LTH Home

In Defense of Guy Fieri

In Defense of Guy Fieri
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 4
  • In Defense of Guy Fieri

    Post #1 - May 2nd, 2014, 12:50 pm
    Post #1 - May 2nd, 2014, 12:50 pm Post #1 - May 2nd, 2014, 12:50 pm
    In Defense of Guy Fieri

    It’s an article of faith among the food cognoscenti: Guy Fieri, he of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and man behind many new and much-maligned restaurants, is a loudmouth overbearing clown, a self-promoting and preening philistine, an ass.

    Image

    Fieri takes a lot of heat, most classically in the piece by Pete Wells in New York Times that last year assessed Fieri’s new Time Square location [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/dining/reviews/restaurant-review-guys-american-kitchen-bar-in-times-square.html?ref=dining&_r=0] with biting commentary-posed-as-questions, including:

    Has anyone ever told you that your high-wattage passion for no-collar American food makes you television’s answer to Calvin Trilling, if Mr. Trillin bleached his hair, drove a Camaro and drank Boozy Creamsicles? When you cruise around the country for your show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” rasping out slangy odes to the unfancy places where Americans like to get down and greasy, do you really mean it?

    In response to the many similar anti-Fieri diatribes that sprang from Wells’ piece, I offer the following defense of Guy Fieri, because there needs to be some balance in this discussion, because I object in principle to the internet pile-on (having been at the bottom of such piles myself), and because I believe, fundamentally, that this guy – however irritating he may be -- has done good for food in the United States.

    • First, in direct response to Wells, there’s no denying that Fieri does indeed popularize “unfancy places,” but that is, of itself, admirable. Big posh $400/meal restaurants get all the publicity they need – it’s the smaller mom n' pops places that need help, that could use some media attention, and Fieri provides that focus on lesser known food zones. Does he “really mean it”? I dunno and I don’t care – and it’s a bad question to begin with because, ultimately, we’ll never know if he or Jacques Pepin or Rick Bayless really mean everything they say, really feel all the excitement they seem to evince. It doesn’t matter. Television is full of actors, even when, like Rahm in “Chicagoland,” they’re playing real life roles.

    • Second, in an age when much headline-grabbing cuisine is out of reach for the average pocket book, Fieri says you can have fun dining on a few bucks. Alinea, Grace and Chicago’s other fantastic restaurants can be mind-bending dining experiences, but if you can’t do the sum, for the price of one meal at those places you can get about 100 meals at most of the local joints that Fieri celebrates on his shows. I’m talking about places like Big and Little’s, Honky Tonk BBQ and Cemitas Puebla, all of whom are proud to feature on their site a video of Fieri’s wild endorsements of their place. If Fieri is to be so roundly despised and discounted, why do these little and undeniably worthy restaurants publicize their connection to the man? The answer is simple: many average eaters, unlike many of us who write endlessly for newspapers and broadcast programs and websites, are actually inspired to try restaurants – usually smaller, borderline obscure, places – because Fieri said he had a good bite there. It’s better for the general health of our restaurant scene that Fieri prompts people to visit Big and Little’s rather than, say, big chains that already have the marketing pull to draw big crowds. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Fieri in his own, sometimes heavy-handed way, levels the playing field, giving the little places some of the attention that might otherwise go to the bigger, better funded places.

    • Third, and perhaps most importantly, Fieri pushes the boundaries of the American palate. Granted, some of his food combinations seem more than just a little off-the-hook, but better that than the same old hot dog and hamburger. Plus, some of the criticism aimed at his menu items is wrong-headed, the writers so blinded by their dislike for the man that they fail to see what he's actually doing. Case in point: week before last, in Jezebel, a reviewer slammed Fieri’s new menu [http://kitchenette.jezebel.com/guy-fieris-las-vegas-menu-is-the-most-absurd-thing-youv-1566395031/+Jessica] pointing to, for instance, dishes like “Greens & Chili Beans,” to which the reviewer slyly remarks “Well, it rhymes. That's why those go together, apparently. Totally logical.” Except it’s not illogical, as the reviewer implies, and those things may very well go together. Broccoli rabe and white beans is a classic Italian dish; the bitter greens and rich beans mesh beautifully. If some civilian eats at Fieri’s, has the Greens and Beans, and is then more likely to try what seems very close to the same thing at some little Italian joint, I’d say that’s a big step toward more adventurous eating, facilitated by Fieri.

    So, yes, Fieri may be obnoxious – no, I’ll admit it, he is, definitely, obnoxious – but the result of his food-goofing may very well make for a richer food culture, where little places can serve fun, reasonably priced food that broadens the culinary perspective of the average guy. And that, to quote the equally maligned Martha Stewart, is a good thing.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:00 pm
    Post #2 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:00 pm Post #2 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:00 pm
    Some of the criticism of him smacks of classist snobbery to me. Why do we laud outlandish food combos at high-end places and criticize them when they show up other places?

