A Guy's Guy: Food Network's Fieri is Awesome, Dude

Categories: Screen Bites

Guy-Fieri.jpg
Food Network
You go, Guy.
There may be no other Food Network personality worthy of not just one but, count 'em, two Screen Bites reviews than Guy Fieri. Already the raucous center of a previous appreciation of his kitchen-bound program, Guy's Big Bite, which single-handedly proved that Fieri possessed more cooking chops than his gelled haystack of hair, strategic tats and three-bong-hits-on-laundry-day vernacular would let on.

So after establishing that this dude can cook, it's all but forgotten that what initially launched him into the cooking stratosphere is Fieri's irresistibly amiable personality. He's the most affable "guy" to ever brighten a Food Network set since, well, since Rachael Ray E.V.O.O.'d (that's extra virgin olive oil for all you Food Network tyros) her way into the country's communal kitchen.

And as a remedy to taking for granted Fieri's meteoric rise to TV chef rock stardom, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Fieri's main platform for his post-modern brand of kitchen populism (have spatula, will travel), deserves a serious look.

For proof of just how infectious a personality Fieri possesses, and just how tongue-in-groove is the fit between him and Diners, just examine closely the premise for a recent episode: Nothing more than all three of his diners visited repeated their name, in their name. In other words, Fieri is so foolproof, that he can build an entire 30-minute segment around his dropping in on Tap Tap Haitian Restaurant in Miami Beach, Niko Niko's in Houston, and Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon.

The itinerary for this particular "triple-D" episode had Fieri racking up the frequent flier miles between Miami to Houston to Portland. There isn't another Food Network star who clocks as many miles, all in the service of ferreting out the diviest places that still serve food, some of whose preparation should earn them at least one Michelin star.

In such the cynical, know-it-all age, it is difficult to break through with a self-propelled personality that feels totally genuine and not molded from artificial personality preservatives. That same gregarious, one-of-da-guys personality that Fieri rode to victory in the first Next Food Network Star reality contests remains to this day. Just add a nicer watch and better brand of Wayfarers.

Fieri always gets triple-D off to a kinetic start by being filmed Steve McQueen (ca. Bullitt) style, motoring down the highway in a Scotch bonnet hot convertible sports car. It's always from behind the wheel that Fieri announces where on the map he's roaming next.

In a rebroadcast of an early episode, but representative of every aspect of triple-D's aesthetic, Fieri's stops in Miami, Houston and Portland, are all edited in the same frenzied way. They are filled with Fieri's hobnobbing with the restaurant's most quotable patrons ("It's a cross between a hush puppy and fried squash," quips one), along with the eateries' most eccentric, fun-loving staff.

The editor of this show should probably win some sort of award for combining the nervous jump-cuts constantly demanded by any show's slightly ADD-afflicted viewers and the infinitely easier pacing of the show's chef-preparation sequences.

It is back in the kitchen, far removed from the hubbub of the diner's main room, that Fieri has a real chance to bond with the creators of the diner dishes he's heard are total money. So that means at Miami's Tap Tap, Fieri highlights a Haitian classic built around pork shoulder, which Fieri dubs the "Kobe" of the pig. Fieri can dwell on the sometimes dozens of items, from vinegar to sour orange rinds, scallions to Scotch bonnets, garlic and onion, all used for just a broth or a marinade.

It is also back in the kitchen where the zaniest aspects of Fieri's personality can blossom. He can't get enough of thrusting his goat-eed puss right into the camera as he lets loose with some wacky expression that he probably picked up from a pick-up volleyball game on Venice Beach.

Of the honey balls he samples at Houston's Niko Niko's, Fieri takes a verbal hit off of some hallucinogenic and comes up with this bit of metaphoric whimsy: "Those are culinary buoys in the shipyard of flavor town." Far out, maaaaan.

There are secrets to be uncovered back in these sweaty, cramped, diner kitchens, believes Fieri. For instance, at Portland's Pok Pok, the pork collar is one of the Thai larder's most favored cuts of meat, yet it is a bit of a rarity in Western kitchens. And Fieri grudgingly accepts that a mortar and pestle grinds up everything, including cilantro root, in a much more compatible way with how real Thai cooks work.

And it is from the safe haven of the kitchen that Fieri can let all aspects of raspy-voiced, freak-flag fly.

