble.
“This is so exciting,” said Laurie Lublin, of the Village of Osceola Hills, as she stood with a sign that read “#1 Fox and Friends” during the morning show shoot. “I’m speechless, and I’m never speechless.”
Wearing red, white and blue, Dee Ilacqua, of the Village of Polo Ridge, tightly held her book after Doocy signed “best wishes” in it while broadcasting live on the air.
“I have family in New York, so I’m happy they got to see me on TV,” she said.
After filming part of the show at the restaurant, Doocy did something he has never done before — surprise local Fox & Friends fans to cook with them in their home.
The crowd formed a tunnel for Doocy to walk through before he hopped on a University of Kansas Jayhawks golf cart, drove around the square and then headed to a home in the Village of Caroline.
While watching Fox & Friends from their living room, Peter and Mary Jane Moeller said they were not expecting to see Doocy drive down their street on television before knocking on their door.
“It’s surreal. I’m letting it all sink in,” Peter said. “It’s hard to describe the emotion. We knew he had a surprise, but we didn’t think it would be us.”
Though the segment was broadcast in the span of just a few minutes, the Moellers welcomed Doocy into their kitchen to make “Baked Eggs Benny” and “Steve’s 3 a.m. Breakfast Smoothie,” which are two recipes from his book.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” Mary Jane said.
After filming the show, Peter told Doocy, “I’ll never watch you on TV again without thinking about this moment.”
“We knew they were super fans, but we did not know for sure that they were going to be home,” Doocy said. “When Peter opened the door, he had a great big laugh. You never know, the next knock on your door could be me to make you breakfast.”
Doocy didn’t just spend breakfast in The Villages. Friday evening, Doocy entertained a dinner-hour crowd by signing copies of his cookbook at Barnes & Noble in Lake Sumter Landing.
Published earlier this week, his book has more than 100 recipes by family members and friends that make people happy, Doocy said.
“These recipes trigger something in the nostalgia department of your brain and take you back to a happy time. That’s why we call it ‘The Happy Cookbook,’” he said. “It’s a taste of our childhood.”
Doocy and his wife made an appearance at Barnes and Noble at Lake Sumter Landing during the evening for a “Happy Cookbook” book signing.
A crowd of around 500 people welcomed them and every copy in the store was sold out by the time each one was signed. Cliff and Vicki Smith made the trek to The Villages from Port Orange, and call themselves Doocy groupies.
“We met him in the morning and we watch Fox and Friends every day,” Cliff said. “Fox News is probably on in our house eight hours a day.”
Shortly behind the couple in line was a Villages resident who brought her Yorkie, Queen E. Lizabeth, to the signing.
Sandra DiTommaso, of the Village of Orange Blossom Gardens, first got in line at 3:30 p.m. for the 6 o’clock event.
“I admire him and his wife,” DiTommaso said. “We like Fox and Friends. It’s honest.”
Doocy said his wife always makes his mother’s pot roast on his birthday, which is his favorite recipe from his book.
“As soon as I walk in the house after it’s been cooking all day, it takes me back 50 years to when my mom made it,” he said. “At the end of the book, we encourage everybody to write down and take pictures of their family recipes.”
Jonathan Bonomo, of the Village of Fenney, who went to the restaurant and interacted with Doocy during the show, said he was “stoked” to be a part it.
“I’ve watched Fox & Friends every morning for at least 10 years,” he said. “I feel like I’m in my living room. It’s very exciting.”
Rachel Stuart is a staff writer with The Villages Daily Sun. She can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5390, or firstname.lastname@example.org.