    But I think a lot of it is just that he seems really kind of annoying. And he's already rich. You can exercise your critical writing flair by ravaging his restaurants without the kind of guilt incurred when you ravage smaller businesses.
  • Post #3 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:13 pm
    Post #3 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:13 pm Post #3 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:13 pm
    mgmcewen wrote:You can exercise your critical writing flair by ravaging his restaurants without the kind of guilt incurred when you ravage smaller businesses.


    It seems a truism of most critical journalism (whether food, restaurant or movie reviews) that you'll get more laughs with vinegar than honey. I don't know why that is. Is it inherently more humorous to be mean than nice? If you're mean, does it seem you're being more critical? Does being harshly critical suggest a higher level of intellect than someone who simply smiles and enjoys?

    "Kind of annoying"? That'd be hard to argue against.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #4 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:30 pm
    Post #4 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:30 pm Post #4 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:30 pm
    Guy was very nice and accommodating when he was taping at Wiener and Still Champion.
    Guy at Wiener and Still Champion
    Unfortunately, due to Guy's schedule and not being able to film everything they wanted, the episode never aired.
  • Post #5 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:34 pm
    Post #5 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:34 pm Post #5 - May 2nd, 2014, 1:34 pm
    mgmcewen wrote:Some of the criticism of him smacks of classist snobbery to me. Why do we laud outlandish food combos at high-end places and criticize them when they show up other places?

    But I think a lot of it is just that he seems really kind of annoying. And he's already rich. You can exercise your critical writing flair by ravaging his restaurants without the kind of guilt incurred when you ravage smaller businesses.


    I find that it's the guys like Bourdain who have become cheerleaders for high-end chefs and the .01%ers who dabble in Jet Set Food Porn that are the most snarky about Fieri. Fair enough to criticize his food, but DDD has done more to expose more people to good, affordable food than Bourdain could hope to do in 10 lifetimes.

    Compare A Cook's Tour to the nonsense that is shown on CNN now and you'll see the difference.
  • Post #6 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:13 pm
    Post #6 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:13 pm Post #6 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:13 pm
    I have to say, while hearing Guy Fieri talk mostly makes me ill, I do agree that giving media exposure to the restaurants he visits is generally pretty awesome and can sometimes make a big impact in whether or not they survive. I personally love bop 'n grill in Rogers park, and before they were featured on DDD, every single time I visited there were more people inside the chipotle next door. Now that place is bumping constantly and I am glad, because that place will probably become a neighborhood institution, unlike the Evanston location. It's hard to hate on Guy too much while I'm eating my Umami burger with pork belly kimchi cheese fries, knowing that he had a hand in helping that place to survive.
  • Post #7 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:22 pm
    Post #7 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:22 pm Post #7 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:22 pm
    In addition to Big & Little's, Honky Tonk, Cemitas Puebla and Bop n Grill, Guy has featured board favorites such as Smoque, Paradise Pup, Vito & Nick's, Kuma's, Chuck's Southern Comforts, and Irazu, among others.
    I can think of quite a few other food personalities who bother me more than Guy.
  • Post #8 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:24 pm
    Post #8 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:24 pm Post #8 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:24 pm
    Suiname wrote:It's hard to hate on Guy too much while I'm eating my Umami burger with pork belly kimchi cheese fries, knowing that he had a hand in helping that place to survive.


    Which reminds me, by analogy, of one of my favorite medieval Scholastic questions: can a corrupt priest administer an efficacious sacrament? Answer: Yes.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #9 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:40 pm
    Post #9 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:40 pm Post #9 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:40 pm
    HI,

    Having fired cable from the household in the early 90's, I watch cable programs in hotels. I miss a lot of what is going on.

    Many people who are not of our ilk, get quite enthusiastic about trying food seen on DDD. Many of these places are what I like to visit, so it is a jazzed up Jane and Michael Stern.

    Captain Porky's quiet business was transformed from enthusiasm expressed here and eventually picked up by DDD. Once Dino could run it by himself, he now needs a crew.

    DDD and Guy Fieri followed leads from people like us and reached people we would never otherwise reach. It is all good as far as I am concerned.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:53 pm
    Post #10 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:53 pm Post #10 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:53 pm
    This is LTH at its worst - when people defend Guy Fieri, rather than talking about food. :lol:

    h/t: nsxtasy
    "This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn." Bernard DeVoto, The Hour.
  • Post #11 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:59 pm
    Post #11 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:59 pm Post #11 - May 2nd, 2014, 3:59 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Many people who are not of our ilk, get quite enthusiastic about trying food seen on DDD. Many of these places are what I like to visit, so it is a jazzed up Jane and Michael Stern.


