In his Playboy profile, "Guy Fieri Is the Hero We Need," self-described "dickhead" and "snob" Jeremy Repanich reluctantly goes to bat for flame-wearing Diners, Dive-Ins, and Drives host (and winemaker) Guy Fieri, loved by the masses and despised by "leaders of the artisanal food movement" like Anthony Bourdain. To make his case, Repanich speaks with owners of dozens of small, independent restaurants throughout the country that have "nearly all" seen an increase in business after appearances on the Food Network show. Check out the best lines from the story that will leave you feeling conflicted about "the crown prince of Flavortown."
— Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery in New York on his firm reluctance to be on Fieri's show: "'When they approached me, I was trying to think of original ways to say no,' Horowitz told me. 'It wasn't even a consideration.'"
— On Fieri's effective ice breaker: "'I think he noticed I was a little held back at the start, so he had us do some mezcal shots to loosen me up,' Horowitz says. It got them off on the right foot. 'The person we ended up hanging out with was super nice and down to earth.'"
— Repanich on Fieri's bombastic persona: "He's a supernova of kitsch."
— On critic Pete Wells' scathing review of Fieri's Times Square restaurant: "The article mined a rich vein of Fierifreude."
— Repanich on Fieri's cred: "I also found that while leaders of the artisanal food movement snobbily dismiss Fieri, they fail to recognize that Guy has become a champion of restaurants who operate with the ethos foodies hold so dear."
— Beth Barden of Succotash in Kansas City on why she prefers the positivity of Fieri's show to other Food Network offerings: "'Like, on a Kitchen Nightmares kind of thing, if you accept the help the show is offering, you have to know that you kind of give up your right to be treated with a certain level of dignity,' Barden says. 'That's not my jam. I'd rather die gracefully on my own. I am not looking for Food Network-sanctioned euthanasia.'"
— Repanich on the evolution of the celebrity chef: "What Fieri represents to the haters is the last and final stop of the celebrity chef: Emeril Lagasse taken to extreme. [...] While Lagasse looks ostensibly normal, Fieri's entire essence, from the glasses to the hair to the jewelry to the beard, is a catchphrase."
— Repanich on Farsh Askari's unfair Fieri diss in Slate: "Askari praises Nigella Lawson, the very same host who makes 'Loaded Potato Skins' chock full of cheese, sour cream and fried bacon, because he enjoys the soothing English tone of her show, ignoring the fact that she serves food that could very easily appear on a Triple-D. He knows he can't just argue against Fieri's comportment alone, because that wouldn't carry as much weight. It forces him to concoct other reasons for his distaste of Fieri, despite the hypocritical corner it backs him into."
— Jackie Sappington of the Country Cat in Portland on the trouble of judging a book by its cover: "You can look at Guy, and say, ‘He's such a dude.' But that's his personality. Looking beyond the superficiality of that, he's really helping a lot of small business owners."
— Sarah Simington of the Blue Moon Cafe in Baltimore on the profound effect Guy Fieri's show had on her business: "It took me from living on a couch and upstairs at the restaurant and sharing a car to being able to actually now have a house. My mom's been able to retire."
— Repanich on Fieri's people skills: "He was clearly more than some vapid host just taking his marching orders. Fieri [...] helped defuse a situation where a guy was blasting his stereo outside in an attempt to disrupt the taping (It took $100 and a chimichanga to resolve it—Fieri had hoped a chimichanga alone could have done the trick)."
— Repanich on the "goddamned heart attack" of a deep-fried chimichanga featured in one episode: "I imagined Guy's critics thinking, 'There he goes again,' if they saw him featuring this meal. Then I imagined those same critics if they'd first heard about this chimichanga from Anthony Bourdain. They'd think it was an act of genius."Eater Video: 10 facts you didn't know about Guy Fieri