Guy Fieri has given out $500 grants to 43,000 restaurant workers during the pandemic


For the longest time, it was a popular pastime to hate on celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Mayor of Flavortown and the dude who basically looks like a sentient troll doll. But over the years, I feel like there’s been a steady embrace of Fieri? Maybe it’s because he actually cares about small businesses and non-chain restaurants, he’s super-charitable and compassionate, or that he not-so-secretly cares about farm-to-table quality food. This was sort of summed up by comedian Shane Torres in 2017:

It’s all true! Anyway, when the pandemic was only about two months old, Guy had already raised $22 million for restaurant workers who were struggling with the lockdowns. Turns out, he’s also been making personal pleas to corporate sponsors to provide relief to workers, AND he’s done a documentary about it:

Guy Fieri (aka the Mayor of Flavortown) raised more than $21.5 million in seven weeks to assist unemployed restaurant workers. On March 27, as businesses across the U.S. were starting to feel the devastating effects of pandemic-related closures, Fieri started the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The vast majority of the money he raised came after personal pleas to the likes of Moët Hennessy USA, PepsiCo, and Uber Eats, whose sponsorship has collectively helped roughly 43,000 people receive $500 grants.

The host of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives has also produced a documentary, Restaurant Hustle 2020, spotlighting the challenges the industry continues to face. It airs on the Food Network in December, which is also when the self-appointed mayor of Flavortown opens his delivery-only chain, Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen, in almost 200 locations, including Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Dishes include the Real Cheezy burger, which comes with Fieri’s signature donkey sauce.

[From Bloomberg]

I believe “donkey sauce” is just aioli sauce, just FYI. Anyway, all praise to Guy Fieri, who turns out to be a complete mensch. It’s also quite stark to realize that Guy has done more for restaurants and restaurant workers than literally anyone in government. The Democrats would have loved to do a more comprehensive bailout for the service industry and service workers, but you know, Mitch McConnell refused, probably because of his dark need to destroy everything about America.


Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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23 Responses to “Guy Fieri has given out $500 grants to 43,000 restaurant workers during the pandemic”

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  1. ItReallyIsYouNotMe says:

    Bless him and any other celebrity or just normal person who is able and willing to donate to people in need. (I put it in that order on purpose).

  2. Becks1 says:

    I love that Shane Torres bit because it really does sum it up. Some people really HATE Guy Fieri and I’m like….why? Is his hair awful? Yes. Is “flavortown” annoying? Yes. But what does he actually do? he spotlights small restaurants, praises them to the heavens, makes a huge deal about their menus, and then off the show he does stuff like this, raising money to help his industry. It’s so great to see someone raise money for people directly affected, especially since our government is failing them.

    • BeanieBean says:

      He also helped feed firefighters in California last year during the terrible fire season, personally doing some of the cooking (along with others).

  3. lucy2 says:

    I think he got a lot of (probably well deserved) grief for some of the menu items when his restaurant opened, but you can’t deny that he’s made a career of highlighting small businesses, and what he’s done now is flat out amazing.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I never really understood the Fieri hate either, but I do remember that below the knee restaurant review of his place in NYC which was the stepping stone for it being cool to just rag on this dude.

    His personality is extra, you know, like a television personality is suppose to have.

  5. Watson says:

    I’m down with the mayor of flavourtown. 👍

  6. MsIam says:

    Guy is cool with me! I saw a documentary that said 40% of restaurant workers in the US are woman and a lot are single moms so the impact from the pandemic restaurant closures has been really tough for them. It should be a crime that more stimulus money or at least more bonus unemployment benefits has not been approved by Congress yet.

  7. Jess says:

    He also does a lot with fundraising for cancer research and adopted his nephew after his sister died from cancer. He’s a seriously stand-up guy <3

    • Astrid says:

      And his donation of food carts to young entrepreneurs is cool too. That’s how he got his start in the food world and he continues that support today as well. he is tops in my book.

  8. pamspam says:

    Well shoot. I’m guilty of misjudging him. What a generous, kind thing to do!

  9. Joy says:

    The hate is because a LOT of foodies are ridiculous snobs. Not every restaurant can The French Laundry. Sometimes you just need a good old diner with a great waffle or messy burger. And he has pointed this out in a totally non snobby way.

    • lucy2 says:

      I am so not a foodie, and love a good diner, especially here in NJ. I’m not into super fancy restaurants, and once drove by French Laundry and said “what a strange name for a restaurant” and only later found out it’s one of the top in the world. A friend of mine, who is a total foodie, was flabbergasted when I told her.

    • liz says:

      I do love good food. I’ve eaten at some of the finest restaurants in the US, including French Laundry and Le Bernardin and loved every bite. That said, sometimes, two eggs (over easy), hash brown potatoes, rye toast and a cup of coffee is exactly what I want & need and no amount of fussy food will do.

      Guy’s restaurant in Times Square deserved the horrid reviews it got. It was a tourist trap with awful food. However, simply because the restaurant was a flop doesn’t mean that he is a bad person – HE’S NOT!!!!! To me, he ranks up with José Andres as one of the true humanitarians of the restaurant world.

  10. Gippy says:

    Love Guy! His shows are just so nice and pleasant. He’s much more liberal than he looks lol, I believe he help orchestrate a giant Lgtb wedding on the beach for several couples and he married them in his sister memory. He’s a stand up guy and he is a good cook.

  11. Jessi says:

    I think he has also done a lot of work feeding firefighters who were fighting the relentless fires out west – he seems like a stand-up dude.

  12. Enis says:

    About 10 years ago it came out he was pretty homophobic, but since then he has changed his behavior and opinions, even hosting and officiating a mass gay wedding a few years ago.

  13. souperkay says:

    I love that he went to CORPORATIONS to fund this instead of asking anyone else. I mean, I hope all this positive coverage means he will be able to shake down the corporations again, just bludgeon them with shame.

  14. Katy B says:

    I pretty much have a Guy Fieri crush. I binge watched Guy’s Grocery Games recently, and just the sheer amount of money he was giving away, and “cheating” to make it easier for the guests to win really touched me.

    Plus my autistic son is in LOVE with Guy’s burgers. It’s the one thing he’ll eat, and he loves being able to order himself and know exactly what he’ll get. But unfortunately they’re only available at large concert venues or cruise lines in our area. Fingers crossed for a frozen Fieri range.

    • NiqGee says:

      You should ask Guy on social media for a frozen line of some of his foods. Tell him your son loves them. It seems like something he would put effort into doing, based on his philanthropy.

  15. Faye G says:

    Wow, I have a new respect for him, he’s really stepped up in ways the government hasn’t. My brother is a restaurant cook, he’s so hard-working and this year has been awful for him and his family. First he was laid off, unemployment took forever to kick in, then found a new job, now laid off again… It’s just been such a roller coaster. It’s nice to know there are people who actually care about the workers on a micro level like this.

  16. schmootc says:

    I used to feel pretty lukewarm about him, but then I ran out of cooking shows I wanted to watch and glommed onto Guy’s Grocery Games. He really does seem like he’s working hard to help out as many people as much as possible.

    • Tiffany says:

      Triple G really is the best. I love the episodes when the judges/celebrity chefs play. He takes the ‘meanness’ up and level and it is never not funny.

  17. SpankyB says:

    There were a lot of complaints about his misogyny early in his TV career. Women hated working with him because all he would do is stare down their shirts. Even on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives you can see him staring at women’s chests when speaking to them.

    Glad he’s doing good things now, maybe he’s matured.