The Forgotten Failures Of Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri is one of television's most beloved celebrity chefs. He is also one of the most hated. Fieri is known for his boisterous personality, backward sunglasses, and bleach-blond frosted tips. A controversial figure in the world of food television, Fieri has undeniably become a huge success. He has hosted numerous TV shows on the Food Network, including the wildly popular "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," which premiered in 2006 and is currently on its 48th season. Other shows he has hosted include "Guy's Grocery Games" and "Guy's Big Bite." He also owns more than a dozen restaurants across the nation and even has his own winery. Despite his many successes, Fieri's vibrant career is peppered with several ugly and obscure failures.

As a polarizing figure, the chef has been accused of workplace misconduct that included some serious allegations of homophobic and antisemitic comments. He has reportedly gotten into at least one physical altercation. His neighbors say they find him so boisterous and loud that they joined together to turn out in force at a county public hearing to prevent him from opening a wine-tasting room. One of his restaurants earned such scathing reviews that the business never truly recovered.

While Fieri's many triumphs may be what he is known for, his lesser-known setbacks are still out there, waiting to be revived. We have taken a deep dive into Fieri's past, providing a clearer picture of some of his forgotten failures.

He's been accused of homophobic and antisemitic comments

It turns out that Guy Fieri can be, well, challenging to work with. In 2011, David Page, a former producer and the creator of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," sued the Food Network, which countered with its own suit alleging that Page created an unbearable work environment. Among the allegations were issues with Fieri, the show's host. According to Page, Fieri allegedly made homophobic and antisemitic comments during filming.

Page recalled one instance, according to a 2011 interview with City Pages in Minneapolis, when Fieri made inappropriate comments. "Guy had decided that the two men running the restaurant were life partners," Page said. "He said, 'You can't send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out!' " In another instance, Page recalled a disagreement over materials for one of Fieri's books based on the show. Page told City Pages: "[Fieri's team] were demanding tremendous research from my people, and pictures, but they didn't want to pay for them ... Guy said to me: 'You know, it's true: Jews are cheap.' " Definitely not an okay thing to say. 

However, it seems like Fieri's views have evolved, at least a bit. In 2015, the Food Network star officiated 101 weddings in Miami after the state of Florida lifted its ban on same-sex marriages. In an event organized by celebrity chef Art Smith, Fieri and several others helped out, with Fiery presiding over a group ceremony for same-sex couples.

His Times Square restaurant failed big time

One of Guy Fieri's biggest failures is his former Times Square restaurant, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, which opened in 2012. The restaurant was arguably doomed from the beginning, with negative reviews and bad press. Perhaps the biggest blow to the restaurant's reputation came just two months after its opening in the form of a New York Times review about the experience being so terrible that the article went viral.

Food critic Pete Wells started out with a question: "Guy Fieri, have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square?" and finished it with: "Oh, and we never got our Vegas fries; would you mind telling the kitchen that we don't need them? Thanks." In an interview with Today several days later, Fieri simply said of the review: "I thought it was ridiculous, that to me was so overboard."

Another ardent hater of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar was Fieri's unofficial nemesis, Anthony Bourdain. In a radio interview on The Opie & Anthony Show, the late chef said, "All of these poor bastards, they see him eating cheap food on TV, they go in there, it's like $18 for a f****ing hamburger?" Bourdain also referred to Fieri's restaurant as a "terror dome." Yet between 2014 and 2017, the eatery made the annual Top 100 Independents ranking by Restaurant Business with an estimated $17 million in annual sales. But by the end of 2017, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar announced it was closing.

The times he seemed rude to chefs on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

It's no secret that Guy Fieri doesn't always like the food that he eats on his hit show, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." However, there are times when he isn't just unamazed; in several instances, Fieri is straight-up rude to the chefs he features on his show.

In a 2009 episode, Fieri visited Green Mesquite in Austin, Texas. When Fieri and chef Tom Davis were cooking chicken fried steak together, Fieri pointed out that Davis had incorrectly dipped the steak in the egg mixture before the flour and seasonings. Davis quipped, "Everybody says that," to which Fieri responded, "Yeah, I mean, who cares about those culinary procedures and processes." On top of that, when Davis shook out his basket from the deep fryer, Fieri stepped back, saying, "You're gonna shake-shake-shake me into the E.R." Obviously, these two chefs were not destined to be best friends. At the same time, Fieri is the host of a television show, so isn't it kind of his job to be polite to the chefs at the restaurants he visits?

