You may think of Guy Fieri as a Food Network star, but he thinks of himself more as a restaurateur. And he's been obsessed with finding success in food ever since he ran his own pretzel cart at age 10.
The money Guy earned from that cart helped him pay to study abroad (read: eat!) in France during high school. After that, he got a degree in hospitality and went to work in corporate kitchens. Eventually, he opened his own restaurants in northern California. "This is all I know,” says Guy. “I’ve only ever been in the restaurant business." (He even raised more than $20 million for restaurant workers affected by COVID-19 earlier this year.)
This week on The Sporkful, we talk food, business, and ambition with Guy Fieri. You probably know him from his TV shows — Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy's Grocery Games. Or maybe you remember Pete Wells's epically bad review of Guy's restaurant in New York City. But what you don’t know? The real Guy Fieri wants to open an all-organic restaurant. The real Guy Fieri hates that iconic bowling shirt with the flames. The real Guy Fieri feels like he’s always trying to keep up — and that it’s really hard to do so.
You’ll meet the real Guy — and he also shares the best business advice he ever got from his friend Sammy Hagar. Then he counsels Dan about how to start a pasta business.
This episode contains explicit language.
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Diamond Cutter" by Marc Zazzaro
- "Simple Song" by Chris Bierden
- "Saturn Returns" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Dusty Roads" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
Photo courtesy of Guy Fieri.
Dan Pashman: This episode contains explicit language.
Guy Fieri: What is this?
Dan Pashman: Hey man.
Guy Fieri: What's cooking dude?
Dan Pashman: How are you?
Guy Fieri: You know know...just staying ahead of the curb. Just trying to keep it above ground.
Dan Pashman: Today on The Sporkful, my guest is Food Network star, Guy Fieri.
Guy Fieri: I like your questions, because your questions aren't the same bullshit.
Dan Pashman: Ever since he was a kid, Guy's been obsessed becoming a successful food businessman. And a lot of people don't realize this, but he was well on his way before he was ever on TV. Coming up, Guy tells us about going from the pretzel cart, he and his dad made when he was ten, to opening in South Africa and Dubai. And we'll find out what people don't get about Guy.
Guy Fieri: I think everybody thinks I live on a yacht that shoots off rockets at midnight, every night.
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful, it’s not for foodies it’s for eaters. I’m Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people. As some of you may know, I hosted a Cooking Channel web series called You’re Eating It Wrong. I think they still play clips from the series on TV, too. But because of that, a couple years ago, I was invited to compete on Guy’s Grocery Games. That’s Guy Fieri’s show, where you’re in a supermarket and you get weird challenges and you have to run around the store getting ingredients and cooking a meal in one hour. It was a ton of fun even though I did not come close to winning. By the way, my takeaway: If you’re ever on a cooking competition show – cook something you’ve cooked before. That was my mistake, at least one of them.
Dan Pashman: Okay, anyway, that’s when I met Guy Fieri. And then in 2017, I got to talk with him for a Sporkful interview. I loved the conversation, and I want to share it again now because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, as we get ready to celebrate The Sporkful’s 10 year anniversary this September. I’ve always been struck by Guy’s ambition. You probably know him mainly from his TV shows: Diners Drive Ins and Dives or DDD, Guy’s Grocery Games or GGG, and more. But he considers himself a restaurateur first and foremost. Today, he has restaurants all over the world. Even at sea, thanks to a deal with Carnival Cruise Lines.
Dan Pashman: Now, I’m obviously nowhere near his level of success, but in a way I’m a food businessperson, too. I started this podcast ten years ago in my living room, after getting laid off from six radio jobs in eight years. If you had told me back then that some day that someday I'd actually be able to make a living doing this thing I love, I would have said, "I'll take it! And I'll never ask for anything ever again!" But now that I'm here, I have ideas for like 500 new projects, new directions, new heights. Ambition is a funny thing. You need it to be successful, but it makes it hard to ever feel successful.
Dan Pashman: I wondered how Guy feels about everything he’s accomplished. After all, he’s been building his food business empire since he was a kid. Back when he was 10, his family went on a ski trip to Tahoe. Guy’s dad gave him 5 bucks for food for the day. Guy fell in love with the pretzels the man in the ski lodge was selling.
