The Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives host might be known for his platinum spiked hair, inventing “Donkey Sauce,” or being a Food Network star, but if that’s all you know about Guy Fieri, you really don’t know him. After winning The Next Food Network Star back in 2006, Fieri’s life changed forever.
While he is a big personality on screen, his life behind the cameras is even more interesting. As he drives around the U.S. looking to meet restaurant and business owners to taste their signature dishes, Fieri doesn’t need to explain his unique lingo or flashy bling to anyone. He’s the man synonymous with the Food Network, but here are some facts even diehard Guy Fieri fans probably don’t know.
His Name Wasn’t Always “Fieri”
Although most people know him as Guy Fieri, he was born Guy Ramsay Ferry. He didn’t make up Fieri for his TV persona; it was his grandfather’s name before he emigrated to the U.S. from Italy. When his grandfather came to America, he changed his last name to Ferry to sound more American. However, when Guy married Lori, he changed his name to Fieri to honor his grandfather.
Fieri means “proud” in Italian, and that name is very fitting for the Food Network chef. Most people mispronounce his name, but Fieri is pronounced like “FEE-eddy” with the “eri” trilled Italian style. It’s also interesting that his middle name is Ramsay, just like Gordon Ramsay. We can’t imagine calling him Guy Ferry.
A “Terrible Cook” Cemented His Career Path
Although Fieri always enjoyed cooking, he didn’t always see it as a career option. In high school, he spent a year in France, and it was here that he realized he wanted to go into the food industry. While he was staying at a boarding house, the woman who ran it was a terrible cook, and he hated all the food.
He was used to his parents’ delicious cooking, and the food he ate at the boarding house was nothing like he had had prior. It was there that he decided what he wanted to do with his life. When Fieri attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he majored in hotel administration and worked as a busboy and flambé captain at a local restaurant.
He Learned to Cook at Barbecue Boot Camp
When Fieri was 12, he got a Little Chief smoker and started making his own beef jerky and smoked cheese. He also dabbled in barbecuing and dreamt of competing at American Royal (the “Super Bowl of barbecue”). Fieri enrolled in a two-day barbecue boot camp taught by the former winner, Lola Rice.
The boot camp was held in a parking lot on the Southside of Houston. Fieri said there were about 70 people there, and he felt like a fish out of water. He arrived in a convertible he rented at the airport. The California native felt way out of his comfort zone, but that didn’t stop him from learning competition-winning techniques.
He Won the Super Bowl of Barbecue
At first, people at the barbecue camp thought Fieri was lost because he was not like the other Southerners. But it didn’t take long to earn their respect when he made a huge vat of pasta for everyone there after he learned that the camp didn’t provide dinner for participants or staff members. There, he met a truck driver, a pharmacist, a computer tech, and an architect.
These people didn’t seem to have much in common besides their love for smoked meat. However, that didn’t stop them from forming a barbecue crew to compete at American Royal. They went on to win the competition, won knuckle-sized rings, and a trip to Disney World. Winning this competition also helped Fieri get into the Barbecue Hall of Fame.
He Rose To Fame Thanks to a Cooking Competition
Fans may not know this, but Fieri rose to prominence as a TV personality after winning the second season of The Next Food Network Star in 2006. The reality show gives chefs a chance to compete for their own cooking show. He beat seven other chefs, including a fellow California chef, Reggie Southerland.
As the winner, Fieri hosted his first show named Guy’s Big Bites, which premiered two months after he won the competition. Although several other Food Network Star winners still contribute to the network, none of them have been as successful as Fieri with his numerous shows, including Guy’s Grocery Games, Minute to Win It, and Guy vs. Rachel: Celebrity Cook-Off. His show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is currently on its 34th season.
He Never Intended to Make Platinum Hair His Signature Look
Believe it or not, Fieri rocked long hair for years, and his hairdresser always said he needed to modernize his look. One day, he finally told her, “Do whatever you want,” so she cut his hair. When they were done, he asked, “When are you going to wash the shampoo out?” However, there wasn’t any shampoo; it was his new hair color.
“I’m rarely speechless, but I was speechless then,” said Fieri when he saw his hair. He had to go straight to work at his restaurant, so he pulled on a baseball hat to cover his hair. The hat didn’t hide anything, and everyone was shocked by his new style. However, he embraced it, and it became his signature style.