"Oh no," says Fieri rolling his eyes with sarcastic pleasure. "A lime-Scotch bonnet sauce doesn't scare me." Fieri is so confident in his one-liners that even if they are duds -- like "too legit to fish" -- someone in the audience will still chortle. Even if it's just a Fieri family member.

Back in the kitchen, Fieri can become ecstatic over the discovery of a special marinade machine used at Houston's Niko Niko's, or, at Pok Pok, a straight-from-Thailand coconut milk press apparently only used for one dish.

But Fieri is unmatched when it comes to his one or two line exclamations of gastronomic pleasure as he samples the diner's latest creation.

Slurping up some watercress puree in Miami, Fieri moans with soft-core pornish delight: "In the 21st century, that's in my top-five, ever."

The ultimate Fieri triple-D compliment is when he feigns as if he can't possibly eat another bite. "You're gonna have to take that away from me," he instructs the head chef at Houston's Niko Niko's. But of course, he really wants to inhale the entire plate.

As he grabs a little bit of sticky rice with which to eat yet another great morsel in the kitchen of Portland's Pok Pok, Fieri can't help himself: "This is ridiculously good." And then he elaborates, breaking down the dish into its spicy, salty, crunchy and sweet components.

What makes Fieri consistently entertaining viewing on triple-D is that he so cares about these culinary underdogs, these gastronomic overachievers dressed up in greasy-spoon duds. Fieri is determined to be their champion, to shower them with "awesome dude" encomiums, and fist-bump them into fame.

(Any new episodes of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives will likely air on Food Network at 8 p.m. Mondays. )

Follow City of Ate on Twitter: @cityofate.
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31 comments
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Christina Cuevas
Christina Cuevas

Hi Guy my name is Christina Cuevas n im from Corpus Christi, Tx. but live in Dallas, Tx. juxt wanted to tell u im in luv wit u n would luv to see u come to dallas tx. i live in pleasant grove south east dallas!!! plz let me know wen u can cum to dallas i would luv to meet u!!!! my email is christina.cuevas51@yahoo.com  luv ya guy u so sexi!!!!!!!!!!!!

BklynE
BklynE

Moreso than the consistent bee-in-my-bonnet that is that most of the locations featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" constitute not a diner, drive-in nor dive is my concern that this article was printed sans acknowledgment that Portland Pok Pok's chef, Andy Ricker, was awarded the 2011 James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Northwest.  And, he won in his second nomination year in the category.  A dive does not this make (nor a diner or a drive-in).  This seems like a pretty obvious thing to add in an article that is obviously already ripe for satire.  Did the author just Google "best restaurants", see "Michelin" and decide to drop it in for the sake of culinary journalism without checking if any location on (oh, good God, forgive me for typing what I am about to type) "Triple D" has such an accolade?  Pok Pok is not the first (um, Taylor's Refresher?) and will certainly not be the last (unless the show mercifully is canceled in its Guy incarnation and reconstituted as a Cooking or Travel Channel program with a different host). 

Pooter McCheferstein III
Pooter McCheferstein III

Also- "has anyone ever heard of Andrew Marton?" Jesus, asshat. Has anyone ever heard of butterfaced Jillian Madison? Yeah, me neither.

Dave
Dave

Actually I have heard of Jillian Madison, and she's quite hot. Books are funny too. Haters gonna hate!

Pooter McCheferstein II
Pooter McCheferstein II

 Oh, and the Pophangover network is a waste of bandwidth. Triple D beats "Damn you, autocorrect" any day. The books are better, too.

Ltbarrow
Ltbarrow

Wow, you've got issues and could use some anger management. They let you in the kitchen with knives?

Fifi
Fifi

lmao seriously? like the other comments AGAINST this article weren't as harsh if not more so?

Pooter McCheferstein
Pooter McCheferstein

Blech, just because fucking Jillian Madison says something sucks doesn't mean it sucks. I mean, come on. Yes, he is a Guy's Guy. An irritating one at that, but to each his own. He does ferret out interesting places in the US. I've been to a few of them and they were fantastic. As a professional chef, I'd never set foot in Johnny Garlic's or Tex Wasabi's, but there's something to be said for finding places off the beaten path and broadcasting them to the masses.

