As someone who cooks a lot, eats out a lot and watches Food Network even more, I have never developed a taste for Guy Fieri’s presentation and style. I know I was joined in my disdain by most of the other serious chefs on the Network. However, this weekend’s piece on Fieri in the New York Times has at least given me a new appreciation of his worth.
Since 2006, when he won a Food Network reality show that earned him his first series, Mr. Fieri, 42, has brought a new element of rowdy, mass-market culture to American food television. He was raised among tofu-eating California hippies, spent his junior year of high school in France, and says he hasn’t eaten fast food in 15 years. But this platinum-haired, heavily tattooed chef-dude has proved that he has a Sarah Palin-like ability to reach Americans who feel left behind by the nation’s cultural (or, in his case, culinary) elite …
[He has been in the business 25 years] Mr. Fieri, with partners, runs three branches of an Italian-American pub called Johnny Garlic’s; and two hybrids of California-style sushi and Southern barbecue called Tex Wasabi’s. Johnny Garlic’s serves dishes like Cajun chicken pasta Alfredo; a signature dish at Tex Wasabi’s is found in the “gringo sushi” portion of the menu: the Jackass Roll, filled with pulled pork, avocado and French fries.
Probably still not my taste but he can clearly walk the walk. Good for him.