There’s no denying Guy Fieri knows his way around a kitchen and knows how to make a good TV show. Still, the pandemic solidified his reputation.
Turn on the Food Network and the odds are good that you’ll see Guy Fieri. Between his shows Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Guys Grocery Games, and Tournament of Champions, he contributes a lot to the network. In 15 years, he’s hosted 14 Food Network series. But despite his TV success, he hasn’t always been taken seriously as a chef or as a celebrity. Thanks to an unexpectedly disastrous 2020, all of that is finally changing.
Fieri famously got his start as the winner of the second season of The Next Food Network Star in 2006. He was awarded the chance to host his own cooking show for six months. He turned that into a massively successful, long-term career in a way that few other celebrity chefs have been able to achieve, though not everyone respected his work because he won his shot on a TV game show. Despite his fame and wealth, he’s apparently as nice behind-the-scenes as he appears to be on camera. He has never lost his interest in helping out small restaurants and up-and-coming chefs.
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As soon as the COVID-19 started impacting businesses, Fieri realized that many small restaurants were going to go out of business and many chefs – most of whom are not wealthy – would be struggling financially. He almost immediately started fundraising, hitting up big companies and wealthy business owners to donate money. He used his fame to get celebrities involved, too. Actor Bill Murray and Fieri had a nacho-making competition to raise awareness and money for the cause. In short order, Fieri raised over $20 million dollars, which was distributed to small restaurants and their employees in need. He continued to raise more money throughout lockdown.
His overwhelmingly successful efforts and generosity belatedly earned him respect from people who looked down on him for his humble TV show beginnings and his larger-than-life personality. The fact that he was able to make connections and convince so many successful people to take part, and that Fieri did it without expecting anything in return impressed everyone and showed that Fieri is worthy of the career he’s built and more deserving of fame than many people who have it.
Guy Fieri may not be a traditional chef who rose to notoriety in a usual way, but he knows food and has worked hard to turn what could have been a short-lived reality show win into a lasting career with many successful shows. Fieri may be the first person to poke fun at himself, but there is no reason Fieri doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. It may have taken 15 years, but Fieri is finally getting the widespread recognition he’s earned.
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