The untold truth of Guy Fieri

When it comes to the stars of the Food Network, Guy Fieri is the one that's hugely polarizing. Either you love him or hate him, but fortunately for him, there seems to be more people who love him. 

Fieri got his start after winning Food Network Star in 2006, and his following rise to fame was meteoric. There was Guy's Big Bite, and of course, the massive hit that is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, along with a handful of other shows and projects. On May 22, 2019, he became only the third celebrity chef to land a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (The other two are Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck, because we know you wanted to know.)

And he's kept modest through it all, telling Variety, "I'm not a TV person. I was never groomed for this — I think what people get is that I am the same guy; I'm just being Guy."

His down-to-earth and over-the-top enthusiasm is what keeps his fans tuning in year after year. And even though you've seen so much of him, there's still some things you just don't know about him.

Guy Fieri's career started with pretzels

Part of what makes Guy Fieri's fans love him is that he's out and about in their own neighborhoods, talking to the people running everyone's favorite mom-and-pop shops. And he gets it — he started small himself, and one of his first food-related gigs was selling soft pretzels out of a cart his dad helped him build. 

He told Eater that a family ski trip to Tahoe when he was 10 turned into something life-changing. He spent his entire allowance on a Bavarian pretzel, fell in love with the flavors, and it wasn't long before he was in the snack cart biz using a cart his dad helped him build. He did so well at selling pretzels that he used his savings to finance a trip to study in France, and that's not the end of the story. 

Years later, Fieri and his charity, The Guy Fieri Foundation, funded The Pretzel Cart Project, which gave various children's' organizations their very own pretzel cart to help them raise valuable funds, and to teach them the principles of business, cooking, safety, and show them that they could step outside the box to do some pretty cool things.

Guy Fieri definitely wasn't raised on the food he cooks

Guy Fieri might be best associated with heart-stopping diner dinners that are as fat- and calorie-filled as they are decadent and delicious, but he definitely wasn't raised that way. Fieri has said (via Eater) that when he was younger, parents Jim and Penelope hadn't allowed him some of the staples of childhood. There was no bologna and no white bread, but there was a lot of steamed fish and brown rice. 

Fieri told Parade that his parents were "a bit earthy," and were huge fans of the macrobiotic diet. According to the BBC, that's a diet created by a Japanese philosopher who wanted to develop a way of eating that focused on the "yin and yang energy" of food. Think whole grains, fruits and veggies, and beans, specifically, whatever is in season. 

And he wasn't a fan. He says that after a lot of complaining, his frustrated mother finally told him that if he didn't like her cooking, then he could cook. He stopped by the local butcher on his way home from school, cooked the family up some steaks, and they loved it. That wasn't the best part, though — there was a rule that whoever cooked didn't have to do the dishes, and Fieri says "That's when the bell went off — ding, ding, ding!"

No, Guy Fieri isn't always thrilled with what he eats on Triple D

Guy Fieri goes to a ton of places and tastes a lot of dishes just on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and while it might seem like he has some glowing reviews to give to all the chefs who open up their kitchens to him, he's admitted that he's not always a superfan of what he's eating. He was on the podcast of producer and filmmaker Brian Koppleman (via Eater) when he admitted that sometimes he has to say, "Don't be offended, I don't like every song that's on the Rolling Stones album. There's ones that you like."

He says that he'll give advice if someone asks for it, but adds, "I'm not there to tell them how to change their restaurant — that's not my job." But he'll cook with them if they ask for input, and that's pretty awesome. "... I always want to offer advice to them if I can, and help them out." 

But just because he doesn't love something, that doesn't mean he doesn't like it. He also told the Tampa Bay Times, "... if I don't like it, you don't see it. That's just flat out." So there's a bit of consolation to anyone who doesn't get quite the enthusiastic response that others might.

The hair wasn't Guy Fieri's idea

If there's anything about Guy Fieri that might make even the most non-judgemental person shake their head, it's the hair. It looks shockingly out of place anywhere that's not a California beach in 1996, but haters should cut him some slack, because at least it wasn't his idea. 

When Fieri first met his wife in 1992, he looked pretty different. She told People, "... he had no goatee. He had dark hair. He wore a suit to work every day. Now I look at him and I'm like, 'Where's that man I married with the whole clean look?'"

So how, exactly, did that happen? According to Fieri, he was in "one of those moods one day," and he went to see his hairdresser/friend Christina Jones. He told her to do whatever she wanted, and she did that. He remembers asking her if she was going to wash out "that shampoo," and being horrified when she informed him that was his new hair color. 