His Sister’s Battle With Cancer Changed His Life
When Fieri was eight, his younger sister was diagnosed with cancer. Although he was young, he was surprised how his community and even strangers supported the family during the difficult time. It left a lasting impact on Fieri, mainly when the local football team visited his sister in the hospital.
Fieri said it didn’t take away the pain, but it helped her smile, which meant so much to the family. His sister beat childhood cancer but passed away at 38 from metastatic melanoma. Her battle makes Fieri want to do everything he can to help other families affected by cancer.
He Convinced a Cruise Ship to Carry a Barbecue Smoker
We know you are probably scratching your head at this one, but it will make sense. After launching Guy’s Burger Joint on the Carnival Cruise Line, the company approached him about opening a second restaurant on a different ship. Fieri loved the idea and wanted it to be a barbecue place, but it had to be done right.
To get the best barbecue, the meat needs to be slow-cooked right on board. Therefore, Fieri asked them to get an Ole Hickory smoker for the restaurant, and it wasn’t an easy sell, but they managed to make it happen. Pig & Anchor BBQ Eatery opened in March 2021 on some Carnival Cruise ships.
Fieri Thought of Doing a Kid’s Cooking Show First
Before children’s cooking shows were all the rage, Fieri was interested in creating one. In 2017, he said, “One of the biggest things to see is kids involved in cooking. When I got on Food Network 12 years ago, the first thing I said was, ‘I want a kid’s cooking show,’ and they thought I was kidding.’”
Because Fieri had children, he knew how much that age group loves to cook. However, no one was embracing his ideas at the time. Today, children’s cooking shows are popular, and those executives are probably kicking themselves for not listening to Fieri back in the day.
He Had a Pretzel Cart in Sixth Grade
When Fieri was just ten years old, he opened his first culinary operation. After a family vacation to Tahoe, Fieri fell in love with soft pretzels. Therefore, he and his dad built a pretzel cart to attach to his bike when he returned home.
He would ride his bike with The Awesome Pretzel Cart in tow and sell soft pretzels for 50 cents at fairs and events around town. Eventually, he used the money he made from the cart to fund his studies in France. He was an entrepreneur from the very beginning.
He Was Injured by a Horse as a Child
If you ever see Fieri without his famous bowling shirts on, you might notice that he has a scar on his stomach. This is from an accident he had as a child when a horse bucked him off and stomped on him. Fieri was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
The accident impacted his liver and heart. His mom was devastated when the accident happened because she thought he was going to die. When it occurred, his parents were backpacking in Europe, so a lawyer had to sign the permission to do surgery to salvage his guts.
He Released Six Cookbooks
When Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives started to take off in 2008, Fieri capitalized on its popularity by releasing his first cookbook, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: An All-American Road Trip… With Recipes!” Since then, he has released two more cookbooks based on the show.
On top of the show-related cookbooks, Fieri also published “Guy Fieri Food,” “Guy on Fire,” and “Guy Fieri Family Food.” They have all been successful, and he curates some of his favorite recipes that he has debuted on the Food Network’s Thanksgiving and Holiday specials.
His Northern California Winery Is Named After His Sons
Some celebrities slap their names on a wine label and call it a day. However, Fieri is different because he wanted to get in on the action, so he bought a five-acre vineyard. He said, “This isn’t juice that somebody else made that we just put in a bottle and put my name on it.”
Hunter and Ryde Winery, named after his sons Hunter and Ryder Fieri, sell the wine in the price range of $17 to $100. As a family man, Fieri thought it was important to include his children in the business because they are his pride and joy.
Fieri Inspired This Iconic Movie Character
You might know a little movie called Bridesmaids starring Kristen Wigg and Melissa McCarthy. In 2011, McCarthy told Conan O’Brien that her character in the film was based on the Food Network star. This explains the bowling shirts, but she should have committed with platinum hair.
When McCarthy first read the script, she said Guy Fieri was the first person that came to her mind. Apparently, she tried to convince the producers to let her wear a short, white, spikey wig. The producers said, “You can’t actually be Guy Fieri.” Can you imagine how confusing that would have been?