Guy Fieri: So this guy steams it and he dips it in a little bit of salt and you put mustard on it. And I always loved flavors like that when I was a kid. I always loved salt, and I love mustard, and I love vinegars. I love acids and all those kinds of stuff. So I ate one and I just—I mean the doughiness and the chewiness. It was—I mean, I'd never seen anything like this. And I had never been to New York City. Anyhow, I spent all my money on it. One day he says, "What did you have for lunch?" I said, "Well, I had pretzels." And he goes, "They're fifty cents a piece. How many pretzels did you eat?" I said, "Dad, had you ever had one of these things? They're the best goddamn thing in the world." So I went and got him a pretzel. And I brought it to him and he goes, "Yeah, it's good." And I said, "Man, I sure would love to have a pretzel cart like that." And my dad says, "Well let's make one." And my dad was always—and that's, you know, my dad still my best friend and my right hand man. And he always taught me there were no boundaries, you could always be anything you want to be. And you just had to think big and go big. And I said, "Dad, come on. Where am I gonna get the pretzels?" He says, "I'll make you a deal." He says, "You find out where the pretzels come from and when we get back home you and I will make a pretzel cart and you can sell pretzels." And I'm not even thinking really the business aspect. I'm just thinking unlimited pretzels. I was never a sweets guy, so this was my thing.
Guy Fieri: So I go down to the pretzel dude. Now, this has been my homie for four days. I've spent all my money. I bought his pretzels. I've sat there and talked to him about pretzels. I said, "Hey, could you tell me where to get the pretzels?" And all of a sudden the cool went to fool when he said, "Absolutely not." And I mean, total jerk about it. And I'm like, wait, wait, wait, wait. I'm ten. I I said, "Why won't you give me the thing?" And he says, "Cause you're gonna open a pretzel cart and then you may be my competition." I said, "I live like 500 miles away, dude." So I go back completely defeated and I go back to my parents. I think they were in the lounge. My dad says, say lounge. You don't say bars. I was like, we're drunks. So you know, but it's after ski.
Dan Pashman: Yeah, sure.
Guy Fieri: You know, everyone's hanging out and doing their thing. You know? So I go back and I'm completely defeated, like the bird dog that couldn't get the bird. And I tell my dad the guy wouldn't give me the pretzels. My dad goes, "Now here's what you're gonna do...." And this is the way we also achieve things in our family, is you do not stop. You do not take no. You continue to work hard. He says, "You go down there and you just hang out in that area. And you wait till he closes up his shop. And then when he takes his trash and he throws it in the dumpster, go find the box." So there, at the age of ten, I'm dumpster diving, jumping in to get the box. And I tear off the side of the box, J & J Snack Foods. And I run back happy, like the bird dog that got the bird, and I bring it to me dad and he takes it and writes it down. And he goes, now throw this away. And so I went and threw it away and then we went home and we spent a year. We mounted the pretzel cart on the back of a three-wheel bike. Had a little camp stove that would heat up little half pans and the half pans had steaming racks in it. And we put the pretzels in there and they would steam and get nice and soft. And then I sold them for fifty cents. And I sold them at the fair. I sold them at the rodeo. I sold them anywhere I could. And had my friends work for me. Named it...my dad said, what do you want to name it? I said, The Awesome Pretzel. Pretzels are awesome, right?
Dan Pashman: Right.
Guy Fieri: And since 6th grade, I had a checking account. Had a full banking system. I mean, I had the whole thing, man. I saved my money to buy my inventory to get my shipment in, to pick them up, to get them to the freezer company, to do all kinds of stuff. And it all started at 6th grade.
Dan Pashman: Guy took the money he made selling pretzels and used it to get himself to France, as an exchange student. He fell in love with French cuisine. He came back, graduated from UNLV with a degree in hospitality and went to work for Stouffer’s. He says he always wanted to work in corporate restaurants. At the age of 28, he and a partner opened their first restaurant, Johnny Garlic’s, a California pasta grill in Santa Rosa, where Guy still lives, a couple hours north of San Francisco. A few years after that, Guy opened Tex Wasabi’s, a barbecue and sushi concept. And more restaurants followed. In fact, by the time Guy got his big TV break, winning Next Food Network Star in 2006, he was already a successful restaurateur. It’s such a notoriously tough business, I wanted to get a sense of what Guy is like in that role.
Dan Pashman: I'm curious like when you run a restaurant, what are the tiny details that drive you crazy?
