Celebrity chefs have reached rock star status in the US, and command handsome wages for television appearances, best-selling cookbooks, and road trips.
And because of America’s obsession with all things food, even food enthusiasts with no training as a chef are paid hysterically exorbitant fees.
One such example is Guy Fieri.
During high school, Guy Fieri attended a foreign exchange program to France that began his interest in food and cooking. Fieri has no training as a chef, but worked at restaurants and went on to manage and own five of them.
Now Fieri, 44, is a well-known face on the Food Network as the host of the show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” a U.S. travelogue celebrating restaurants across the country.
Fieri is also paid $100,000 for personal appearances, and landed $100,000 for a 60-minute appearance at the New York State Fair in late-August, according to contract documents. Fieri’s company, Knuckle Sandwich LLC, was also paid $1500 to cover his travel costs.
In contrast, Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s “Cake Boss,” earns $65,000 for shows. Fieri earns more than twice what touring acts like Hammer, Loretta Lynn, and the Oak Ridge Boys earn for summer shows. Like Fieri, the singer Meat Loaf commands $100,000 per show.
Besides owning a $200,000 Lamborghini, according to Motor Trend, Guy also owns a 1971 Chevy Chevelle, 1968 Pontiac Firebird, 1976 Jeep CJ-5, 1996 Chevy Impala SS, 2004 Cadillac Escalade, a 1967 Chevy C10 pickup, and a Winnebago Sightseer with bunk beds.
The Smoking Gun claims Fieri’s food empire expanded last month with the opening of Guy’s American Kitchen And Bar in Times Square.
No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has coined Fieri’s 600-seat New York eatery has a “terror dome”, and added that the frosted-tipped Fieri has “single-handedly turned the neighborhood into the Ed Hardy district.”
The Gothamist described the food at Guy’s American Kitchen as laden with fat, sugar, grease and merch by the bucketful.
So what was good?
“As far as apps, the ahi tuna tacos were arguably the best dish we sampled. The tuna was fresh and the fried wonton shell added a pleasing (if greasy) crunch but, then again, it’s kind of difficult to mess up a tuna taco.”
As for entrees?
“Equally inconsistent. The Pat LaFrieda custom blend burger wasn’t horrible, although consensus deemed it ‘like Burger King’.”
But The New York Post’s headline reaction to Guy’s new restaurant was “Look out, snobs. Haters be damned, Guy Fieri is bringing his Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders’ to Times Square.”
The Post goes on in celebration of Guy’s recent New York arrival : “Guy Fieri himself, food-TV phenomenon and all-around culinary Dude in Chief…is here on 44th Street, off Broadway.”