Fieri Met His Wife in a Strange Way
Lori Brisson and Fieri have been married for over 25 years, and you will be surprised by how they met. When he was running a restaurant in Long Beach, California, Brisson and her friend, who had recently been fired from the restaurant, walked in, and he told her friend she should be there.
Fieri told the woman, “Listen, wait a few weeks before you come in.” Behind her was another beautiful woman giving Fieri a smug look. Brisson stuck up for her friend, and Fieri let them stay because he wanted to get to know Brisson. Fast forward, and they are happily married with children.
He Officiated 101 Same-Sex Marriages in One Day
Although he was accused of being homophobic in the past, when Florida lifted the ban on same-sex marriages, Fieri planned an extravagant celebration to officiate a huge wedding ceremony. Fieri and chef Art Smith invited 101 same-sex couples to join them for the event in Miami.
He invited other celebrity chefs, including Duff Goldman, to cater fried chicken, crab-stuffed avocados, and a seven-tiered wedding cake. The event was reportedly in his late sister’s honor. It seems that he has grown since being accused of making hateful comments.
He Has Restaurants All Over the World HHHas
In addition to the ones in his home state of California, Fieri has restaurants worldwide, including locations in Cancun and Dubai. While he has more of an ownership stake in some of them, Fieri has roughly 60 eateries. Although 60 is a large number of restaurants, there are eight primary brands.
Fieri’s eight primary brands consist of Guy Fieri’s Kitchen & Bar, Guy Fieri’s El Burrito Borracho, Guy Fieri’s Chop House, Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Guy’s Smokehouse, Guy’s Pig & Anchor, Chicken Guy, Guy’s Sammich Joint, and Guy’s Burger Joint. These are his most successful eateries, and they are all over the U.S.
His Tattoos Have Significance
In a 2012 interview, Fieri told some of the backstories behind his tattoos that are usually visible under the sleeves of his bowling shirts. Some of his tattoos include his sons’ initials and the bald eagle from the Presidential Seal to commemorate the time he cooked at the White House.
Another one of his tattoos is Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” in honor of his late sister, Morgan. Fieri mentioned his love for ink in one of his cookbooks, which is filled with tattoo art. When he started getting tattoos, he had to slow himself down because he would have become addicted and covered his body.
He Doesn’t Like Eggs
Although the Food Network star has said he eats eggs once in a while, Fieri said he is not a fan of breakfast food in general. If you are an avid watcher of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, you might have noticed that he changes recipes not to include eggs, even if the establishment makes something with eggs.
If he is going to eat breakfast, his family loves grits, so he makes that. His mom is from North Carolina, so Fieri grew up eating grits, hams, and red-eye gravy. Fieri is also a fan of yogurt, granola, and vegetable juices.
How Much Is Guy Fieri Worth?
The mayor of Flavortown has been a long-time chef and television personality. After launching his career in 2006, he’s now known for many things, including his money. It is estimated that he is worth about $40 million. After signing a new deal with Food Network in May 2021, Fieri is the highest-paid chef on TV.
Fieri’s hit show Triple D brought in $230 million in 2020 alone, solely on ad revenue. Before he was the face of one of the most popular food TV brands, Fieri worked for an auto-part maker. No one knew how big of a name he would become back then.
He Grew Up Mostly Vegetarian
While Fieri is in the Barbecue Hall of Fame, and he is known for his slow-cooked meats, he hasn’t always been a carnivore. Fieri admitted that as a child, he grew up mostly eating a vegetarian diet. While his family followed the vegetarian lifestyle, he secretly hated it.
Although he wasn’t a fan of it as a child, Fieri still loves veggies today. There isn’t a vegetable that he and his family don’t love, but we wonder if he is covering them in his famous “Donkey Sauce.” We would love to go to Fieri’s house for a meal because it must be the best food ever.
The Famous “Donkey Sauce”
Fieri’s Donkey Sauce (a mayonnaise and mustard-based sauce) might be his greatest contribution to humanity. The way he came up with the name is rather humorous. While working in the kitchen of a Carnival Cruise ship, he explained, “you have to put sauce on the burgers, or you’re a jacka**.”
The other chef in the kitchen wasn’t a native English speaker, so he asked, “Jacka**? What is a jacka**?” Fieri explained that it was a donkey, and the other chef said, “Oh, so it’s donkey sauce.” That’s when history happened, and the culinary world changed forever.
