Guy Fieri is a legend of the culinary world, bringing his big personality and cooking prowess to everything he does. Everyone who's even mildly interested in cooking, or who doesn't live under a rock for that matter, knows who this celebrity chef is and likely has an opinion about him. Few chefs incite such strong reactions by simply being themselves, but Guy Fieri is just that, and he doesn't filter his loud personality for anyone. For better or worse, most people think they have Guy Fieri all figured out, but this famous restaurateur might surprise you if you look further into what makes him who he is today.
Guy Fieri's Culinary Career Started With a Pretzel Cart
From the very start, Guy Fieri was never one to let practicalities like money stop him. The future celebrity chef dreamt of traveling abroad from a young age, and he accomplished this dream by selling pretzels from a bicycle cart he built at age 10 with his dad, called "The Awesome Pretzel." This pretzel cart was his first culinary business, but it was also the means to an end. In high school, the young Fieri realized his dream by studying abroad in Chantilly, France, a trip that was funded by his savings from his DIY pretzel cart.
This trip to France turned out to be far more than just a high school adventure- it was the moment in his life that ignited his passion for food and cooking. After returning to the US, he studied Hospitality Management at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and continued to follow his culinary dreams until they became bigger than he had ever imagined. After graduating in 1990, Fieri went into the restaurant business, working as a manager at Parker's Lighthouse, a restaurant in California. He eventually went on to manage Louise's Trattoria as well.
The celebrity chef didn't just accomplish his dreams in the world of restaurants; he also met the love of his life. In 1992, Fieri met his future wife Lori, who was at a restaurant he managed in Long Beach, California. Lori was there to support a friend who had just been fired. Despite this rocky first meeting, the two fell in love and then tied the knot in 1995.
Guy Fieri's Restaurant Empire Begins to Boom
In 1996, Fieri's restaurateur career began to take off when he and his business partner Steve Gruber opened their restaurant Johnny Garlic's, which started in Santa Rosa, California. They eventually also opened Tex Wasabi's, a barbecue and sushi restaurant.
Fieri's fame continued to grow as he opened more restaurants throughout the 1990's and 2000's, further establishing himself as a name in the food industry. Another turning point came in 2006 when he won the second season of Food Network show The Next Food Network Star, giving him license to have his own six-episode cooking show. This was how Guy's Big Bite was started, a highly successful show that was aired for another ten years.
Fieri's natural charm in front of the camera made him an instant hit on TV, and he went on to host Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2007, for which he traveled the country finding little-known but delicious eateries. Fieri has hosted a number of shows since these early successes, like Ultimate Recipe Showdown, Guy Off the Hook, Guy's Family Feast, and Guy's Grocery Games.
At this point, Fieri's fame and success is second to almost none. An average of 73 million viewers watch at least one of his shows quarterly, he's involved in over 85 restaurants around the world, and he's published multiple books based off of his TV shows and knowledge in the kitchen.
Guy Fieri's Side Gig As a Wedding Officiant
Along with having a penchant for roadside diners and frosted tips, Guy Fieri has a secret up his sleeve- he officiates gay weddings. As random as this might seem, Fieri has a very personal reason for it. His late openly-lesbian sister, Morgan Fieri, died in 2011 of melanoma. The food celebrity took the loss hard, as he and his sister were incredibly close. As a tribute, Fieri decided to officiate 101 gay weddings in Miami Beach in February 2015.
Along with being an act to honor his late sister, Fieri took this opportunity to show his support for gay marriage. The Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at the time openly opposed gay marriage, and Fieri decided to liken her to the villain Cruella De Vil by officiating exactly 101 gay weddings. Although the celebrity chef had heartfelt intentions behind this act, he characteristically made the moment lighthearted as well by wearing a bright purple tuxedo.
This tribute to his sister changed many people's opinion of Fieri, as it showed a personal side of the cooking legend that isn't always apparent when he's sampling food and hosting TV shows. It also led him to officiate the wedding of actress Kristen Stewart, who heard about his 101 weddings and posted a video asking Fieri if he would be willing to officiate hers. She then went on the Today show, only to receive a surprise video of Fieri addressed to her, saying that he would be "all in" to officiate her wedding.
What's Guy Fieri Up To Now?
In 2019, the TV personality was added to The Hollywood Walk of Fame, making him the third chef in history to have the honor. Then, in 2020, he used his success for good, raising over $25 million for food workers left jobless by the effects of Covid-19. This charitable act was only a continuation of his extensive philanthropy, which has taken the form of feeding wildfire evacuees in Northern California, participating in the Make a Wish Foundation, and involvement with Best Buddies.
In spring 2021, Fieri signed a three-year contract with Food Network for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy's Grocery Games. The contract is worth around an estimated $80 million, making him the best-paid chef on TV. Fieri currently lives in Santa Rosa, California with his wife Lori Fieri and their sons, Hunter and Ryder and their nephew Jules. We can't wait to see what this unstoppable TV chef does next!
This post was originally published on April 27, 2022.