Guy Fieri Is The Last Unproblematic Food Person
May 11, 2020 7:46 PM   Subscribe

 
One of the most satisfying lunches I’ve ever had was at his Las Vegas pub. His food, when taken as prescribed, is so satisfying as to be dangerous.
posted by lattiboy at 7:59 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite genres is 'Guy Fieri is a really nice person' so this is right on target
posted by Think_Long at 8:02 PM on May 11 [17 favorites]


Previously in Guy Fieri (this essay was recently nominated for a James Beard award)
posted by babelfish at 8:10 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


I find his TV personality grating AF, but the charitable work he does is pretty great, and there have been stories since quarantine started about how hard he is working to throw support behind the restaurants that he would have visited with the DDD crews if they were able to travel. He seems to sincerely be a pretty great guy.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:17 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]


The article could have extolled Guy's virtues without needing to shit over other folks. Like yeah, some of them are heels, but others are...fine?
posted by explosion at 8:21 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


But what a crisis actually requires is garbage. We’re all in fight-or-flight mode, which requires us to lean into our primal instincts.

This speaks to me.
posted by medusa at 8:34 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


People/internet don't like Guy because he's earnest, which has inexplicably become a terrible sin these days. Remember when his car was stolen, and he basically said "it's really not that important"?
posted by niicholas at 8:56 PM on May 11 [18 favorites]


Could’ve been a nicer piece and titled Fieri: Donkey Saucin’ Right Along in 2020.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 PM on May 11


I feel weird about guy fieri because I think he's a nice guy but I kind of hate most of the food he glorifies. I wish him a sort of contained success.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:08 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]


There's a local diner that is actually really good that was featured on his show -- he serves his niche well. I'm not a huge fan of his persona, but I remind myself that I pretty much dislike all food celebrity shows so it works out.
posted by yueliang at 9:18 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


wait though please tell me is there anything problematic about Alton Brown?
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:20 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]


This being the internet, everyone gets their time on the wheel, and everyone has their moments of grace. Donkey Sauce is a flat circle.
posted by gwint at 9:20 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


The Garbage Plate Crew, Chef John and Babish, are fairly unproblematic, as are the two Test Kitchens I follow and Emmy Made in Japan and Nerdy Nummies and Kenji (who's... new?... cooking show with a go-pro glued to his forehead is amazing) and the Burger Scholar and the Prime Time Butchers and Worth It and...

Now is about the best time ever for decent food celebrities, because YouTube has allowed folks to bypass local and national network television for awesome content and a diverse group of entertainer-chefs and foodies to rise. YouTube got issues, sure, but compared to the Sinclair network? Discovery Inc.? It's harder to hide a missing stair, just is. Not impossible, tho.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:38 PM on May 11 [9 favorites]


Also, the local pirogi joint one town over from me still has a graffiti stencil on their ceiling from when they were featured on Guy's Triple D, they were so pleased with his visit. Also good polish food.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:41 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


I watch the Epicurious "4 Levels" series on YT. I know nothing about any of the cooks, chefs, or food scientists on these except what I see in the clips, and it's all been fun.

Fieri's schtick is grating to me personally, but it's cool that he's shining a spotlight on local places and does good deeds.
posted by droplet at 9:45 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


please tell me is there anything problematic about Alton Brown?

He has some truly terrible things to say about fat people.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:48 PM on May 11 [22 favorites]


Any and all of Alton’s early and some later (early 2000s) good eats episodes that feature Asian cuisines range from cringey to straight up “holy shit this is Yellowface” style racist. He takes and took a lot of inspiration from Monty Python, and... some of that stuff has not aged well. I guess because he’s southern he seems to be ok with Black food history and did an excellent good eats on George Washington Carver for example. But oof his episodes on Asian cuisines... dressing up white actors in bad samurai wigs and having them speak poor stereotypical English bad. He seems to have come to his senses with his newer shows. But yeah, watch some of the older good eats that focus on Japanese food(s)... it’s not great.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:59 PM on May 11 [17 favorites]


please tell me there isn't anything problematic about Alton Brown?

