After opening dozens of restaurants and filming countless hours of food TV, Guy Fieri has developed some very specific opinions about comfort food. And in a new interview with Billions creator/podcaster/filmmaker Brian Koppelman, the Food Network star explains that sometimes, while filming Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, he doesn’t always love all the dishes that he has to eat on camera.
“A close watcher of the show can tell the difference from when you’re genuinely blown away, and when it’s just like, ‘Good, nice job, I can see why people like it,’” Koppelman says to Fieri. “I’m not selling you a bag of beans, baby,” he replies. The Spiky One then explains what it’s like to film at a restaurant where he’s less than thrilled by the food:
Some chefs that’ll see it... will do their investigation. And, you know, they’ve watched the show for years. We’ll go to commercial, and they’ll go, “Well, did you like that?” And I’m like, “Yeah it was good.” And they’ll go, “Well you didn’t go, like, ‘This is off the hook.’” And I’m like, ‘Well, it was good.” And I’m like, “Don’t be offended, I don’t like every song that’s on the Rolling Stones album. There’s ones that you like.”
Later, the Donkey Sauce inventor explains what happens when chefs then ask for tips on how to improve their food:
If they ask, I’ll tell ‘em. I’ll say, “Listen, here’s the deal. You’ve got to treat the bun. You can’t take a bun out of the package [and] put it down. You’ve done all this work. You’ve got this fresh, local beef. You’ve grown the vegetables yourself. You make this fantastic aioli. And then you slap it on a bun out of a plastic bag and you didn’t toast it? You didn’t butter it? You’ve got to give it treatment.” And they’ll look at me [and say], “Really?” And I’ll go, “Yeah, let’s do this. Let’s make it.” And then sometimes before we even leave the restaurant, we’ll go and bust it out a couple times.
I don’t have any problem — I mean, I’ve cooked all this stuff six ways to Sunday. I’ve been around forever doing this, so I know where they’re going to miss it. And, I’m not there to tell them how to change their restaurant — that’s not my job. That’s not what my show is all about. But if they ever ask, I always want to offer advice to them if I can, and help them out. I mean, as we all do as chefs, we all support one another, and we all try to help each other grow.
So if Guy Fieri rolls up to your restaurant with his camera crew, please, by all means, do something with that bun.
Elsewhere in this interview, Fieri also talks about how he got his big break on the Food Network, and how he handled that zero-star review from Times critic Pete Wells. “I got a million times more opportunity and experience out of that situation than anybody probably could have imagined,” he says about the aftermath of that negative review.