There’s a Petition to Rename Fieri’s Birth Town
Although he grew up in California, Fieri was born in Columbus, Ohio. Therefore, in 2020, a fan started a petition to rename Columbus to Flavortown in honor of Fieri, and it racked up hundreds of thousands of signatures. In the petition’s description, it says that they should detach the city from Christopher Columbus.
Instead of honoring Columbus, the petition aims to highlight central Ohio’s proud heritage as a culinary crossroads. Fieri said, “The residents of Flavortown definitely have some power, and I am honored.” He also said many people deserve to have a city named after them more than he does.
Fieri Owns Peacocks and Goats
In a December 2020 interview, Fieri talked about owning peacocks because they keep the rattlesnake population down. He lives on a large California ranch, so he has lots of room for many different animals, including goats, which live in the goat shed. He said they are intelligent and valuable.
Fieri also has a tortoise called Pops, and he breaks free often. It is definitely not the most conventional group of pets, but hey, you can buy whatever you want when you have a lot of money. Besides his exotic pets, he also has dogs, and he likes to wish them happy birthday on social media.
He Has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
In May 2019, Fieri became the third chef to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is joined by the likes of Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay. Matthew McConaughey and Fieri’s son Hunter spoke at the ceremony honoring him. His fellow Food Network stars were there to celebrate his accomplishment.
McConaughey said, “In a business where you can be anyone, you’ve been you (Fieri) the whole time.” McConaughey and Fieri have been friends for a while, and he had appeared on Triple D. Fieri also said he had the most fantastic job in the world and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
He Started a Restaurant Employee Relief Fund During the Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic hit everyone hard, especially the restaurant industry, because dining wasn’t allowed and if it was it was limited. In response, Fieri decided to help his fellow restaurant owners by creating the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which provided 43,000 $500 grants to restaurant workers.
With the help of other companies, organizations, and individual donors, Fieri raised $21.5 million to help keep the industry alive. He is such a giving person and will do whatever he can to help others in need. Not everyone is as fortunate, so Fieri wanted to spread the wealth.
How Old Is Guy Fieri?
Born January 22, 1968, in Columbus, Ohio, Fieri is now 53 years old. When he was young, his family moved to Humboldt County, California, where he spent most of his youth. He described his parents as hippies, so his upbringing was different than most people.
The middle-aged chef has come a long way since his childhood, and he has a lot to be thankful for. Although he is 53, he has no plans of slowing down. He still has more seasons of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives coming as well as Guy’s Grocery Games.
He Is a Car Enthusiast
Fans of Triple D know that the host always tours the country in his cherry-red 1967 Camaro SS Convertible. However, most people might not be aware of his off-screen muscle car collection. Fieri’s collection of hot rods includes a 1967 Chevy C10 pickup truck and a 1968 Pontiac Firebird.
Fieri’s collection also includes a 1969 Chevrolet Impala SS, a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle, and a 1976 Jeep CJ-5. He has always loved cars, and once he started to make more money, he started to expand his collection past the red convertible that people see in the opening of Triple D.
His Car Is Iconic, but He Doesn’t Travel in It
In the opening of every Triple D episode, you will see Fieri drive his 1968 Chevy Camaro SS to the next city on his list. However, Fieri doesn’t actually road trip across America in this muscle car. If you thought he did, we hate to ruin the illusion.
The Camaro is actually shipped on a trailer to each city that he films in, and Fieri doesn’t drive in it. He is only filmed opening and closing the door to give the illusion that he uses the car to get from one place to the next. Realistically, it would be uncomfortable and impractical to drive from state to state in that car.
The First Triple D Episode Took 21 Days to Film
After winning The Next Food Network Star in 2006, Fieri had the idea for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. According to a 2007 interview, once he was on board with Triple D, it took him and the crew 21 days to film the pilot. Luckily it was worth it, and the show is a success.
The other episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives take a couple of days to film. Restaurant owners have to sacrifice a lot of time to the show both before and during filming for phone interviews and meetings. One restaurant owner said it took two days to film, including B-roll shots and Fieri cooking the dishes.