Makes nasty "jokes" about black people, gay people, and the Chinese. But other than that!
posted by tzikeh at 10:01 PM on May 11 [8 favorites]


Oh, yes, and fat people -- thanks for the reminder jacquilynne.
posted by tzikeh at 10:02 PM on May 11


Ok, same question, but Samin
Nosrat?
posted by kaibutsu at 10:40 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


I’ve never watched his main show or eaten at his restaurants, but I have binge watched his “Guy’s Grocery Games” show on Hulu with my kids - who adore it. He seems like the type of person you could have a beer and shoot the breeze with pretty easily.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:49 PM on May 11


Love 4 Levels, and they do a series where the Level 1 and Level 3 chefs hand off ingredients and their recipe notebooks... my kid especially enjoys those.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:57 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Mr. Fieri often has the same coloration as a Coral snake. He just triggers some deep brain danger switch in the Human IFF for a lot of people who then engage in post hoc rationalizations to explain away the discomfort.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 10:58 PM on May 11 [29 favorites]


The article could have extolled Guy's virtues without needing to shit over other folks.

I think in this content, Guy Fieri is best read as a framing device.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:04 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


Ok, same question, but Samin Nosrat?

She is perfect and I will hear no dissent.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 11:12 PM on May 11 [20 favorites]


Please tell me José Andrés is okay.
posted by oceano at 11:27 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


His food is unfussy because it’s apolitical — a Fieri dish tells the world nothing about who made it or who enjoys it

deep-fried eyeroll!

(meanwhile, more on what GF is doing: Guy Fieri is in quarantine with 400 goats, a peacock problem and a plan to help restaurant employees)
posted by chavenet at 1:21 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I would try a deep fried eyeroll and maybe even make it my signature food truck item.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:26 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]



Please tell me José Andrés is okay.



He seems to be.
posted by valdesm at 2:09 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Jose Andres campaigned hard against eliminating the $3.33 tipped minimum wage in DC.
posted by slkinsey at 4:06 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I loathe Guy Fieri because he hosts reality TV shows. That's it; that's the only reason. I don't believe anyone who hosts reality TV shows can be a good person.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:14 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


The same "paper of record" New York Times that employs the mean girl racist Alison Roman also famously skewered Guy Fieri's restaurant. Coincidence?

Or maybe the elite liberal establishment isn't as admirable as they would like us to think they are.

(Thanks for the link in the post, btw!)
posted by Borborygmus at 4:15 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


I think Guy Fieri would probably be pretty exhausting to be around, but I have also been watching a lot of Guy's Grocery Games and I love it. All the regular judges seem to genuinely enjoy his company and each other's and that's so refreshing! I see so many people on TV shows that seem like they actively resent each other so it's nice to see a group of people that actually have fun together (and the April Fool's tribute to Carl Ruiz made me cry).

(Guy's Grocery Games, other than just being really sweet, is actually pretty inspiring right now. I've joked with friends that grocery shopping right now is like being on that show -- you can't go down certain aisles, other things are out of stock, you have to use strange substitutes.)
posted by darksong at 4:22 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Mr. Fieri often has the same coloration as a Coral snake.

Red and yellow, problematic fellow.
Red and black, time for snack.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:56 AM on May 12 [41 favorites]


Can I appreciate the work he's doing to support people in distress, but not like his food?

His stuff is Outback-level unhealthy glurge a lot of the time. Nor am I a fan of the video he makes.

But, that doesn't mean he can't be excellent when looking after his fellow human beings, and I'll give him full, ungrudging, credit for that.
posted by bonehead at 5:56 AM on May 12 [11 favorites]


Jose Andres campaigned hard against eliminating the $3.33 tipped minimum wage in DC.

Jose Andres was also sued for multiple wage violations. Two days after the filing, he publicly apologized and blamed a "software glitch," leading the plaintiffs to amend their suit to describe exactly how the wage theft they'd experienced was not related to any software.
posted by mediareport at 6:04 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


I kind of hate most of the food he glorifies

On the list of words I wish I could stop other people from using, "glorify" is definitely at the top. Do you think ultra-expensive small plates with micro greens that are only accessible to million- and billionaires is glorified? Or is that just reserved for indulgent food for poor people?
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:45 AM on May 12 [23 favorites]


Our son was over the other day (visiting from the driveway while we were on the porch) and somehow we got on the topic of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and he said, "Oh no, Guy Fieri can't go to Flavortown while on lock-down," and I admit that I laughed way too hard at that. I love a bad pun and everyone says Fieri is such a nice man...just the thought of poor, sweet Guy Fieri not being able to go to Flavortown...reduced me to near-hysterical, inappropriate laughter.
posted by cooker girl at 7:16 AM on May 12 [18 favorites]




Ok, same question, but Samin Nosrat?

