Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar: The accountable celebrity

If you’ve ever turned on the Food Network, you’ve probably seen a show with Guy Fieri. The “chef” goes all across the country on his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, in search of, you guessed it, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Fieri made his way onto Food Network after winning the Next Food Network Star show in 2006. There probably wasn’t much chance the gelled up blond haired face we see now on tv ever would have made it there if not for that show.

Where am I going with this? Fieri really doesn’t have much to offer, in my opinion, in terms of anything culinary. Standing in the foreground while he interviews owners of restaurants around the country about their signature dishes is great and all, but this guy has a cooking show and now owns multiple restaurants — why? Personality. He is apparently likable, but clearly not by everyone.

Pete Wells, NY Times food critic absolutely SKEWERED him in a review posted two days ago. You think that Saturday Night Live skewered George W. Bush during his two terms as president, then you haven’t seen anything yet. You can read the entire review here, but a few quotes you shouldn’t miss:

When you saw the burger described as “Guy’s Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche,” did your mind touch the void for a minute?

and

Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?

This sort of begs the question (and not just regarding Fieri): Should restaurants owned by celebrity chefs be held accountable and to the same or higher standards than those opened by just a new rising chef or anyone else for that matter? These celebrities are on TV, cooking shows, product lines, in the spotlight and I think are often held to this higher standard. Is it fair? Maybe not. But in some ways I probably agree that they should be held to a higher standard. If you’re going to tell me what to eat, it better be good.  Fieri may not be a great chef, in fact it hurts me to use those two words in once sentence, but he should still be held accountable for his restaurant. His restaurants rating on yelp gives him 2.5 stars and on Urbanspoon, a whopping 2 stars.

As crazy as it sounds, I feel like I need to try this restaurant, just so I confirm how awful (or maybe, just maybe good) it is. Only problem is, I’d have to venture into Times Square…

About Evan Halperin

I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat what I cook. Now, I will share with you what I like to cook. My wife and I may be a vegetarian and a carnivore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cook a nice meal with both, without compromising taste. I will share my creative meals of the Carnivore and the Vegetarian.
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2 Responses to Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar: The accountable celebrity

  1. Kary says:

    For the most part I think celebrity “chefs” are pushing their and Fieri’s restaurant fits his brand perfectly. I, however, wouldn’t go there thinking I was going to get a good meal.

  2. I think that most people who would read the Times review probably wouldn’t expect Fieri’s place to be good. The clientele that his restaurant attracts probably doesn’t care about a bad review

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