He got into a fight with his hairdresser

It turns out that Guy Fieri is fiery in more ways than one. Based on a few seconds caught on video, it appears that the chef can get physical at times. The video published by TMZ in 2013 shows Fieri in the front passenger seat of a vehicle allegedly struggling with his hairdresser, Ariel Ramirez. In the video, Ramirez looks like he is punching Fieri through the open door of a car while he is screaming profanities at the chef. Fieri, in turn, could be seen kicking Ramirez away with his feet. According to TMZ, Fieri had forced Ramirez out of the SUV. After Fieri successfully gets Ramirez away from the car, he slams the door shut. Reportedly, Fieri's manager had to take Ramirez home in a cab after the incident. 

According to sources, the fight wasn't about anything in particular. One source representing Fieri told TMZ, "A bunch of guys were messing around. Things got a little out of hand, but they're all good now." All's well that ends well –- but you might not want to get on Fieri's bad side, just in case.

He took his feud with Anthony Bourdain too far

It's no secret that the late Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri were not each other's biggest fans. In fact, the two celebrity chefs constantly took jabs at each other. Bourdain told TV Guide in 2011, "I look at Guy Fieri and I just think, 'Jesus, I'm glad that's not me.' " A 2015 article in Atlanta Magazine covered Bourdain's standup show, "Close to the Bone," where Bourdain told the crowd, "[Fieri]'s 52 years old and still rolling around in the flame outfit . . . How does Guy Fieri de-douche?" Fieri responded, telling GQ, "I don't like him making fun of people, and I don't like him talking s***. And he's never talked s*** to my face."

However, it was Fieri who may have taken the feud too far. At a 2012 "Roast of Anthony Bourdain," Fieri took full advantage of the opportunity to make a few jokes at his nemesis' expense. Fieri said, "Anthony ... 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," according to Grub Street. This joke, which blatantly makes fun of the fact that Bourdain was a recovering drug addict, takes what might have been all fun and games (and maybe some arguably valid criticism) far over the line of acceptable behavior.

His neighbors don't like him

Anthony Bourdain wasn't the only person to dislike Guy Fieri. His neighbors in California also had a lot to say. When Fieri wanted to open up a wine-tasting room at his Sonoma Valley vineyard (called Hunt & Ryde after his two sons, Hunter and Ryder), his neighbors were deeply unhappy. When the county held a public hearing, more than 100 people showed up to protest Fieri's proposed tasting room, with some carrying placards that read "Keep Willowside Safe & Quiet: No to Guy Fieri," according to the 2015 GQ story reporting on the effort. There were noise studies done, DUI arrest trends analyzed, and more meetings held over the wine-tasting room. And why do all of his neighbors hate him so much, you ask?

He is too loud, neighbors say. While some people insist that Fieri is not as obnoxious as he seems, his neighbors obviously don't agree. Comments from neighbor Judy Trembock were entered into the public record at the hearing: "The applicant has thought of everything except a place for his noise," (via GQ). Another neighbor, named Toni Kovatch-Mercer, said, "My family lived across the street from the applicant's residence. Guests would be loud, leave trash, and trample landscaping. All we could do was sell and move." Needless to say, Fieri failed to get approval to open his wine-tasting room. Or is the bigger failure the fact that he is surrounded by neighbors who don't like him?

He was terrible to work with

Guy Fieri is disliked by some neighbors and some fellow chefs, and it turns out that he is also disliked by some of his co-workers. According to TV producer David Page, who made many vitriolic statements relating to Fieri while the Food Network's lawsuit against him was pending, Fieri was impossible to work with. Page alleged Fieri treated women poorly and had a vulgar sense of humor. According to the 2011 story in City Pages, Page said of Fieri, "When cutting the show, you had to tell the editors to watch Guy's eye line, because it's always on breasts." That's not exactly an appropriate way to act around female coworkers. On a similar note, Fieri's sense of humor was allegedly sexual and inappropriate in nature, such as when, according to Page, "Anytime any woman mentioned 'cream,' Guy went into a sexual riff."