According to my dad, watching the last scene in the series, "why is she making all her guests eat like that, perched on chairs but with no table??" But if you read her profile in the new yorker, sounds like she might've gotten to fix that.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:10 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Bill Murray And Guy Fieri Are Competing In A Live ‘Nacho-Off’ For Charity This Friday. You can watch it on the Food Network Facebook page, 5pm ET. It's a free livestream, but they are accepting donations to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund .
posted by terooot at 8:25 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


please tell me there isn't anything problematic about Alton Brown?

Makes nasty "jokes" about black people, gay people, and the Chinese. But other than that!


*looks at the Good Eats and other AB cookbooks on their shelf*

Well.. I've barely used these anyway. Good thing recycling is coming today.
posted by curious nu at 9:15 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Michael Twitty is still cool, right?
posted by schroedinger at 9:33 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


I have recently come to realize how awesome Guy Fieri is, and how I was wrong in the past. He really just DGAF.

Also, Samin is wonderful and when I found out (at the end of episode 3) that her current "Home Cooking" podcast was only a four-ep run, I Had A Sad.

Like, the question of whether to save the bean water came down to, "It has farts and flavor in it, it's up to you."

When they had Stella Parks (@bravetart) on she laughed the whole way through: it was so nice to imagine my kitchen with happy people in it, a little flour on their arms, laughing while they did the dishes after a good dinner. Man, I need that now.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:20 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Alton Brown appears to be able to learn to do better, iteratively, on a lot of things I had assumed he never would as a wealthy white southern evangelical (this in particular seems to have changed and been a significant factor in the other changes) man. Nobody owes him forgiveness for what was clearly a rock-bottom personality situation in the past and I doubt there will ever be an extensive public reconciliation, but sometimes people change and he might be one of them.

It is more difficult, on the other hand, to separate Jose Andres' very recent business "whoopsies" with what does appear to be a legitimate charity operation that does good things. The entire chef-restaurateur paradigm needed exactly the torching it is now getting, it'll be interesting to see what that entire business model looks like two years from now.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:35 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


I saw Guy Fieri in the parking lot of Gelson's in Pacific Palisades in 2008 or 2009. He was driving some ridiculous car, my mind wants to say it was a bright yellow convertible muscle car but it may have been a neon green lamborghini. Things are hazy in my memory.

I exited my Trans Am and looked him over, he looked back and I realized that Guy Fieri has kind eyes. There was a twinkle in those eyes, not uncommon in the more comfortable celebrities, that said "yes, it's me, Guy Fieri, I am here just being myself but that's special to some people, possibly you, so go ahead and drink me in, it's all good brother". I knew he was some sort of food guy but not more than that. I nodded at him and smiled and said "nice car," he gave me the finger gun salute and said "right back atcha!" even though my 'am is pretty busted and wasn't any better in those days. "Thank you, have a good one," I inexplicably replied, as if I was a clerk who was sending him on his way after a successful retail transaction.

We were both heading into the Market so I hung back, not wanting to make it awkward since our interaction was concluded and I had nothing else to say to him. As he walked away I saw his signature backwards sunglasses look was in full effect, giving me a 100% authentic Guy Fieri experience.
posted by chaz at 10:49 AM on May 12 [38 favorites]


Christopher Kimball is problematic simply for being his insufferable self.
posted by slogger at 11:17 AM on May 12 [13 favorites]


I'm still allowed to be mad about that huge grocery store (set) full of food that they use to film GGG and that they lightly alluded to donating items, when they needed to. It's like eating an ice cream cone in front of a hot and hungry child. Cruel.
posted by lextex at 11:30 AM on May 12


Guy is a celebrated alumnus at my alma mater UNLV, and this banner hangs in the College of Hotel Administration. I always viewed the banner as a way to troll all the self-interested Finance and Business majors that seemed to already be preoccupied with "the bottom line". But now, I think he was telling us to be kind to each other and have fun. I know I'm reading too much into an alumni banner. But am I?
posted by Become A Silhouette at 12:06 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


I know I'm reading too much into an alumni banner. But am I?