    Analogy to the Road Food duo is good -- heck, Fieri even has a cool car (which, according to Nick Kokonas, is actually ferried via trailer to restaurants and set up in front, as though to suggest he drove to the place).

    If a loudmouth clown draws attention to the little, unheralded places that serve good food, then bless the loudmouth clown.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #12 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:13 pm
    Post #12 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:13 pm Post #12 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:13 pm
    Also, watch his Guy's Big Bite show, he's making what looks like very good food most of the time: aggressively flavored, imaginative, and things that your average joe is going to be able to use to expand his palette. Occasionally there's a frightening dish that resembles the parody menu of his Times Square resto, but most of the time it sounds like fun food.

    Now mind you, I'd like a $100K kitchen in my back yard too...

    This show + Sandwich King make a nice pair on Sunday mornings.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #13 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:15 pm
    Post #13 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:15 pm Post #13 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:15 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    it’s the smaller mom n' pops places that need help, that could use some media attention, and Fieri provides that focus on lesser known food zones..


    for this reason alone I dont have any issues with Guy. I rarely watch his shows but overall he doesnt bother me.

    Actually.... I prefer his shtick to the tired, snarky, tortured artist act of many who are in the food game...
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #14 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:21 pm
    Post #14 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:21 pm Post #14 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:21 pm
    jimswside wrote:Actually.... I prefer his shtick to the tired, snarky, tortured artist act of many who are in of the food game...


    As a result of this thread, I'm now looking askance at Bourdain, a guy I've admired for years, but there he is, snide and smug, sitting with Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud in Lyon, over foie and fine wine, and I'm starting to think, and I'm not proud of this, fuck you.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #15 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:32 pm
    Post #15 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:32 pm Post #15 - May 2nd, 2014, 4:32 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    jimswside wrote:Actually.... I prefer his shtick to the tired, snarky, tortured artist act of many who are in of the food game...


    As a result of this thread, I'm now looking askance at Bourdain, a guy I've admired for years, but there he is, snide and smug, sitting with Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud in Lyon, over foie and fine wine, and I'm starting to think, and I'm not proud of this, fuck you.


    That's the way I feel. I have no problem with acknowledging those chefs for their accomplishments, but to then sneer at a guy who showcases basically GNRs throughout the country because he has a weird hairstyle and acts like a goofball is really pathetic.

    And it comes from a guy who basically ran a bog-standard French bistro in midtown NYC for years, doing nothing that hadn't been done for nearly 50 years by better cooks.
  • Post #16 - May 2nd, 2014, 5:10 pm
    Post #16 - May 2nd, 2014, 5:10 pm Post #16 - May 2nd, 2014, 5:10 pm
    I support Guy Fieri.
  • Post #17 - May 2nd, 2014, 5:29 pm
    Post #17 - May 2nd, 2014, 5:29 pm Post #17 - May 2nd, 2014, 5:29 pm
    Love watching DDD

    good eats and good vibes

    screw the haters
  • Post #18 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:11 pm
    Post #18 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:11 pm Post #18 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:11 pm
    So he's a showman, so what.
    He brash, and loud, and perhaps makes DD&D a little too much his persona, but in the end I really don't mind because the show has substance; it's good at what it does which is highlight local talent that deserves a little recognition. Besides he not visiting the French Laundry, if I find a damn good pizza or taco I've been known to mumble to my companions "FUCK that's good!" A little over the top, honest expression never killed anyone.
  • Post #19 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:41 pm
    Post #19 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:41 pm Post #19 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:41 pm
    For people below a certain age Guy Fieri is the norm and the guy from New York dressed in black on black on black with a black beret and a cigarette who swirls wine around before smelling it is some weird leftover from the distant past that just doesn't make any sense like why would anyone care what that person had to say.
  • Post #20 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:41 pm
    Post #20 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:41 pm Post #20 - May 2nd, 2014, 8:41 pm
    I couldn't sum it up better than the rap game's #1 gourmand.
  • Post #21 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:21 pm
    Post #21 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:21 pm Post #21 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:21 pm
    Jefe, that is one very sincere guy in the video. Thanks for posting.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #22 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:27 pm
    Post #22 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:27 pm Post #22 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:27 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Jefe, that is one very sincere guy in the video. Thanks for posting.


