Unless you’ve been living under a rock or never watched the Food Network, chances are you’ve heard of Guy Fieri. He’s pretty hard to miss with his bleached tips, tattoos, backward sunglasses, and energetic personality. Over the years, he’s made a name for himself on television with shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives or Guy’s Grocery Games and is even credited with developing unique catchphrases to describe food. Yet, although he has a large fan base, there are others in the food industry who despise him. Want to know more about this eclectic television personality? Take a look at some lesser-known facts about the Mayor of Flavortown.
He Started Working In The Food Industry When He Was 10 Years Old
When he was just 10 years old, with the help of his father, Fieri built, owned, and operated a bicycle-powered pretzel cart. He named it “The Awesome Pretzel” which eventually gained a reputation around his hometown of Ferndale in the Humboldt County, California.
Over the years working at his pretzel cart, and an eventual second job working as a dishwasher, Fieri saved enough money to study abroad in Chantilly, France when he was 16. Driven by his interest in the culinary arts, it was there that he developed a true passion for food.
He’s Not As Adventurous Of An Eater As You’d Think
If you’ve ever seen Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives, you know that Fieri isn’t always very concerned about what he’s putting into his body in terms of health. He’ll happily take on dishes that would give most people a heart attack.
He lives by the philosophy that “You can live super healthy and get hit by a truck and others eat the pork rinds, drink, and live to 100.” However, he’s not open to eating anything put in front of him. According to him, “Parts that are licked, make sounds, push, filter, walk, and so on are not for me.”
He Got A Zero-Star Review From The New York Times
Back in 2012, The New York Times critic, Pete Wells, gave Fieri’s restaurant – Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar in Manhattan a zero-star rating. Fieri took it personally and commented that “He dropped down to third grade and said every mean, vile thing that he could say and discredited himself […] His assignment was to give me no stars. He had it already planned.”
Wells claimed that he’s never told whether to give a restaurant a good or a bad review, although Fieri couldn’t believe that was the case considering the rating that his restaurant was given.
He Was Born Guy Ferry
Born January 22, 1968, Guy Fieri was originally had the last name Ferry. He kept his given last name through his childhood and into his 20s. However, he took on the last name Fieri (pronounced “Fieddi”) in 1995 when he married his wife, Lori.
It was then that he changed both of their last names to his family’s original surname, Fieri. He did this in order to honor his great-grandfather, Guiseppe Fieri. Probably a good call on Fieri’s part, because it’s impossible to envision him introducing himself with the last name Ferry.
Melissa McCarthy Based Her Bridesmaids Character On Him
If you’ve seen Bridesmaids, you know that Melissa McCarthy’s character Megan is a very in-your-face and animated person. Well, this is because she loosely based her character on Guy Fieri himself. She told Conan O’Brien that “When I first read it, the first person I thought of was Guy Fieri.”
She attributes wearing her sunglasses on the back of her head to be a direct rip-off of Fieri’s signature style and even went so far as to try and convince the producers to let her have short and white-spiked hair. Their response was, ‘You can’t actually be Guy Fieri!”
He Has His Own Wine
Fieri runs and owns Hunt & Ryde Winery, named after his sons Hunter and Ryder made from grapes from his own vineyard in Santa Rosa, California. They have various wines including a Pinot and Bordeaux although they are well known for their Zinfandel.
The Zinfandel has been described as “A balanced wine marked by savory black olive, black pepper and a strong current of Italian deli aromas and flavors.” Unlike many of the other things connected to Fieri, his wine remains relatively tame with most people not even knowing that it’s of Fieri’s making.
He Was Trampled By A Horse
At the young age of 10, Fieri was thrown by a horse and then trampled by it, causing horrific bodily damage. The accident resulted in terrible damaged to his liver, including a bruised heart, nearly killing him.
At the time, his parents were backpacking in Europe which forced his family’s attorney to sign a court order to allow for emergency surgery. Fieri noted that “It was [messed] up, my mom was devastated.” Luckily, he made a full recovery although was left with a large scar on his stomach where he was operated on.
Why It’s Called Donkey Sauce
Fieri is well-known for his custom sauce which he refers to as “Donkey Sauce,” although no donkeys are used in the making of it. The name actually comes from Feiri’s time working in a Carnival Cruise kitchen.
He was explaining to a fellow chef who had a thick accent that “you have to put the sauce on the burger or you’re a jackass.” When the worker asked what a jackass was, he explained that it meant donkey. From then on, he called his special burger concoction “Donkey Sauce.”
He Has A Degree Outside Of Food
Before devoting his entire life to the food industry, Fieri went to college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. There, he worked in various restaurants on the side, including one job as a flambé captain. He then graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management in 1990, which would greatly help him in the opening and running his numerous restaurants in the future.
Yet, after graduating, he wasn’t ready to completely walk away from the food business and continued working in restaurants. By 1996, he had opened up his first restaurant, Johnny Garlic’s, in Santa Rosa, California in 1996
He Didn’t Learn Food From His Parents
While most chefs might attribute their love for food and cooking skills to their parents or other family members growing up, that’s not the case for Fieri. Fieri describes his parents as being “hippies,” and says they were driven towards a more healthy cuisine while he was growing up.