At JWU, for several years Emeril Lagasse's yearbook picture was used to encourage students to get their senior portraits taken, on really big posters.

Emeril's senior picture is about 80% human hair with a little set of standoffish (or are they mischievous?) eyes near the bottom margin; the print was poorly scanned and gleefully scaled up.

It was starkly awesome, and I was disappointed the year I realized spring had arrived without the Emeril Says Get Your Senior Picture Taken posters returning to the intersection of Weybosset Street & Richmond.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:26 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Christopher Kimball is problematic simply for being his insufferable self.

The sadly-no-longer-updating blog Tigers & Strawberries on Christopher Kimball and Cook's Illustrated: The Best Recipe for Culinary Cultural Imperialism
posted by Lexica at 12:37 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed his interview on Hot Ones.
posted by jadepearl at 12:39 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Do you think ultra-expensive small plates with micro greens that are only accessible to million- and billionaires is glorified? Or is that just reserved for indulgent food for poor people?

Well I don't usually watch cooking shows at all and if I did it'd be for an idea for something accessible I could cook at home. I've eaten at places like Manresa and Per Se on the top end and I've eaten at greasy spoons and diners all over, but my preference will always be for hole in the wall ethnic restaurants that serve balanced food you could eat every day without being a triathlete. I don't think that's a classist position. I love falafel drive in in San Jose and his show covered them. It's when he gets meat piled on meat piled with cheese and bacon that I roll my eyes. I don't care if the unsustainability of it all is from grass fed butter and organic microgreens flown in by jet or if it's from commodity beef in amounts humans are not meant to eat in one sitting. We can't sustain that lifestyle either way.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:52 PM on May 12


And nobody poor can afford what those shows are dishing up.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:53 PM on May 12


I'm still allowed to be mad about that huge grocery store (set) full of food that they use to film GGG and that they lightly alluded to donating items, when they needed to.

It sounds like most of it is donated to the local food shelter.
posted by grandiloquiet at 1:18 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


I know people who know him and have kids in the same activities as his and everyone says he's about the nicest person you could ever meet, and he does a ton for the community. His shows aren't for me but I'm happy a genuinely good person has gotten famous and not yet another asshole.
posted by mikesch at 3:48 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


Relatedly, Smash Mouth is a good follow on Twitter. They deliver righteous fuck-offs to the idea of straight pride parades, Neil deGrasse Tyson for well-actuallying mass shootings, and DJ Khaled for being anti-cunnilingus. In perhaps their greatest cause, they also fiercely battle anyone who claims they were only popular because of Shrek.
posted by Beardman at 4:28 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


People will probably complain about him but I love David Chang. Ugly Delicious is amazing and season 2 is worth a watch. The episode about steak is great and I don’t even eat steak. I enjoy a bunch of the buzzfeed things especially the Brad Leone or whatever his name is - the fermentation one. I also enjoy Worth It because it’s just fun.
posted by misterpatrick at 5:11 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Brad Leone is a New Jersey'd accented Golden Retriever given human form and is a fucking delight. He is pure cooking chaos.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:44 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


. I don't believe anyone who hosts reality TV shows can be a good person.

I dunno, Adam Savage seems like a good egg.

P.S. please nobody tell me if Claire Saffitz is problematic she's the only one I have left.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:22 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


Yes, please add Claire Saffitz to the list of non-problematic people please.
posted by schroedinger at 6:44 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


I said TWO Test Kitchens. BA and... AMT. When Kimball bailed to spend more time with his leather suspenders, a new hope arose, and in a very young Editor in Chief who is almost Kenji Good at knowing his stuff, he's just fine with most of the people who were well established an d up-to-the-minute good with cooking, most of them women and a lot of POC as well.

But that BA would give Claire so much leeway and so much support, and that Gabby runs the joint, says good things.

