Guy Fieri

California food dude Guy Fieri’s platinum blond spikes, radical shades and totally insane enthusiasm for feel-good grub transformed him from humble Santa Rosa restaurateur to America’s most-recognizable rock star chef. Since busting onto the Food Network lineup in 2006 with “Guy’s Big Bite,” the irrepressible co-owner of the Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s restaurant brands has taken our taste buds on an all-American road trip with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” which spawned two best-selling “Triple D” cookbooks. With his new gig as host of NBC’s “Minute to Win It” and a new cookbook, “Guy Fieri Food,” a compilation of 125 of his favorite recipes, Fieri’s career is definitely on cruise control.

Guy Fieri

You’ve mentioned your childhood in Ferndale, Calif., where you sold soft pretzels at the age of 10 from a cart. Was that your first job?

Naw, I had a bunch of jobs as a kid. I was a very business-driven person. When I was 6, I walked down to Smith and Scalvini appliance store and got a refrigerator box from them, dragged it back to the little courtyard next to my mom and dad’s leather shop and cut a window in the box. I colored it with my crayons and taped a stick so it would stay up like a little counter. I got 25 cents from my dad and went across the street to the candy store and bought all the penny candy I could, and I set it up there on my little counter and sold candy to the tourists. I didn’t know why I was selling it or why they would buy it from me, but here was this little kid standing in this cardboard box selling candy. I remember Trudy, the lady who owned the candy store, looking across the street at me selling candy.

 
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California food dude Guy Fieri’s platinum blond spikes, radical shades and totally insane enthusiasm for feel-good grub transformed him from humble Santa Rosa restaurateur to America’s most-recognizable rock star chef. Since busting onto the Food Network lineup in 2006 with “Guy’s Big Bite,” the irrepressible co-owner of the Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s restaurant brands has taken our taste buds on an all-American road trip with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” which spawned two best-selling “Triple D” cookbooks. With his new gig as host of NBC’s “Minute to Win It” and a new cookbook, “Guy Fieri Food,” a compilation of 125 of his favorite recipes, Fieri’s career is definitely on cruise control.

Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri

You worked your way up from dishwasher to owning your own restaurant chains. Were you always good with money?

I was always a kid who had money in his pocket. That was something that my dad always taught me — make sure you always have enough money to get home. I still, to this day, stash money in my briefcase, my backpack, the visor of my car. I was ready (to buy a restaurant) when I was 20. For some reason, I was given a worldly view at a very young age or looked at life from that perspective.

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California food dude Guy Fieri’s platinum blond spikes, radical shades and totally insane enthusiasm for feel-good grub transformed him from humble Santa Rosa restaurateur to America’s most-recognizable rock star chef. Since busting onto the Food Network lineup in 2006 with “Guy’s Big Bite,” the irrepressible co-owner of the Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s restaurant brands has taken our taste buds on an all-American road trip with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” which spawned two best-selling “Triple D” cookbooks. With his new gig as host of NBC’s “Minute to Win It” and a new cookbook, “Guy Fieri Food,” a compilation of 125 of his favorite recipes, Fieri’s career is definitely on cruise control.

Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri

Photo by PR Photos

Now that you’ve made it, is it easier to spend it?

I don’t spend a lot of money. My wife, Lori, and I took the kids (sons Hunter, 15, and Ryder, 5) down (to Los Angeles) to see the premiere of “Cars 2.” We couldn’t get a flight to get back in time, so we took a private flight home. That, to me, is probably the biggest splurge. We both looked at each other — I don’t want to say feeling guilty, there was no choice — but, how nice. We were walking around Universal Studios and an hour and a half later we’re at home cooking dinner. That was a neat treat to have.

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California food dude Guy Fieri’s platinum blond spikes, radical shades and totally insane enthusiasm for feel-good grub transformed him from humble Santa Rosa restaurateur to America’s most-recognizable rock star chef. Since busting onto the Food Network lineup in 2006 with “Guy’s Big Bite,” the irrepressible co-owner of the Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s restaurant brands has taken our taste buds on an all-American road trip with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” which spawned two best-selling “Triple D” cookbooks. With his new gig as host of NBC’s “Minute to Win It” and a new cookbook, “Guy Fieri Food,” a compilation of 125 of his favorite recipes, Fieri’s career is definitely on cruise control.

Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri

“Minute to Win It” seems like a significant step into the big time for you. Are you comfortable being a prime time game show host?

I never envisioned being on television, but the opportunities have been fantastic. I love “Minute to Win It.” I would definitely stay in this realm of work. I’ll always be a chef, I’ll always cook, always own restaurants. That’s my core. But I really do enjoy these other projects.

I like doing things that make other people happy. That’s what cooking is: making people happy, feeding them good food. That’s the same thing that happens with “Minute to Win It”; everyday people playing simple games and making ridiculous money. We’re not talking, “You’ve won $1,250 and a toaster,” we’re talking people winning 50-grand, 125-grand, 250-thousand. That’s a s—load of money! It’s like being the dude standing in line at the minimart behind the guy who gets the winning lottery ticket, and you’re standing there with him and he’s going crazy. I love that opportunity that it gives me. I’m all about positive energy.

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