Guy Fieri: One of my pet peeves or what my things are, is you try so hard to get the food great that it really takes the wind out of the sail. It's kind of like a band creating an awesome song and then the lead mic doesn't work. You know? If you've ever been to a concert, and then the lead singer's mic isn't working. I mean, what the hell does it take to..... So it's those kinds of things. So bad service. Bad service to me is just...I can't get it. I can't get my head around it. Dirty restaurants. Dirty restaurants drives me nuts. Just dirty bathrooms drive me crazy. And back in that service piece is fake service. You know? Not paying attention to what's really going on at the table and just doing the scripted rehearsal bullshit. It's those kinds of things. This is all I know. I've only been in the restaurant business. I've only cooked. I've only done....that's all I've ever done. So I have my thing about it.
Dan Pashman: I've read that you watch your own performances on TV and take notes.
Guy Fieri: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: What are some of the things that you critique yourself on?
Guy Fieri: Well I think I'm the one that told you. So I don't think you read shit.
Dan Pashman: Let's not split hairs, Guy.
Guy Fieri: You know what it is?
Dan Pashman: Come on.
Guy Fieri: I mean, dude. So what are you saying, Guy?.....No, I'm just kidding. Um, I had to. I didn't know what it looked like. I didn't know what I looked like on TV. So I wanted to find out like what was my body posture, and when was I catching the camera the right way, and was I pausing enough for shots of the food, and just all that kind of stuff. So I had to really become a student of the craft and really pay attention. And it's painful, don't get me wrong. I'm like anyone else. I think, I hate watching myself on TV. And I'm glad you didn't follow and say, you do too.
Dan Pashman: I do, too, Guy. That's a great point.
Guy Fieri: No, I meant me....ba dum bum. Seriously, I'll be here all week. But, you know, the thing is is you gotta. You gotta pay attention to what you're doing. It's like, you got to self-edit. You gotta self reflect. You have to. I mean, I think that that is what we have to do to continue to stay in the game.
Dan Pashman: Coming up, much more with Guy Fieri. When I told friends I was interviewing him, a lot of people had the same question: Is the guy we see on TV some kind of character or persona? Or is that what he’s actually like? After the break, we’ll try to find out. And I’ll ask him for some business advice. Stick around.
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I’m Dan Pashman. So most of us know about different regional styles of pizza, or tacos, or ribs, right? But we almost never hear about the Mississippi slugburger. Or the Connecticut steamed cheeseburger.
CLIP (GEORGE MOTZ): I am, personally everyday, fighting an uphill battle to get people to understand and appreciate the hamburger, the regional hamburger, specifically, because people don't see the hamburger still to this day as something that could be considered to be important. I wish they did.
Dan Pashman: That’s America’s foremost burger historian, George Motz. In last week’s episode, he joins me to talk about regional burgers and to share his theory on why they don’t get more love. Plus Kenji Lopez-Alt joins me to debate whether potato salad should be called a salad. It’s our summer cookout spectacular! It’s up now. Check it out. Now, back to Guy Fieri.
Dan Pashman: There’s no shortage of opinions about Guy. It seems for every person who’d love to spend all day eating Donkey Sauce in Flavortown, there’s another who gets sick at the thought. Here’s Bobby Moynihan doing his impression of Guy on SNL:
CLIP (BOBBY MOYNIHAN): The key to Super Bowl food is having a theme. So what better way to get ready for the Giants vs. the Packs than with a giant pad of butter. [laughs] It's what the french call an amuse-bouche.
Dan Pashman: Guy called the impression hysterical. He asked Bobby Moynihan to do it in a video for Guy’s son’s 18th birthday. But Guy doesn’t have as much of a sense of humor about his more pointed critics. If you know one thing about him, it’s probably that when he opened his restaurant in Times Square, he got an epic-ly bad review from Pete Wells in the New York Times. In other interviews, Guy basically said he thinks Wells was overly harsh because he was trying to get attention for himself to advance his own career. In 2016, four years after opening, the restaurant grossed $17 million, according to the trade publication Restaurant Business. But the next year, it closed.
Dan Pashman: Still, Guy’s business and brand keep expanding. A few months before this interview I texted Guy to try to set it up and he said wasn’t free because he was on a month long road trip with his family. And I thought, oh that’s nice. I’m glad Guy’s taking a break from work. Then I find out he has a new show on Food Network, Guy’s Family Road Trip. Soon after he launched another one, Guy’s Big Project. He just keeps going.