On top of that, an anonymous source who worked on Fieri's show spoke to Chowhound (via Nicki Swift) about his workplace behavior. The source alleged, "Fieri had ridiculous requests at all hours of the day. He knew most of us lived in Central Time, but he would regularly make requests after 11 p.m. ... I don't think anyone actually liked him." His alleged vanity also got in the way, as, according to the source, "He would have shoots rescheduled around getting his hair done." This inappropriate workplace behavior, if true, shows that Fieri could be impossible to work with.

He lost a custody dispute for his nephew

This example is more of a sad failure than a salacious story, but it is a failure nonetheless. Tragedy struck the Fieri family in 2011 when Guy Fieri's sister, Morgan, died of cancer. Following this, the "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" chef decided to spring to action and attempted to help his parents gain custody of his then-11-year-old nephew, Jules. According to the petition for custody, which was filed by the boy's grandparents, they did not believe the child's father, Dain Pape, should have been granted custody. The petition stated that Pape was living in a motor home and had no income to support Jules. The petition sought to give custody to the child's grandparents.

However, the judge presiding over the case sided with the father, giving Pape full custody. At the time, Jules was on vacation with Fieri at a remote area in Northern California with no cell service, making the whole ordeal more complicated. In any case, the boy was eventually returned to his father. Luckily for the whole family, Fieri and Jules still have a close relationship today, as Jules often appears in the celebrity chef's social media posts.

One of his first post-DDD shows was a total failure

"Guy Off the Hook" was one of Guy Fieri's first post-Triple D Food Network projects. It followed on the heels "Guy's Big Bite," which aired for 19 seasons and finished in 2016. "Guy Off the Hook" did not garner quite as much success — in fact, the show was a huge flop, ending in 2008 after only six episodes. The show, which was filmed in front of a live studio audience, was modeled after similar programs like Paula Deen's "Paula's Party" and Emeril Lagasse's "Emeril Live." These shows were wildly successful –- so why was "Guy Off the Hook" such a big failure?

In a changing television landscape, so-called "dump and stir" cooking shows simply weren't getting the ratings that competition shows like Bobby Flay's "Throwdown" were racking up. Even "Emeril Live," which had some gems from Lagasse's early TV career, was canceled during this period. It was a dramatic shift for the Food Network, which was desperately trying to regain some of its viewership that had shifted to other reality TV shows on channels like TLC and the Travel Channel. With all of that in mind, it makes sense that a show like "Guy Off The Hook" couldn't make it off the ground. This is especially true because, at the time, Fieri wasn't much of a celebrity; he had won the "Next Food Network Star" two years prior, and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" hadn't been created yet.

One pizzeria blamed Guy Fieri for a Super Bowl fail

Guy Fieri's Las Vegas Super Bowl tailgate party is now famous, if not infamous. As the chef told Las Vegas Weekly of his 2024 Super Bowl blowout, "15,000 people are going to get a rockin' party with awesome entertainment, booze and food. I'm doing this Vegas-style." The party was catered by 25 different pop-up restaurants, sponsored by Pepsi, and had entertainment provided by country singer Dustin Lynch, Flavor Flav, and Diplo. The party, which was free for attendees, attracted a number of celebrities, including Eli Manning and Gordon Ramsay.

Not everyone was pleased with how the event turned out, however. One vendor alleged they were misled by Fieri about what they should have expected at the party. Yukon Pizza, a local Las Vegas pizzeria, took to Facebook (via Yahoo) to call the event a "bust" and said, "We are disappointed in Guy Fieri." The restaurant said that it "sold 10% of the sandwiches that we were told to prepare for this event." Yukon Pizza cited the free food that was also being offered to guests as the culprit, saying, "Turns out, when major corporate sponsors offer up mountains of free food inside the tailgate, no one wants to buy food from the local vendors." Many attendees munched on Guy's Trash Can Nachos for free at the event. This, on top of the 25 vendors that were also selling food, turned out to be just too much.