    Bronsolino (the fat, Queens-born, Armenian rapper starring in my above linked video) might be giving old Guy a run for his money with his new food show that I could't be more stoked about.
  • Post #23 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:53 pm
    Post #23 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:53 pm Post #23 - May 2nd, 2014, 10:53 pm
    Guy Fieri does not bother me that much. I agree he supports the small off the beaten path places. I too long admired Bourdain but when he started frolicking with T. Nugent and M. Muller, well that's like being sucked into a dou&&e vortex.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #24 - May 3rd, 2014, 9:54 am
    Post #24 - May 3rd, 2014, 9:54 am Post #24 - May 3rd, 2014, 9:54 am
    Good stuff David. When Pete Wells' piece came out, every fine dining foodie groupie praised him as if he saved a village of newborns from a tornado heading its way. I took the opposite side, if NYC is the dining center of America, surely there was a restaurant that deserved some praise? But Wells wanted to become more well known, I didn't know who he was beforehand. While I agreed Guy can be annoying, there's no doubting the good he's done for mom and pop spots. More than most in fact. I agree with Melissa in that it's mostly just the groupies for America's favorite ex-crackhead (Bourdain) that like to do the piling on. They follow in the footsteps of their beloved "foodie" not being able to make a decision for themselves. I'll also throw out there that I randomly met Fieri one night while dining in at the White Palace, he was really chill. Took notes of a few spots I recommended and took down my email in case he had questions. I never heard back and I only watch the show when randomly scrolling thru channels, but I got nothing but respect for what he does. Not going to hate because he's built a brand for himself doing something any of us would love to do.
  • Post #25 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:13 am
    Post #25 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:13 am Post #25 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:13 am
    Da Beef wrote:groupies for America's favorite ex-crackhead (Bourdain) that like to do the piling on.
    I dig Bourdain, but like watching DDD as well, not mutually exclusive in my book.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:19 am
    Post #26 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:19 am Post #26 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:19 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Da Beef wrote:groupies for America's favorite ex-crackhead (Bourdain) that like to do the piling on.
    I dig Bourdain, but like watching DDD as well, not mutually exclusive in my book.


    No, but if you follow Bourdain on twitter or see some of his quotes from magazines there's no doubting he's Fieri's number one critic and seeing as how he has his own show I'm not sure why he even bothers, but he does. My personal opinion is that it's gotten old. I like the shot Fieri threw Bourdain's way during his NYC roast.

    "Anthony, I gotta ask a question, why do you hate me so much brother? ... Is it because you went to a fancy culinary school and I didn’t? I hear you’re the only one in class who did most of his cooking with a spoon and a Bic lighter." - Guy Fieri
  • Post #27 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:25 am
    Post #27 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:25 am Post #27 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:25 am
    Da Beef wrote:No, but if you follow Bourdain on twitter or see some of his quotes from magazines
    Not much for twitter, and the only magazines I read are Garden & Gun and Cooks Illustrated. I simply view Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri independently and like both Bourdain's tv shows and Fieri's DDD.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #28 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:43 am
    Post #28 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:43 am Post #28 - May 3rd, 2014, 10:43 am
    Like many of us who post on this forum (myself included), Guy Fieri can be completely obnoxious and annoying at times but also provides excellent information.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #29 - May 3rd, 2014, 6:48 pm
    Post #29 - May 3rd, 2014, 6:48 pm Post #29 - May 3rd, 2014, 6:48 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    Da Beef wrote:groupies for America's favorite ex-crackhead (Bourdain) that like to do the piling on.
    I dig Bourdain, but like watching DDD as well, not mutually exclusive in my book.


    Definitely not mutually exclusive. Bourdain is a more thoughtful commentator, and he usually goes beyond what's on the plate to talk about the surrounding culture and traditions. -- which I don't think one can reasonably expect from Fieri.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #30 - May 3rd, 2014, 11:14 pm
    Post #30 - May 3rd, 2014, 11:14 pm Post #30 - May 3rd, 2014, 11:14 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:
    Da Beef wrote:groupies for America's favorite ex-crackhead (Bourdain) that like to do the piling on.
    I dig Bourdain, but like watching DDD as well, not mutually exclusive in my book.


    Definitely not mutually exclusive. Bourdain is a more thoughtful commentator, and he usually goes beyond what's on the plate to talk about the surrounding culture and traditions. -- which I don't think one can reasonably expect from Fieri.


    Never said mutually exclusive or that Guy was a better host. I just said that most of Guy's critics are big fans of Bourdain who in return is Fieri's biggest critic, it's the piling on effect you mentioned. All you have to do is google "Bourdain Fieri" and you'll see every result is something Bourdain said in an interview about Fieri. Being a smart ass is part of his shtick*. Can people be fans of both? Of course, I am to an extent in that I'll watch either of their shows if they're on.

    *Yes it's an act, I highly doubt when they cross paths he's a jack ass towards him.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more