Dan Pashman: So you started your pretzel cart when you were ten. You're turning fifty soon. And now you're opening restaurants in South Africa and Dubai. I mean, I gotta say, Guy, that's a hell of a forty year climb. You know? And you've been so driven and so single minded for so long. I mean, it seems to me that there's a fire inside of you that's not in most normal people. You know? And I've been thinking about this getting ready to talk with you. I know that some people that like your shirts and your cars with flames on them are kind of like gimmick or something, but I actually think that those images are quintessentially you. Like even your hair is kind of reminiscent of a fire. Where do you think....
Guy Fieri: Nah. I think there's way too much stereotyping. There's a picture of me in a flamed shirt that everybody loves. I get that picture to me—I mean, when we do fanmail it's the picture they send more than anything. And I think people want to love the shirt more because I hate the shirt. And I don't know what the shirt....we opened a BBQ restaurant. And this was way before even Food Network. We'd opened a BBQ restaurant and that was one of the shirts that we had. I don't know where I got the shirt or what happened but goddamn I hate that shirt. But the funny thing is is people want to make a story of what something is when they don't understand it. Yes, I work hard. And yes, I love my cars. And yes, I love to go to football games and I love rock concerts and I love anything crazy except for jumping out of airplanes, which is a whole another story. But I love all that stuff. So I just let people—I mean, people are gonna say whatever they want to say. They're gonna go on their own way about, you know, "Oh yeah man, everything's flamed at his house. I bet....", and I just kind of go, okay, alright. I mean, what do I wear? I wear shorts and tennis shoes and a t-shirt everyday and unless I have to go to work and I typically don't shave that often. I cook every single day. I mean, I cook in the morning for my—well, I make him cook now. My youngest, he has to cook his own breakfast. That was the new deal, 6th grade. But I cook every night. It's my goal. Like I'm already thinking today, we already had a little conversation like starting to plan like what's out in the garden, what I'm gonna cook. So it's a lot more mellow and a lot more simplistic than I think everybody believes. I think everybody thinks I live on a yacht that shoots off rockets at midnight, every night.
Dan Pashman: Right, right. Well I think, you know...look. The way that I think about when I started doing TV, and this is already kind of a ridiculous premise for a question because, clearly, you and I are not in the same orbit when it comes to food media success but...
Guy Fieri: You've done pretty...listen. I watch your show. We talked about that.
Dan Pashman: You're very kind. I appreciate it.
Guy Fieri: No, you're doing great. Seriously, you know how many requests I get to do podcasts. I mean, we're all so busy and so forth but you're a great guy and I like—I told you think when I met you. The way you carry yourself and the information you have, that's where it comes from. So and certain people have it and certain people don't have it. It's tough when people don't have it that want to have it. And it's tough when people have it, that don't get to use it as much as they can use it.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Guy Fieri: Sounds like some weird riddle, doesn't it?
Dan Pashman: No, I understand exactly what you're saying. And I know the way that I thought of it when I first started out, was to say like, okay, I'm gonna pick a couple of aspects of my personality and a couple of aspects of my approach to food. And I'm going to magnify those on TV, because I think that's what will make for good television. There's other parts of my personality and other parts of my approach to food that if I went on TV and talked about those or did that, it would just be boring. So from that, I created what I think of as sort of character that is myself. It's not fake. It is rooted in part of who I really am but when I go on TV, I think of myself as sort of playing a character that is myself.
Guy Fieri: Hmm.
Dan Pashman: Does that sound familiar at all? Does that make any sense?
Guy Fieri: To you...to me, no. I don't have much of a filter but I'm not trying to give anybody—I'm not a TV person. I never wanted to be a TV person but I didn't know any different. All I knew to do, when I got on TV, when I go to food networks, all I knew to do was be me and talk about food and be what I am in food. And then, fortunately, I guess with the escalation of how things when in my career, I didn't really have to worry about filtering. But I don't sell people a line of crap on the show. If I don't like it, you don't see it. And if I don't like the restaurant, it won't air.
Dan Pashman: I guess when people say, and this they say about a lot of celebrities, is, "What are they really like?"
Guy Fieri: I don't know. We don't know the same thing.
