Guy Fieri: Ruler of the FN Universe

17 Aug

I cannot stop myself from watching Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Y’know, that show where a florescent orange man with spiky white hair drives around the States checking out the favourite spots of the locals. Of course you know: if you ever watch anything on the Food Network, the likelihood is that it’s DDD.  The appeal of this show is not limited to foodie-types: everyone can watch it and get a kick out of it. Sometimes the food looks unbelievably tasty, sometimes it looks straight up unbelievable. (Peanut butter on a burger? Um, no thanks.)

Since winning the first season of The Next Food Network Star, Fieri has been on a roll. (And let’s not forget that in addition to the multitudinous shows, he also has two restaurants. He has his own cooking show, DDD, hosts a competition show and appears in various other FN shows as a guest star. (And let’s not forget that in addition to the multitudinous shows, he also has two restaurants.) He’s Rachael Ray without the incessant perkiness. I could – and do – watch this man for hours every week. I watch repeats of DDD and have been known to change dinner plans based on what the episode’s theme. I know people who have done diner tours based on his show and friends who had lived or are living  in the States gleefully report that their favourite spot was featured. (And I become a lovely shade of envious green.)

I envy his job 98% of the time. In turn, I’m also happy it’s not my job to try pig ear or menudo. I don’t share Fieri’s loathing of eggs, but I appreciate that he reacts the way I think I would: with a mix of trepidation and determination. It would appear, though, that the vast majority of the food is just damned delicious.

The show is so pervasive that one chef saw another make an amazing burger and he decided he had to have that on his menu, too. It was interesting moment when Fieri realized that he’d seen this burger before and the second chef fully admitted to swiping the idea from the earlier episode. You know a show’s a hit when that kind of thing happens.

Ultimately, Fieri’s massive success is based on what I’m sure is a carefully cultivated persona. He is a huge presence on screen, but is able to step back and let others shine, too. He is eminently likeable and seemingly self aware. He’s not super perky, nor is he a snark. (Though I have a special place in my heart for snark. I *heart* Anthony Bourdain a whole lot.)

Really…how could you just not dig a dude who looks like this:

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