Fieri told Food Network that “My parents were all into macrobiotic cooking and natural cooking, and my sister was a vegetarian.” Fieri, on the other hand, clearly found his calling in the meat department which is obvious in his cooking style and television shows.
His Son Is Following In His Footsteps
Unsurprisingly, one of Fieri’s son’s is following in his footsteps and pursuing a career in the culinary arts and empire building business like his father. His eldest, Hunter, is currently attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is enrolled in the hospitality program like his father once did.
On top of that, he is also interning with Caesar’s where famous chefs such as Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay, and Giada De Laurentiis all have renowned restaurants. He has a lot of opportunities open for him and it appears it’s what he really wants to do.
He’s Getting A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
In June 2018, the inductees for the 2019 class of people getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were announced, and Guy Fieri on the list. This is a huge accomplishment for Fieri, as his name will be on the Walk of Fame along with some of media’s greatest such as Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, among countless others.
In 2019, you can see him at his induction ceremony along with other inductees such as Robert De Niro, Dolly Parton, Jackie Wilson, and Julia Child although she is deceased.
Billionaire Steve Cohen Paid To Hang Out With Him For A Day
Believe it or not, billionaire and former hedge fund manager, Steve Cohen, is a huge fan of Guy Fieri, especially his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. So, he decided that he wanted to spend a day with the chef and asked his manager what the price tag would be for such a meetup.
The price was set at $100,000 which is pocket change for Cohen who happily handed over the money. The two eventually met and drove around Connecticut and pretended to be on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The two remain friends today.
Guy Doesn’t Travel In Small Groups
When Fieri is busy touring the country in his classic American muscle cars, it’s usually not just him and a camera crew. He usually brings along a rather large entourage to keep him company and to have a little fun.
At times, the group is known to get a little rowdy, spending nights out on the town, only to cure their hangovers with delicious food the next day. At one point, the entire posse and camera crew almost got kicked out of a hotel after one of Guy’s friends broke an elevator drunkenly jumping while it was moving.
His First Attempt To Get On The Food Network Failed
Back in 2004, Fieri tried his hand at the Food Channel with no luck. He auditioned for a show about barbecuing but he didn’t convince any of the Food Network executives. Ready to admit defeat, it was actually his friends that convinced him not to give up doing something with Food Network.
Luckily, he listened because he eventually scored the show he wanted and has grown to become one of the most recognizable faces on the entire network. The channel certainly wouldn’t have been the same without him.
He Can’t Stand Eggs
If you’ve seen any of Fieri’s shows, especially Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, you know that he will eat just about anything that’s put in front of him. Most of the dishes he tries aren’t for the faint of heart either. However, there’s one particular food that he downright despises eating, and that’s eggs.
While he cooks with them all the time, he stays far away from them when it comes to eating them. Chefs on his show will purposefully leave out the eggs in a recipe or replace them with something else, otherwise, he’ll just eat around them.
Tragedy Struck In 2010
2010 was a hard year for Guy Fieri as his sister was diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately passed away. During that time, Guy was scheduled to make an appearance at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Knowing what he was going through, the festival organizers understood if he wanted to back out of the event.
Yet, Guy refused and powered through his grief at the event and did what he came there to do. He said that he couldn’t cancel because he knew that his sister would have wanted him to carry on.
He Didn’t Know What A Real Diner Was
Ironically enough, considering he has a show called Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, at one point, Fieri wasn’t entirely sure what a true diner was. Growing up in rural Humboldt County, California, he wasn’t exposed to what the rest of the country would consider a classic diner so he had his own definition.
He thought that diners were the same thing as your average hamburger stand, and didn’t think that diners could have large menus because that meant they couldn’t do any one thing well. He eventually discovered that was far from the truth.
Anthony Bourdain Made His Opinion About Fieri Very Clear
Anthony Bourdain was never shy about speaking what was on his mind, which was certainly the case when it came to Guy Fieri. On multiple occasions, made it very obvious that he basically didn’t like anything about him. In an interview with Atlanta Magazine, he commented “The minute that you become a father, certain truths become immediately obvious to you […] I wonder about him. He’s 52 years old and still rolling around in the flame outfit.”
On the constant insults from Bourdain, Fieri responded “It’s actually disappointing. I don’t like him making fun of people, and I don’t like him talking [expletive]. And he’s never talked [expletive] to my face. I know he’s definitely gotta have issues.”
There Was Trouble On The Set Of Diners, Drive-Ins, And Dives
While audiences would never know, there were some issues on the set of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives back in 2011. That year, Fieri and David Page, a fellow creator of the show had a major falling out which led to Page being fired from the show. However, Page then sued the Food Network under breach of contract, leading the network to fight back.
They counter-sued Page claiming that he had treated the crew on the show poorly. Page fired back saying that Fieri was prejudice against homosexual and Jewish people. The issue resolved in a settlement out of court and Page never returned to the show.