Respect The Frosted Tips: Why Guy Fieri Is The Best Host In Food TV

The Mayor of Flavortown, Guy Fieri first stepped onto the scene after winning the second season of "The Next Food Network Star," earning a six-episode commitment for his own cooking show on Food Network. What followed is an empire that now includes hosting 14 different food shows, most notably his long-running "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," and arguably his true magnum opus, "Guy's Grocery Games." Back in May, Fieri signed an $80 million deal with the Food Network that made him the highest-paid chef on cable TV. Fieri is also Discovery Network's top-paid host, bringing in over $230 million in ad revenue to the Food Network in 2020.

I grew up in the Midwest, which means I have a PhD in Lifetime movies, home renovation/purchasing/flipping shows, and everything on Food Network, earned purely by the osmosis of spending time on the couch with my mom. At this point my brain could be used like an AI bot to write the script of an episode of "Guy's Grocery Games" or three — complete with at least two different ways to trick hopefully one of the contestants into going on with the charade long enough to realize that like Guy, I also hid the "3-2-1-Go!" countdown in the middle of a sentence. 

But Fieri's antics of driving hot rods, telling dad jokes, and dressing like a human flame decal have turned him into a culinary punching bag, something that he has never deserved, but which proves the point of exactly why Fieri is the best host in food TV.

Taking the Elitism Out of Food

Celebrity chefs like the now-TikTok villain Bobby Flay and the "BAM!" man Emeril Lagasse helped make the Food Network what it is today, but the early years of Food Network drip in culinary elitism, and their attempt to relate to home cooking came in the form of butter queen racist Paula Deen. Food Network needed a hero, and they got one in the form of Guy Fieri. His first show, "Guy's Big Bite" was a traditional cooking show, but focused on adventurous food fusions like Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls or Mojito Chicken. Many food critics called him "cheap," and even more disliked his styling and personality, but America loved him. That love led to one of his and Food Network's flagship series, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives."

Guy Fieri drives around the country shining a spotlight on the best restaurants and eateries in America — the ones that locals recommend to outside visitors and ones that are frequently the highlight of their communities. Guy isn't in the business of hoity-toity eating, prioritizing accessible menus, adventurous fusions, classic American comfort food, and family recipes from international cultures. "I highlight. I recognize. I do not critique,'" Fieri told The Hollywood Reporter back in April. "If I don't like the food, you won't see it on my shows. Who wants to watch something called 'It Sucks: Don't Come to This F***ing Place?'" Unlike shows like "Bar Rescue" that frequently kill the businesses they claim to be trying to help, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" skyrockets eateries to all-time success.

The Addictive Competition of Guy's Grocery Games

Now in its 28th season, arguably Guy Fieri's greatest contribution is the "Chopped" meets "Supermarket Sweep" cooking competition "Guy's Grocery Games." Celebrity chefs, as well as independent chefs from all across America, enter Flavortown Market (a 15,000 square foot supermarket TV set) to compete in ridiculous cooking challenges only utilizing ingredients that can be found in the market, and tackling obstacles that are translatable to those watching at home. Who among us, pray tell, has not been tasked with coming up with a meal to feed a family with only $12 in our pocket? Probably the elitist snobs that look down upon "Guy's Grocery Games," that's who.

Other competition shows like "Iron Chef" or "Chopped" showcase some of the best chefs in the world creating works of culinary masterpieces that most of us will never be able to afford to taste in our lifetimes. "Guy's Grocery Games" shows how to turn Lay's potato chips and bottled spices into a high-class crust on tilapia. The series is a celebration of food in all of its forms, and from all walks of life.

As /Film's own Jacob Hall said as he binged the series at the start of the quarantine:

This is a show that showcases female chefs, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ folks, all of whom compete on equal footing with everyone else. The show never pats itself on the back -– it just lets this diversity exist alongside everyone and everything else. For a series that feels so clearly aimed at mainstream tastes, it feels like a low-key statement of purpose.

Hungry for Humanitarian Efforts

I don't know if you know this, but Guy Fieri is one hell of a good guy. When the food service industry was rocked by the pandemic closures, Fieri raised over $25 million for food workers left without a job. Whenever a natural disaster hits like a wildfire or a flood, Fieri is notorious for showing up unannounced and cooking for displaced families and frontline workers. The unused food of Flavortown Market is donated to local food banks so nothing on set goes to waste, and food scraps from the cooking challenges are donated to a local farm to make animal feed. He donates roughly $350,000 in unused food each year.

He has his own Guy Fieri Foundation to assist children and first responders in disaster relief, and modified both "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" and "Guy's Grocery Games" for remote and socially distanced recordings for new episodes, knowing the importance of national television spotlight on small businesses and independent chefs. He's the undisputed king of food philanthropy, but his humanitarian efforts aren't exclusive to food. In 2015, he officiated 101 gay weddings in Florida honor of his late sister, Morgan, with celebrity chefs catering the meals and Duff Goldman of "Ace of Cakes" providing the wedding cake.

Guy Fieri is such a good dude that someone started a petition to rename his hometown of Columbus, Ohio to "Flavortown," noting that Fieri has done more for society than the genocidal a-hole that was Christopher Columbus. As of publication, the petition has over 131,000 signatures.

Guy Fieri is the Best Food Host on TV. Sorry, Not Sorry.

Guy Fieri's hosting skills come from his relatability. He's the guy at the bar who starts talking to you about whatever it is on the TV, and manages to be the most charming and personable person there. Sure, he's super loud about it because he's in a bar, but he's going to make sure you have a good night out and are given the attention from the bartender you deserve. Guy Fieri is that weirdly-dressed dad who comes to all of his kids' sporting events with a full cooler of Gatorade, and is the first one to cheer for the weak link on the team — yes, even before that kid's own parents. Guy Fieri is the personification of middle-aged men yelling "Here comes trouble" when entering a room, and the best part of it all is that he owns it and leans into it.

Guy loves to share memes people make of him, and frequently jokes about his own appearance on his shows. He made a solid punchline on an episode of "Guy's Grocery Games" and followed it up with "the bleach hasn't hit me yet!" Okay, yeah, he calls everyone "brother" like Hulk Hogan with the same self-awareness as a white mom calling something "lit," but in a weird way, it adds to his charm. If more people could be like Guy Fieri and take care of their communities and own the authenticity of their weird personalities, the world would be a much better place.

Shout out to stand-up comedian Sean Torres who started the wave of Guy Fieri defending back in 2017 on an episode of "Conan."