Now, he's unlikely to give it up. He told CBS News, "It's just how I like to flow. I wear baseball caps a lot. There's been quite a few conversations between me and my wife; she'd like to see my hair brown again. ... I know people want there to be more sensationalism behind the look, but there's no design. Trust me."

The story behind Guy Fieri's red Camaro

Fans might argue that there are two stars of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives — Fieri and that red 1968 Camaro. It's impossible to imagine the show without it, but it wasn't always there. When they debuted the show, Guy Fieri had a bunch of different cars. It wasn't until they got picked up for more episodes that they asked him what car he wanted as his trademark ride, and he chose the 1967 Camaro he'd driven in the segment set in Boston. What he ended up with was a '68, and when it came time to rebuild the engine, he says he opted not to rebuild it, but replace it with a ZZ502 crate engine that backed up the image with real power. 

And there's actually a practical reason it's a convertible: the big cameras won't fit inside a Camaro coupe. 

But, fans might be disappointed to know there's a little Triple D deception going on, says People. When they shadowed Fieri for a few days of filming, they found that he doesn't actually drive it when they're shooting. The car — worth around $100,000 — is trailered to each location, has a crew member who's as dedicated to it as if it was a living, breathing cast member, and Fieri? He just opens and closes the door.

Guy Fieri ignores the hate

Of all the Food Network chefs, it's Guy Fieri that gets a ton of criticism. The people that make fun of him and deride his restaurants are very vocal, so how does he deal with all of that? He chooses not to dwell on it. He told Parade, "If someone has a concern with what I eat, or how I dress, brother, take all that energy and go focus on something for yourself. ... I'm not going to make everybody happy. And anybody who wants to hate is going to hate. You have to be confident in who you are and what you're doing."

And in today's age of social media and people who have nothing good to say about anyone, it's a brilliant attitude to have. He told People, "Anybody who pays attention to the hate really is wasting their time. I don't subscribe. I don't buy in. .... If you're just some loser that sits there and hammers away on some blog form or whatever, I don't have time for that. Why even worry about it?" 

Fieri has consistently taken the high road, refusing to hit back at personalities like Anthony Bourdain and New York Times critic Pete Wells. His is a philosophy that everyone can learn from: "... I get down with the positive, I don't pay attention to the negative."

The foods Guy Fieri refuses to eat

People got the chance to shadow Guy Fieri when he was filming Triple D, and learned some surprising things. There are the things that he always eats — specifically, he starts every day with a fruit-and-veggie juice made with the juicer that's an integral part of their gear — and there are the things he will never, ever eat. 

On that list? Liver and eggs. Fieri says the former is right out, and while he'll eat the latter if they're hidden in something else — like a dressing — he's absolutely not cool with seeing them on his plate in a more traditional form. Fortunately for him, it's easy for him to avoid these particular dislikes. All the dishes he samples on Triple D are ones that he's chosen well in advance. He says that sometimes it's a weird ingredient or preparation method that catches his eye, but he knows months ahead of time what he's going to be eating at each location. Given how many dishes might include an egg in its natural form, that's probably for the best.

Guy Fieri's favorite places for atmosphere and food

Guy Fieri has been all over, so he's got plenty of places to choose from when it comes to his favorite spots to visit and to eat. So, what places hold a special place in his heart?

He told the Tampa Bay Times that he has a special love for Florida, partially because of the weather, partially because of the water, and mostly because the mix of cultures — particularly the Cuban influence that has shaped much of the state. And Cuba is one of his other special places. 

"Food's great, people are endearing, the countryside is beautiful. The arts and the celebration of family is huge. I would go once a month if I could. ... So yeah, it's one of my favorite visits I've ever had." 

But Fieri says that when it comes to living the dream, his dream would be to live in Mexico. He owns property there, and he told Parade that the conversation about heading down there happens every so often, until his wife points out he has too much going on. The future? "... the end game for me would be living on the beach. The days I want to cook, I'd open my restaurant, put a flag out in the sand, and cook whatever was fresh. I love to cook for people. It's my honor, honestly. It's what I have to give."

Guy Fieri's wife was an angry customer at his restaurant

Guy Fieri is living the good life with his wife, Lori, and their sons — at least, when he's not busy with his seemingly endless list of projects. He told Delish the story of how they met, and it just goes to show you should never underestimate the connection you might have with the stranger who's yelling at you. 

