The evolution of Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri has become one of Food Network’s most bankable stars, and has used his power to become an advocate for workers in the restaurant industry.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment

What is it about Guy Fieri?

The frosted tips? The cartoonish wardrobe that’s become a staple of Halloween? Or the ridiculous catch phrases (“that’s out of bounds!”)?

Whatever it is — it’s made Fieri one of Food Network’s most bankable stars and, per The New York Times, has enabled him to become a massive advocate for restauranteurs as well.

Fieri…

… got his start on TV by winning the second season of “The Next Food Network Star.”

While he’s hosted several Food Network shows over the years, his crown jewel is “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” which premiered in 2007. “Triple-D,” as loyal viewers call it, features Fieri traveling the country and sampling the menus of local greasy spoons.

The success of the show has allowed Fieri to launch a business empire offscreen, including:

  • Restaurants: He owns 14 restaurant brands that include ~70 locations across six countries
  • Booze: Including Santo tequila, which he started with former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar, and Hunt and Ryde Winery, a vineyard named after his two sons

And the TV gig isn’t going anywhere: Fieri signed a three-year extension with Food Network in 2021 for ~$80m.

While Fieri’s public persona is all fun and games…

… the self-appointed “Mayor of Flavortown” has been using his influence for philanthropic purposes:

  • In 2018, Fieri and friends helped cook 15k Thanksgiving dinners for California wildfire evacuees
  • In 2020, Fieri partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to raise $20m+ for restaurant workers laid off due to covid

Beyond formal charity work, Fieri and Food Network have helped hundreds of restaurants through “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” which apparently boosts a restaurant’s sales by ~200% after appearing on the show.

So while it’s easy to poke fun at the “Mayor of Flavortown,” it seems he’s doing right by his constituents.

BTW: Before Fieri became Food Network famous, he starred in this commercial, peddling mufflers.

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