All these late-night Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives marathons on the Food Network have become much more fun now that you’ve got to be lame as hell or alt-right to hate someone as harmless as Guy Fieri. No longer must we look over our shoulders in fear as Fieri describes yet another bowl of “funky little joints” as “gangster.” But, let’s not get carried away: While it’s fun watching Fieri stuff his maw, his post-bite commentary is one part catchphrase mixed with one part listing the ingredients back at the chef. Also, it’s hard to believe anything the guy says when he likes everything.
Or does he? In a new interview on Brian Koppelman’s The Moment podcast, Fieri admits that not every corner of Flavortown delivers the goods. “A close watcher of the show can tell the difference from when you’re genuinely blown away, and when it’s just like, ‘Good, nice job, I can see why people like it,’” Koppelman, a clear DDD fan, says to Fieri. Fieri’s very Fieri reply: “I’m not selling you a bag of beans, baby.”
Koppelman’s not kidding. So emphatic and distinctive is Fieri’s enthusiasm that his ambivalence shines brighter than those tips. Being a man of taste, he will not offer your food a “righteous,” “out of bounds,” or “lights-out delicious” if it has not lit his buds aflame. What he will do, however, is offer bun-based advice.
“If they ask, I’ll tell ’em. I’ll say, ‘Listen, here’s the deal. You’ve got to treat the bun. You can’t take a bun out of the package [and] put it down. You’ve done all this work. You’ve got this fresh, local beef. You’ve grown the vegetables yourself. You make this fantastic aioli. And then you slap it on a bun out of a plastic bag and you didn’t toast it? You didn’t butter it? You’ve got to give it treatment.’ And they’ll look at me [and say], ‘Really?’ And I’ll go, ‘Yeah, let’s do this. Let’s make it.’ And then sometimes before we even leave the restaurant, we’ll go and bust it out a couple times.
I don’t have any problem—I mean, I’ve cooked all this stuff six ways to Sunday. I’ve been around forever doing this, so I know where they’re going to miss it. And, I’m not there to tell them how to change their restaurant—that’s not my job. That’s not what my show is all about. But if they ever ask, I always want to offer advice to them if I can, and help them out. I mean, as we all do as chefs, we all support one another, and we all try to help each other grow.”
While taking cooking advice from the man may be inviting critical disaster, there’s no denying that Fieri himself seems like a stand-up dude. So, if you must decry a culinary celebrity, please make it Bobby Flay.
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