Fieri was running a restaurant in Long Beach when he had to fire one of his employees. That employee came back to the restaurant, and when Fieri went out to diffuse the situation, well...

"I was ... saying, 'Hey, listen, wait a few weeks before you come in,' and standing behind her is this blue-eyed blonde girl giving me this mean mug. ... She said, 'You can't make us leave,' and I was like, 'You don't have to.' ... I knew as soon as I saw her. I just knew."

They were married in 1995, and he still credits her with supporting him along the wild ride that started with a Food Network reality TV show and only escalated from there.

Guy Fieri was very close to his sister before her untimely passing

According to Parade, family time is the time that means the most to Guy Fieri. It always has, and it's only become more important after the tragic death of his little sister, Morgan, in 2011. Fieri told them, "It was a big reminder that life is fragile and not to be taken for granted. ... That she could get melanoma and die within a year — I've always been aware of the tenderness of existence, but it reminded me to live for today. It was almost the difference between watching a movie in black and white and then watching it in IMAX."

Morgan passed away in 2011, and when it came time for him to release his next cookbook, Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It, he made sure he dedicated it to her. He told Travel Food and Drink, "... my sister lives on forever. My sister lives on in the book shelves and in the homes, with the families of people forever. ... it's like climbing the highest mountain and scratching her name in the world." 

Fieri has been very vocal about encouraging people to experiment with his recipes, and that openness is in large part due to the dietary restrictions his sister lived with, he says (via AP). "It really opened my mind. I think it was the last gift she gave me. It changed me as a chef."

Guy Fieri has a weird relationship with billionaire Steve Cohen

Steve Cohen is one of those guys that's worth a shocking amount of money, and he made it doing something that most people don't really understand. Forbes says that for a long time, he ran SAC Capital — until, that is, the firm guilty to charges of insider trading, he shut down the company, and paid $1.8 billion in penalties. He's also given millions to charity... and he once paid $100,000 to hang out with Guy Fieri. 

And that, of course, isn't the end of the story. According to New York, a book by Allen Salkin revealed that Cohen was such a massive fan that he offered Fieri $100,000 to not just hang out with him, but to reenact an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Cohen's representatives deny money ever exchanged hands, but there are a few fascinating things they can't deny: Cohen's favorite hot dog joint — a place called Super Duper Weenie — was featured on the show, and, Vanity Fair notes, the pair are good friends. Talk about the odd couple — was there ever a more unlikely pair of friends?

Guy Fieri's car was stolen in a bizarre saga

There's no denying that the problems of celebrities tend to be of a different sort, and that's definitely illustrated by the theft of Guy Fieri's car. 

Well, it wasn't just a regular old car, it was a banana yellow 2008 Lanborghini Gallardo, which Eater says was worth around $200,000 at the time it was stolen... give or take. It was sitting in a San Francisco dealership waiting to get serviced when it disappeared in 2011. 

You'd think a car like that would stand out, and it did — people spotted it cruising around, but somehow, it was a full year before police busted the car thief and recovered the vehicle. That was when they found that the thief — who had rappelled down the side of the dealership, broken a window, disarmed the car alarm, and drove off — was Max Wade, who was 16 when he stole the car. 

Ultimately, it wasn't even the theft that Wade was busted for. Police arrested him after he shot at the object of his high school affections and her date, and only found Fieri's bright yellow car when they searched his storage facility. The long arm of the law didn't go easy on him, either — SFGate says he was sentenced to life in prison for the theft and the attempted murder.

Guy Fieri loves Bobby Moynihan

There's different ways to measure the success of a celebrity, and a completely legitimate one is to say you've made it when you've been parodied by Weird Al or portrayed on Saturday Night Live. In that case, Guy Fieri has definitely made it: he's been repeatedly portrayed by Bobby Moynihan.

Not everyone who ends up as a character on SNL is flattered by it — Donald Trump called for "retribution" after Alec Baldwin appeared in one skit, leading to the actor tweeting about how the president's reaction could be viewed as "a threat to my safety" (via The Guardian). Did Fieri respond a little less aggressively?

He told the BUILD Series (via Huffington Post), "I've always loved SNL and I think Bobby kills it. ... As a matter of fact, we've become buddies. ... He's a true artist. He's able to pick out the nuances and point them out to the fifteen-millionth degree. But it's funny and you gotta laugh at yourself." He even asked Moynihan to record a birthday video message for his son's 18th birthday, and the comedian did exactly that. Class!