Dan Pashman: Right. Right. I mean, every human being, whether or not you're a celebrity, understands the idea of being "on". Like, you got an important work meeting, you're gonna behave differently than you would if you were drunk at a bar with your friends. Like we all put up a front depending on—or accentuate certain parts of our personalities....you know, that's what I'm saying.
Guy Fieri: That's a truth. When I go into my regimen of work, there's no staying up late. There's no going out having cocktails. There's no any of that.
Dan Pashman: I can actually testify because when you came to do a book event in my hometown, I texted you and said, "Hey, let's go get a drink after your book event." And you said, "I can't do it. I got a 6 a.m. call tomorrow morning."
Guy Fieri: Yeah, I am work is work. To me, work is like such a discipline. It's such a responsibility. I've got people paying for me to do this. I've got people staying up on Friday nights to watch it. I got a thing to do. You know? It's the same thing with cooking. It's exactly the same responsibility. I have friends coming over for dinner. I mean, last night I got home, my wife and I are working on this new project and she was picking our son up from soccer. And I was like late getting out of the meeting to get home, and I had 29 minutes to get dinner on the table. And I came home and I did quinoa and lamb chops and spinach and cauliflower. And I busted all that. And I am working with focus and got it done and that's the way I do things.
Dan Pashman: I know that Sammy Hagar is a close friend of yours. And that's an interesting pairing, I think on the surface people would say like, oh yeah. You guys both kind of have this rock star vibe. You guys both have, not the same look but....
Guy Fieri: He's the one to blame. He's the one to blame for mine.
Dan Pashman: But the thing that I think that maybe people are less likely to associate with both of you is that you're both such successful businessmen. I mean, people should know that. Sammy has made way more money from food, from his lines of liquors and his restaurants than he ever did from music. He's sold 80% of his tequila brand for something like $80 million.
Guy Fieri: I remember the day it happened. I remember where I was. I remember the moment. I remember the phone call. I remember the whole thing and I just about fell in the street. I was up in Seattle shooting. But he is. Sammy is, I think he's probably more driven at 70 than he was at 30. So yeah, he's a great example.
Dan Pashman: What’s the best business advice he ever gave you?
Guy Fieri: He's always giving me a lot. I think it would be, don't react too fast. Don't jump at it too fast. Really stand back and evaluate it. You know? Know who the players are. When you get ready to make a big deal, when you get ready to make a big acquisition, when you get ready to change a direction, you gotta be really clued in on you, who you're with, and where. And I mean, I call him all the—I just called him the other day about a big thing that I was thinking of embarking on. But he doesn't give it to you. You gotta understand, he doesn't give it to you in like business terms. He gives it to Sammy cool terms. Like, yeah yeah yeah yeah. Right on, man. So what you gotta do is you gotta make...and I can't believe I'm a Sammy act. But he's just cool.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Guy Fieri: He's just cool. And he's so goddamn smart. You know? You look at those deals, he goes and sells Caba Waba and he does Sammy's Beach Bar Rum and then he does off and does another one. The dude just can... I'm like, it's hard to keep up.
Dan Pashman: It’s hard to keep up. That line really stuck with me, the idea that someone as successful as Guy Fieri could ever feel like he was falling behind. The website Munchies did a long profile of Guy. In it, Sammy Hagar talks about what he learned when he rose to rock stardom in the 80’s, and how it applies to Guy. Sammy says:
“The stuff that drives you is not as fulfilling as people might think it is to be a celebrity. It's one of them things that's addicting, and you feel like as soon as you sit around for too long, you're like, 'Oh man, I'm gonna lose it.' You're afraid of losing your magic, so you keep pushing yourself and saying, 'Oh I'm gonna do that interview; that TV show; that other cookbook.' You sit there and go, 'Why am I doing this?' You question yourself all the time. It's a bottomless pit, fame and fortune. I'm telling you from my point of view because I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about Guy. You can just take everything I said and say that 'This is what Guy said' because if he really thought about it, that's why you keep rolling like that.' He's just like me. He'll never stop."
Dan Pashman: That quote was on my mind when I asked Guy this question.
Dan Pashman: Having that kind of fire inside can be a tremendous strength and clearly it's helped drive you to tremendous success but I do wonder like in other ways perhaps that fire can be a curse because you're never satisfied for long. Do you feel like you're able to enjoy your success?
