Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Deconstructing Guy Fieri
There are two types of hosts on cooking shows, chefs and personalities. Anthony Bourdain is a chef. He went to the Culinary Institute of America. He rose through the ranks of the sweaty kitchens, wrote a bestseller and now makes most of him money doing personal appearances. Rachel Ray is a personality. She's cute and perky and has introduced more than one annoying catch phrase into the vernacular. But she has never run a restaurant.
Guy Fieri has some cooking chops but he definitely falls on the personality side of the scale. At the Anthony Bourdain and David Chang "I Call Bullshit" show I saw recently, Chang, who runs the hottest restaurant in New York was quoted in Grub Street as saying cooking is not about “fuckin’ sunglasses and that stupid fuckin’ armband.” He then made Bourdain swear to push him down the stairs if he started dressing that way.
Bourdain as a TV chef himself had some more sympathy. He said that the price of being Guy Fieri is that every day you have to wake up and be Guy Fieri. As fate would have it, as I was returning to my hotel Sunday morning, Guy and his entourage stepped out of the elevator. I followed them out to the front of the hotel and took some pictures. Guy saw my workout clothes and asked me if I had been running. I said I had jogged up from the World Trade Center site and he seemed politely impressed (I later checked, it was two miles away). So if Guy is a jerk, he wasn't one to me.
Still, Fieri was in his full Poochie-becomes-a-Juggalo costume. So like a master chef does to a fine meal, lets deconstruct what it takes to be Guy Fieri.
Frosted tips. It takes more product to keep that bleached Sonic the Hedgehog look going that most guys ever own. The spiked hair must take an hour every day all by itself.
Sunglasses. It's not enough to be wearing wrap-around sunglasses at nine in the morning, they have to be logo-ed in silver.
Earring. Like a goatee (which Guy also sports), I thought the guy-lobe had gone by the wayside, but they live on. I just hope he has the correct ear in case he goes cruising in Chelsea.
Necklace. Only Mr. T wears more metal around his neck than this silver monstrosity that screams Intercontinental Belt Champion. Somewhere a Navajo jeweler is counting his coins.
Embroidered Bowling Shirt. Just how much needlepoint does it take before a Tony Soprano shirt qualifies for its own Pride Day Parade? I'm not sure Dolly Parton owns that many rhinestones.
Armband. The most perplexing signature piece of the ensemble is the wrist band pushed up onto the forearm. While Wikipedia has an explanation, it still seems just a mite ridiculous.
Bracelet. And since the wristband is not in the traditional spot on the wrist, that frees up some space for some more bling.
Watch. Guy has a busy schedule. He's about to go on a 22 city tour so he needs to know what time it is.
Thumb Ring. Just so that the left hand doesn't feel jealous, the sinister digits get some bling as well.
Cargo Shorts. The only celebrity that can carry off the halfway between the knee and the ankle hem line is Kevin Smith and that is because he is going for Cinematic Slob rather than Redneck Restaurateur.
Logo Patch. When it comes to branding, Guy has his logo on him more places than Tiger Woods has swooshes on the 18th hole of Augusta. You're Guy Fieri. We get it. Just how many subliminal Knuckle Sandwich shots do we need?
Black Socks. (not pictured) The bad boy image just doesn't work if you are wearing white anklets. The black crew socks go with the sneakers like mustard on a hot dog.
It IS a full time job being Guy Fieri. Elton John doesn't get this dolled up to make a public appearance. As Anthony Bourdain sighs with resignation, "It's a Food Network world." We just live in it. And Guy Fieri plays the part of the court jester, costume and all.