I'm happy to watch 'em both. My only gripe is that Dan needs new and young stars to shine along with the brilliant stars he already has. I'd be devastated if they got rid of Jack or Julia or Bridget, but I think Dan can tread that line.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:14 PM on May 12


The only person in the BA crew that seems like an incipient monster and is already shitty enough by virtue of their day-to-day behavior (on the podcast) is Adam Rapoport. From less awful to more, he's absurdly picky about food in a way that's unbecoming for an editor of a fucking food publication (but then, he came from GQ (lol), so I don't think his current position is a function of his knowledge or experience in the domain of food but in the domain of magazine-making); his pickiness is super-white in how it inevitably targets food traditions that aren't Western European; and he unashamedly steamrolls over any guest of his that's a woman no matter how much more knowledgeable they are than he is, and at minimum they are are much more knowledgeable. It's because of him that I don't bother listening to their podcast anymore except when I know he'll only be doing the introduction, as in the rice episodes.
posted by invitapriore at 9:22 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Rapoport is smart enough to a) hire the BA folks and b) stay out of their way as much as possible. I'll give someone a pass for being a bit of a jerk if they realize and live within the boundaries of their jerkiness, while supporting the people who do deserve the chance and time to shine.
posted by bonehead at 7:16 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


You also have to be okay with that fact that many of the BA personalities clearly come from money. I'm fine with that, and they seem pretty down-to-earth, but I'm sure they have the resultant blindspots that people other than myself may be more attuned to.
posted by Think_Long at 7:54 AM on May 13


The same "paper of record" New York Times that employs the mean girl racist Alison Roman also famously skewered Guy Fieri's restaurant. Coincidence?

Actually, I think that it is possible to be anti-FlavortownRestaurant and pro-Fieri at the same time.

* The restaurant, from what I understand from most reviews and from the eye-witness accounts of the MeFites who famously went there, is kind of a slick and pre-packaged, designed-by-committee kind of thing, where they're not really selling food so much as they're selling image - and it shows. They're looking to make money based on his name and image, and are tempted to cut corners on the food itself and you end up with this pallid gloop just a couple steps above fast food that has been corporately-designed to appeal to the broadest possible range of people in the demographic groups that R&D has identified as most likely to respond to the brand and your eyes are glazing over, aren't you, but that's my point - that if that's the way you think about food, the food's gonna suck.

* Guy Fieri the person, meanwhile, celebrates the little mom-and-pop food shops that care about the food they serve and have passionate followers in their local area. They'll never be as big as the big corporate places, largely because they don't have the advertising budget because for them when it comes to choosing whether to cut corners on food or advertising, they go with cutting corners on advertising because for them, the food is what's important, period. They're the quirky middle-of-nowhere places that are always on the verge of collapse because the price of ground beef is always going up, and they have to keep tightening the belt to cope, but they always end up staying open somehow because "oh my gawwwwwwwd these cheeseburgers are soooooo gooooooood" is the kind of reviews they get from actual customers. And an entire show devoted to them gives them a big shot in the arm and also preserves the quirky, Main-Street, small-business kind of food places that tend to be better anyway.

Maybe his general schtick isn't for everyone, but most of the stuff he's doing with it shows his head's on right. And I am so going to watch that Nacho competition.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


I was only able to capture the end of the nacho contest, and the voting was close - they had to go with a tiebreaker giving it to Team Fieri. apparently his recipe included mac and cheese.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:33 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]




And then she quit "writing" to work as a prep cook and dishwasher on a giant cruise ship. The end.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:28 PM on May 19


For the next time someone wants to “give someone a pass for being a bit of a jerk,” here’s this. A-fucken-plus on that forgiveness game, bro.
posted by invitapriore at 3:17 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


from that buzzfeed article: Last August, she was sent on assignment to Philadelphia, for a feature with three Black chefs, but because the publication "doesn't have a great history of working with Black chefs," the chefs asked to work with all Black staff, El-Waylly said. "There was no one on the food team that was Black, so they sent me instead because I'm the darkest one," she said, adding that neither she nor the chefs were given a heads up about the situation. "I arrived and I wasn't Black, and it was very strange for everyone involved."

Eeeeeeeeeeeek. I mean, eek to a lot of things going on at Bon Appetit, but that one got a literal sympathetic shudder from me.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:07 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


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