Guy Fieri: Oh I enjoy it. I enjoy it tremendously. I do suffer from—I mean, you nailed it on the head. I do suffer from working too much but I do have the balance better than I've ever had it. I mean, there was a few years there that I was really just pedal to the metal, man. But it was also kind of like launching a rocket. That beginning trajectory that you get really is important. You know, how that works? So but no, I enjoy it now. We got a lot of great things that the family gets to share and the times we get to share and the things we get to do and the, you know, setting up the future for my sons and for my nephew. I lost my sister to cancer seven years ago. So I have my nephew as well, who just went off to his first year of college. And just having the resources to be able to support them and help them. Although, they'll have to work and all that. Not support them like, here's just money. But just saying those things. You know, being able to—I'll tell you the most important one, man.
Guy Fieri: The town I grew up in is this little town called Ferndale and it's about four hours north of where I live here in the wine country. And I wanted to have that house my whole life. That was where I was raised. That's where I want it. And I didn't want my parents ever to give me the house because I wanted them to spend their own money. It was their retirement. They put all the money in the house. They should sell it. They should live off their retirement, blah blah blah blah. But now in my lifetime, I get to own that house and preserve that house for my kids to have, for their kids to have. To know that I have done enough in my career that we will be able to have things, like keeping our family home, that is just it, man. That is—whenever I question how hard have I worked and have I worked too much, I can look at that house and say, "No, I did what I was supposed to do."
Dan Pashman: This is, of course, a little bit of an oversimplification but it seems to me that these days the food world is divided in much of the same way that our country is divided. You have your higher end food scene in the cities and then you have the food everywhere else. I was reading an interview with you where the writer was kind of giving you a hard time about Donkey Sauce saying...I mean, I know people make a comment about the name. And he was saying it's not healthy or whatever it is. And you said, " Look, it's aioli. You want me to call it aioli? It's aioli.", which I loved that response and I would like to propose to you, Guy, that we refer to as the cultural divide in the country and in the world of food today as the Donkey Sauce Aioli divide. Can we call it that?
Guy Fieri: That—I mean, yes. I am worried about—watching what's happening in our country right now just drives me crazy. I don't know that I would put it on as much of a scale as is what's going on in the world but I think that as long as what you're doing, and as long as what you're believing, and as long as what you're giving is not hurting anybody and is not hurting yourself than you should be allowed to go as you please. I'm talking in the world of food.
Dan Pashman: Right, but I wonder how does that divide factor into your thinking about your business and your brand?
Guy Fieri: I don't understand.
Dan Pashman: I mean, your original pitch to Food Network in your trial tape, you know, real food for real people, which came at a time when Food Network was mostly high end chefs from big cities and you were very astute and savvy to come in and say, "Look, there's a big segment of the country that's getting the attention it should be getting."
Guy Fieri: Don't get me any of that credit. I didn't know what the fuck....no. Listen, I'm a blue team, cowboy boot, tennis shoe, dirt...I didn't know any of this stuff. So, no. I never went in with like this, "Hey, this is the time to strike." But if what you're saying is, where is it in the model? I still think it's real food for real people. I think that it just depends on who you are.
Dan Pashman: I know that in your personal life, you're very passionate about organic, simple, fresh food. I know you're working on making your ranch self-sufficient. I hear you're even getting into beekeeping.
Guy Fieri: You gotta see me in a bee suit, dude. That is the gnarliest thing in the world.
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Guy Fieri: But it's awesome.
Dan Pashman: Let me just ask you something.
Guy Fieri: Go ahead.
Dan Pashman: But at the same time, you have this growing corporate restaurant empire and I know that there are some organic components and simpler foods but that's not the biggest part of the focus in the menus at a lot of your restaurants.
Guy Fieri: Would I love to have a completely organic restaurant that did just did five items a day, only what was available? When I lived in France, when I was an exchange student in France, you would go to a home, when you were in a town that didn't have a restaurant. And you'd go in and whatever that family was eating, that's what you would sit down and eat. We laugh about it. My wife and I Iaugh about it all the time because I said...she goes, "Where are you gonna end up?", and she loves to tell people this. And I say, "I'm gonna end up in Mexico. A little village. I put the red flag out on the porch, that mean that we're open tonight. And when you come, it's whatever's being served. You know? Because whatever's available, that's how you eat down in this little village that we go and stay in. That's what you eat, is what's available. So would I love to do that? Yeah. Can you sell that in Las Vegas? Not in my position, you can't. That's not exactly what translates. Plus, one of the biggest branding factors that I have is the representation of DDD. And DDD is everything of the collar America. Not just blue collar but it's this representation. So no, I don't get to exactly do what I want to do. Do I move the needle a little bit every time? Yeah, I do.