Fieri Has Developed Many Iconic Catchphrases
Half the allure of watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is to see what Fieri will say. Throughout the years, he has developed some famous catchphrases like, “I think if I put that on a flop, it would taste good,” or “It’s got whiz-bang wow in there.”
One of Fieri’s most famous expressions is “Bom dot-com tasty,” which came about in the earlier seasons of Triple D. It comes from the late-‘90s slang “the bomb.” He uses it quite often along with the word “dynamite” to describe something he really likes.
Fieri Gives Chefs Advice When the Cameras Stop Rolling
While not every meal on the show is a hit, Fieri is kind enough to help out the owners and chefs by giving them some tips. When he was on a podcast, Fieri said he tries to help out chefs if he doesn’t like a dish, but in the nicest way possible.
Fieri said, “I don’t have a problem; I mean, I’ve cooked all this stuff six ways to Sunday. I’ve been around forever doing this, so I know where they’re going to miss it. I’m not there to change their restaurant; that’s not my job.” If the chefs ask, he is more than happy to offer advice.
Restaurants on Triple D Have to Invest Money for the Episode
While restaurants that are featured on Triple D usually gain a lot of business and popularity, owners have to invest in preparing for the show. One restaurant owner who appeared on the show in 2015 said it cost him about $15,000 in ingredients and cleaning costs.
That is a pretty significant investment considering the episode might not air for up to a year. However, restaurant owners see a massive increase in sales after they are on TV, so they think it is worth it. We guess they eventually get the money back when they have a lot of customers.
Fieri Doesn’t Talk to the Chefs Before Filming
The executive producer of Triple D told People that Fieri doesn’t like to make small talk with restaurant owners before they start filming, but it’s not because he is a diva. Fieri wants to have genuine and organic moments when he meets them, so he saves it for the cameras.
According to a Food Network article, some people think Fieri is standoffish at first. However, once they start filming with him, they realize how kind and authentic he is. He just doesn’t want the show to seem awkward, forced, or staged.
Fieri Invites Special Guests to Every Triple D Taping
Because his sister had cancer as a child, Fieri has been very involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For each taping of Triple D, he invites Make-A-Wish families to the restaurants and to watch the behind-the-scenes action. These are life-changing moments that he is proud to be a part of.
As someone whose family was affected by cancer, he understands what these families are going through. He understands the heartache, and he wants to do anything he can to enlighten or empower those children. He also invites the whole family so that no one is singled out.
He Brings a Juicer on the Road
As you can see on Triple D, Fieri eats a lot of unhealthy food. While it may be delicious, it is not a sustainable or healthy diet. Many of the dishes he tests out are loaded with calories, so he has to balance that out when the cameras aren’t rolling.
Fieri starts every day with freshly squeezed juice. He exercises before filming and uses his juicer on the road. He also makes his crew drink it too to help their immunity because being on the road and working crazy hours can ruin the immune system. The juice also keeps his palate clear.
He Chooses the Restaurants for the Show
Once the production team compiles and vets a list of restaurant options for the upcoming season, Fieri personally chooses which ones they will visit. He looks for specific things from each restaurant, including food, story, and character, because they need some substance to spotlight.
Fieri also handpicks every dish that gets featured on the episode. They told People that Fieri would spot unique ingredients or a way of preparing the dishes to make them exciting for viewers. If they were boring, everyday dishes, no one would be interested in the show.
There Are Many Fan Websites Dedicated to Triple D
Fans of Triple D have created a website with all the locations Fieri has visited on the show. The website creators update it weekly, so you can stay up to date on the latest places he is visiting. The site is quite organized, and you can find some really exciting eateries.
The site categorizes locations by city, state, cuisine, and food type. You can also use it to plan a road trip. Another fan-run site called FlavortownUSA helps organize stops on Triple D. These people should get paid because they are doing Fieri a decent service.
The Guest Star List Is Loaded
Fieri has become very popular throughout the years, and he is now a household name. He has had the opportunity to meet some pretty famous celebrities throughout his career, and he has featured many of them on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
Some of his celebrity guests include Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Gene Simmons, Kid Rock, Matthew McConaughey, and his friend Steve Harwell from the band Smashmouth. The show continues to get bigger each season, and we can’t wait to see what he will do next.