9 Surprising Facts About Guy Fieri (He’s Really a Huge Softie)

published Apr 10, 2024
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Guy Fieri on a colorful background
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Guy Fieri, commonly known as “the Mayor of Flavortown,” created an empire with his boisterous personality and iconic platinum blonde spiky hair. He got his big break after winning The Next Food Network Star in 2006 and has been lighting up TV screens ever since. While Fieri never went to culinary school and isn’t technically a professional chef (he has a degree in hospitality management), the home cook gained his skills through experimentation in the kitchen and reading cookbooks. In fact, his love of cooking started at age 10. After commenting that he wanted something else for dinner aside from the veggie-forward meals his mom would make, she responded, “If you don’t like the way I cook, then you cook.” And so he did. His entrepreneurial spirit fueled his passion, and he got his start selling pretzels from “The Awesome Pretzel Cart” he built with his dad. He then washed dishes and used the savings he acquired to fund a study abroad trip to Chantilly, France, at age 16, and it was there his love for food really blossomed. 

Since then, he’s hosted multiple shows on the Food Network, including the popular Emmy-nominated Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He’s also authored numerous cookbooks, owns 90 restaurants both in the U.S. and internationally, has his own line of barbecue sauces, salsas, frozen foods, and a tequila brand in partnership with singer Sammy Hagar. Fieri’s also received many awards and accolades for his success. In 2012, he was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. In 2019, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most recently, on April 5 he was named Honorary Mayor of Ferndale, California (the town where he grew up).

While his fiery personality fits his name, he was actually born Guy Ramsey Ferry. His grandfather changed his last name from Fieri to Ferry after emigrating to the U.S., and Guy changed his own last name back to Fieri in 1995. But despite the hard exterior, what’s lying underneath is a softer side. Family is very important to him, and so is giving back to communities he’s passionate about. Here are nine surprising facts about Guy Fieri you might not know.

1. He has his own foundation. 

He created the Guy Fieri Foundation in 2011, which includes programs that support culinary education, disaster relief, improving literacy, and supporting first aid responders and veterans. Fieri himself has visited multiple military bases and helped prepare meals for victims of California’s wildfires.

2. He advocated for more kids cooking shows.

Soon after Fieri won The Next Food Network Star, he pushed Food Network to do more kids cooking shows. He doesn’t believe in dumbing down recipes for kids, and his own father encouraged him to try new foods when he was young. He strongly believes that experimentation in the kitchen is crucial for children to diversify their palate and strengthen their culinary skills. 

3. His winery is named after his sons.

Hunt and Ryde Winery, based out of Sonoma County, CA, is named after Fieri’s two sons: Hunter and Ryder. His son, Hunter, has also followed in his footsteps, appearing on cooking shows with his dad and developing his own Food Network recipes. 

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4. He’s officiated 101 same-sex marriages.

Soon after same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, Fieri officiated 101 same-sex marriages in a single day in Miami. The mass wedding event was planned by Floridian Art Smith and featured other prominent chefs who were in the area for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. It even included a wedding cake made by Food Network costar Duff Goldman.  

5. He supported restaurants during the pandemic. 

Many restaurants were hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lockdown and people being unable to leave their homes. In response, Fieri helped create the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to allow restaurants to stay afloat. In total, the effort raised $21 million that went toward providing grants for 43,000 restaurant workers.  

6. Many of his tattoos are meaningful. 

Fieri has a presidential seal to commemorate the time he cooked at the White House. He has his son Hunter’s initials as well as a portrayal of Venus, the goddess of love, in honor of his late sister who died from cancer. Fieri often invites Make a Wish families to tapings of his Food Network shows as he remembers how hard of a time it was for his family while his sister was sick.

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7. He passed legislation to get more kids in the kitchen.

In 2011, Fieri helped pass legislation in California to make every Sunday “Cook with Your Kids Day.”  He views it as an opportunity for chefs, restaurateurs, businesses, and educators to help children build those fundamental cooking skills and believes that kids are more likely to try something they helped make.

8. He’s passionate about battling childhood obesity. 

In 2011, Fieri launched the Cooking with Kids (CWK) program to help develop healthy eating habits and fight obesity at an early age. Fieri is a huge proponent of families spending quality time together in the kitchen and believes it can be a positive and fun way to help foster greater self-esteem. 

9. He gets emotional watching his kids play sports. 

Fieri noted that watching his sons play basketball really gets to him because he’s sensitive to their emotions and wants to make sure they’re feeling good on the court. He encourages his sons to not shy away from their emotions and wants to make sure they feel he’s there for them.