This was a fine, well-written article, albeit about a topic of human interest that apparently has a lot of controversy. Maybe once Ms. less-rich-than-Ina Alton Brown d*ck sucker Madison stops taking potshots at people more talented than she is (and better writers, too) people will be less butthurt.

In conclusion, BAAAAAAAAAW.

PS- Obviously, this is a fake name. I'm sure you'll mock it ruthlessly. Bring it on.

Jenna
Jenna

Hey Guy! Fancy seein ya around these parts.

GeorgeS
GeorgeS

Are you freaking kidding me?  Guy Ferry is such a douchebag!  And so is this writer apparently.  There's a reason he's been compared to the Poochy character on the Simpsons.  He's a totally fabricated amalgamation of what a complete imbecile thinks is cool and hip. Yet he's nothing of the sort.

Ray
Ray

Fieri is a sad clown, clothed in desperation, performing in the ratty, flea-bitten circus that is Food Network.

Eurodancemix
Eurodancemix

This guy is either Guy's publicist, or he has to be f***ing Guy's publicist.  This can't be real.  You can't get any douchebaggier than Guy Ferry (his real name, btw..."Fieri" is a stage name, which he in turn mispronounces as "Fiedi".

Juuuust me.
Juuuust me.

For what it's worth, Fieri is not a stage name, it's his legal (if not original) name. His grandfather was Fieri, and it was americanized to Ferry. He legally changed it to Fieri in 1995, over a decade before he hit the airwaves.  And if you pronounce it with heavy italian inflection, the R would sound ALMOST like a D. (Just sayin' - it IS his name, and he's not mispronouncing it). But, yeah, still a douchebag, and and the author's review is SO over the top glowing that it does suggest he's being compensated in some way...

KG
KG

Andrew Marton?

J
J

.......Really?

Dave
Dave

The author has a hard-on for Guy Ferry, and it's sad. Just sad. Thank god for Food Network Humor.

Gaseous Clay
Gaseous Clay

"...a self-propelled personality that feels totally genuine and not molded from artificial personality preservatives."

You actually wrote that about Guy Fieri, whose over-the-top persona is nothing if not calculated to appeal to the lowest and broadest common denominator. He is the Lady Gaga of the the culinary world. You have lost all credibility, Andrew Marton.

cp
cp

Why do you people keep writing stuff about this guy? Is he from Dallas? What does he have to do with Dallas, or North Texas, for that matter?

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

 Saying Fieri is one of the best things on The Food Network is like saying he's one of the best items on an Appleby's menu.

That one of the best of a third rate collection of products; over processed, over-rated,  taste-less junk calories.

His cooking programs is just another throw and show, he demonstrates no knowledge, technique, or appreciation for food.

Dallasboi51
Dallasboi51

heh, appleby's. That was good. We probably shouldn't tell tell tales outa school but he's the meanest public drunk we've met, if Super Bowl weekend is any clue. Ate and drank his way from one private bash to another, never went into any actual restaurant in maybe five days, especially the ones he's been to in DFW already: never again, I believe was the catchphrase.

Jamo
Jamo

The itinerary for this particular "triple-D" episode had Fieri racking up the frequent flier miles between Miami to Houston to Portland. There isn't another Food Network star who clocks as many miles.

Ummm, he tapes several shows in an area, then they mix and match the locations.  It's written as if he travels separately to all of the locations for each episode.

not a fan
not a fan

is there a valhalla for douchebags? cuz this fag is fuckin' odin..

canaduck
canaduck

I'd have loved your comment more without the slur.

ts
ts

Kill it with fire

reader
reader

Love his facial expressions - you know exactly what he's thinking.

gabbahey
gabbahey

At this point, I am expecting that Food Network or Guido Fieri is about to be a paying sponsor of Village Voice Media, hence the City of Ate reach-around...

Willie
Willie

Am I missing something, or did this column just rate a TV show, and a re-run at that.  Think about it, folks........

foodieanonymous
foodieanonymous

Guy should be on the new food network show extreme chef! looks like he could do all those crazy challenges on that show and still cook an awesome meal

Steve
Steve

No.  No.  No.   The only thing Fieri ever did was provide Bobby Moynihan with material.

Are you into Michael Anthony's hot sauce, too?   "Cuz it rocks!!"  ?

Whoo, let's break out the Cabo Wabo!!!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Please tell me that was satire at its finest...

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