Cracking the Guy Fieri Code

If you’re like me – and I certainly hope for your sake that you are – you view Food TV celebro-chef Guy Fieri as nothing less than the first horseman of the apocalypse. From the moment Guy first shone his frosted tips on the small screen (during 2006’s Next Food Network Star) he has been eminently hateable. A short list of things I hated about Guy:

1) The aforementioned frosted spiky hair;
2) Even worse, the faux-Colonel Sanders half-frosted goatee;
3) The sunglasses on the back of the neck. I REALLY hate those;
4) The polyester bowling shirts with the too long almost-capris shorts;
5) The flip-flops with his stupid, pudgy toes sticking out everywhere;
6) The mid-forearm sweatband. (Who does he think he is, Phil Lesh?);
7) The whole rock-and-roll attitude; and
8) The fact that his name is spelled FIERI but he pronounces it FEE-ETTY. THERE IS NO “T” IN FIERI, GUY!

Yup, those are the thing I hated about Guy. Hated. As in, “used to hate.”

I’ll never forget the exact moment when Guy won my heart. It was on Saturday, April 30, 2010. I was in Louisville, KY at the Barnstable-Brown Gala the night before the Kentucky Derby. And do you know why I’ll never forget that night? Because I still have the program. And because that night I saw a man who gave his soul to the crowd, holding nothing back. Do you know who that man was? It was Joey Fatone. But another man was also really cool. And that second man was Guy Fieri.

One of my superpowers is the power of eye reading. I can study someone’s eyes, whether in a photograph or in person, and tell their true emotions at the time, regardless of what they’re saying or doing. And as I stared into the deep vats of fryolator oil that were Guy’s eyes, I saw a man that gave off a lot of positive vibes. I saw a man that took energy from the crowd and gave it back to them three-fold. Guy was magnificent. You could say that Guy made love to that crowd, but that would be kind of wrong and creepy.

Anyway, I really liked/respected Guy when I saw him in person dealing with the hoi polloi and now I like him lots better on the tee vee. Plus, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is on almost 17 hours a day, so it’s practically impossible not to watch him.

But here’s the thing about Triple Dee: Guy never says a bad word about ANY restaurant he visits, no matter how awful it obviously is. Remember, Guy is all about positive vibes, man. But for us home viewers we want to figure out whether we really should bother to truck out to Montana to get that cheeseburger made entirely out of bacon. That’s why I’ve devised this handy guide for figuring out how much Guy really likes the diner, drive-in and/or dive. I call it the Guy Fieri Code:

One Star (Dump): The first sign of trouble is when Guy focuses on the chef or the restaurant rather than the food. When Guy has nothing good to say about whatever he’s stuffing into his gullet he starts talking about how the guy is “doing it right” or the decor is “outrageous”. Basically anything but the food. You’ll note that sad-Guy observes things, while happy-Guy describes his feelings about things. It’s an important distinction.

Two Stars (Disappointment): The next level up is when Guy respects your efforts and your ingredients, but doesn’t really love the dish. He wants to like it, but he honestly doesn’t, hence the soul-crushing disappointment and hint of sadness behind his eyes. At this point Guy will start to methodically list off each and every ingredient in the dish and perhaps even slip in some farm-to-table nonsense (all fruits and vegetables come from farms, so that phrase quite literally adds nothing). Disappointed Guy rues the lost opportunity and wasted grub.

Three Stars (Delighted): When Guy likes a dish, he gets really excited. He goes back for second and third bites, he fist-bumps the chef, he raves about the flavors. While he’ll talk about what makes the food so tasty, he spends most of his time talking about how much he’s enjoying it, how tasty it is, etc. In other words, it becomes about him, not about the food. The secret to his success is that Guy’s viewers get a vicarious thrill through his ecstatic experiences. Guy is assuring the viewer that this greasy sandwich is truly as delicious as they hoped and wanted it to be. He is restoring their faith in humanity.

Four Stars (Delicacy): At the very top of the scale is when Guy views the food as nothing less than a true delicacy. This is a somewhat rare, always magical happening that is also quite dangerous. When Guy really, really loves something he will hurl it into his maw at a terrifying clip, while simultaneously extolling its virtues and back-slapping the chef. I have it on good authority that Guy actually employs a full-time assistant exclusively for giving him the Heimlich maneuver and the dude is always busy. Worst off all, Guy’s actually eaten his thumb several times by accident! Another sure sign that Guy really likes a dish is when he says he “wishes he came up with it” or he’s “going to steal it for his restaurant.”

As you can see, understanding the Guy Fieri way of life isn’t as difficult as it first seems. The clues are all there. You just have to read between the lines a little bit. Guy wants to show us the way, but he also wants us to take the journey ourselves. Guy is kind of wise like that.

I sincerely hope that this helps to enlighten you and to enrich your Guy Fieri-related television viewing, not including his other mostly terrible shows. Do not be ashamed by your love for Guy Fieri. Join me out in the open, boldly declaring our love for Guy.

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