They don’t call him the mayor of Flavortown for nothin’.
Guy Fieri is passionate about giving back, doubling down to lend a helping hand to a major national fundraiser for restaurant workers who suffered financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The celebrity chef got candid with Fox News about his partnership with the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund and what fuels his fire, also sharing how COVID-19 has affected Food Network filming and what he’s been cooking with his family.
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To date, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation has raised over $21.5 million to assist over 43,000 restaurant employees, providing workers in all 50 states with one-time $500 grants, a spokesperson told Fox News.
From coast to coast, the foodservice industry has been devastated by the ongoing outbreak, amid restaurant closures, restricted operations and self-isolation efforts from the public. Thus, the present moment has marked a critical time to step up for those who serve, Fieri said.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business my whole life. It’s always what I wanted to do, it’s what I love. And the restaurant business and industry, it’s always there for people,” he dished. “They’re there for all your occasions – the good ones and the bad ones – they’re there to make you feel good, they’re there as a convenience. There’s all kinds of things that the restaurant and hospitality [industries] do for society.”
“Now, here we are in a very difficult time where restaurants are closing or are closed, or they’re only allowed to serve outside, or they can only have people in the bar, and on and on and on.”
Amid a future of great uncertainty, the opportunity to rally support through the fundraising campaign has been remarkable, Fieri said.
“I’ve run into so many people on the street and they go, ‘I got that money, that happened, I really got it!’” he shared.
“Granted, there are way more than 40,000 people without jobs in the restaurant business, but just to be able to make a little bit of an impact and a little bit of a contribution – and not just the money, but let people in the industry know how much we all love and care and support them,” he continued.
“I’ve done some really cool things in my career, but I think the ability to bring all those key people together and raise that kind of money – I’ll never forget this one,” he added.
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As for personal projects, the television host said that that the pandemic has totally transformed filming for his signature Food Network programming, at least for the time being.
“We haven’t been able to shoot ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ because we’ve been sheltering in place, so we started shooting ‘Triple D’ here at the house, and having some of our favorite locations send their recipes to us,” Fieri said. “Then Hunter, my oldest son, and I would prepare the recipes and finish it for them. We did all this while doing a live video conference.
“So, it’s been a blast. We did a bunch of them, and getting ready to shoot some more.”
“We also have our show, ‘Guy’s Grocery Games,’ which again, we couldn’t bring everybody into the studio because we have 150 people to pull that show off. So we’re doing a new show right now called ‘Triple G Delivery,’” he revealed.
“So what we’re doing is sending boxes of food to our chefs at home, and then giving them the challenges that they have to play using the food,” he said, adding that the “really funny” project is going great.
“Fortunately, giving some folks some work, giving some chefs some recognition, giving some fans some entertainment – you name all of it!” he exclaimed.
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As for favorite Fieri family recipes of late, the restauranteur said that he and his folks had fun with different Heluva Good! Dip products while traveling from campground to campground on a recent road trip adventure.
The Flavortown king has teamed up with the brand for a Fully Loaded Sweepstakes, encouraging all savvy snackers to submit their wildest recipes using the dip for a chance to win a one-on-one recipe jam session with the legend himself.
“We were taking the dips and just incorporating them into the different dishes that we were making and coming up with these crazy recipes,” he explained. “It was nice to see that you can incorporate something that you’re doing as a family and something that you’re doing for work and really make the two of them come together.”