Dan Pashman: A couple of years ago, Guy and some partners started an organic winery. The announcement got a lot of attention in the food world, because it seemed like such a departure from Donkey Sauce. Was this Guy’s attempt to move the needle a little more? Maybe, but the approach was pretty different. Unlike just about every other new business Guy rolls out, the winery doesn’t have his name on it. It’s called Hunt and Ryde, after his sons Hunter and Ryder. The wines are only on the menu at a handful of Guy’s restaurants. In other interviews he’s said this winery is especially personal for him. I asked him why.
Guy Fieri: I like wine...no. [Laughing]
Dan Pashman: That's a good answer.
Guy Fieri: You know what it is?
Dan Pashman: You can stop right there, Guy. That's a good enough reason.
Guy Fieri: It's something I never knew how hard it was to start in the wine business. I never had a clue, knowing that you come from the beginning of the year and you see the buds start to come out on the vines. And then you look at it and you start to calculate how it's going to work. And you're wondering what the weather report is. And when we're getting rain and when we're not getting rain. And where we're at on trimming. And what we're cutting back and how this harvest is gonna go. And when we're gonna harvest and where we're at. And just all these stuff going on, it was just something that I never thought I would ever have the resources or the time or the organization or the team to do. And when I finally did, it was like—it was another one of those milestones. You just go, "Oh. So this is what it all feel—this is where you were going with that. So....
Dan Pashman: Right. Final question, and this is confidential now, Guy, but I am thinking of starting my own food business.
Guy Fieri: Awesome. I won't tell anybody.
Dan Pashman: I want to...good. Thank you. Don't worry, no one's gonna hear this podcast.
Guy Fieri: I am tweeting this out. This is going to happen. There's a line of people waiting to have meetings right outside the door.
Dan Pashman: I want to invent a new pasta shape. What advice—as I embark upon this business venture, what advice do you have for me?
Guy Fieri: Here's my thing about pasta. When you're going to eat pasta, you gotta eat really goddamn great pasta. I'm talking air dried. I'm talking great flour. I'm talking done the right way. So that's the first and the foremost. And the other factor of it is, is pasta has got to have texture, in my world. When one of my favorite pastas in the world is radiatore. You like radiatore?
Dan Pashman: Yeah, that the little—looks like an accordion.
Guy Fieri: It's called the little radiator.
Dan Pashman: Right, right.
Guy Fieri: Okay? And then the sauce just nestles itself down in there. So when you take a bite of one radiatore, you get this bite that explodes with all of the sauce and the flavor in it. I'm a texture guy. I'm really into the big textures that you get from those types of pastas. And typically, those are extruded pastas, where the pasta is pressed through a bass dye vs. sheeted out, like a linguini, or a tagliatelle or pappardelle, or one of those. So I think where you're at and my advice would be really good pasta dough and extruded and good luck after that.
Dan Pashman: Okay.
Guy Fieri: Bucatini is another one of my favorites.
Dan Pashman: Oh, that is good. I love a—oh, what do you call the...cavatappi.
Guy Fieri: Cavatappi's fantastic. But so you're in the right zone. I mean, if you're really serious about talking about this business piece, what I want to know is why aren't the quinoas, the rice, all of these non-gluten pastas, why are they only coming out in penne, fettuccini, and spaghetti? So where's that business? Where is the radiatore in the quinoa pasta?
Dan Pashman: Smart.
Guy Fieri: Could be your angle, my homie. Could be your angle.
Dan Pashman: That’s Food Network Star, Guy Fieri, and if you want to know what Guy’s been up to lately? Well in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, he raised more than $20 million for restaurant workers in need. Of course his shows on Food Network are Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Guy's Grocery Games, and more.
Dan Pashman: Next week on the show we’ll nerd out on food and language. Like, did you know that linguists believe that the name, rocky road, actually makes the ice cream taste better? We’ll explain in a special collaboration with the podcast Science Diction. That’s next week. While you wait for that one, check out last week’s show about America’s unknown regional burgers, and whether potato salad should be called salad. It’s up now. Finally, please subscribe to this podcast in Apple Podcasts or Follow in Spotify. Go ahead, you can click that right now. Thanks.