In the frequently “me-first” world of reality television – and its associated cousins – selflessness isn’t a trait seen frequently.
And if you saw the early days of the Food Network shows featuring Guy Fieri, you’d never guess that he’s at the forefront of COVID-19 relief.
In a comforting turn, Fieri is giving back to his restaurant roots. He’s raised about $25 million toward employee relief for those in the food-service industry affected by the pandemic.
He latched on to his visibility and, when he asked, people responded.
According to a story in Maxim, Fieri was working out in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic when he became very worked up.
With the lockdowns, Fieri estimated the small business restaurateurs had maybe a 10-day runway – that’s it – before they would be out of cash.
“It was mid-March 2020, and he was on his elliptical machine — Fieri comes up with a lot of his ideas during cardio — when he decided to ask his business manager for contact info for CEOs of major corporations.”
Among his emails sent to solicit relief funds was one to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“I’m not into shaming people and telling who didn’t donate, that’s not my style,” Fieri said in the story. “Jeff (Bezos), by the way, didn’t help us.”
Fieri has a major new TV deal that will help keep the effort going.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote of Fieri:
“He’ll anchor at least four primetime shows on Food Network this year, with at least three others … in development.”
And, Fieri told Hollywood Reporter, he’s well aware of his own visibility.
“Nothing can replace what this kind of recognition, appearing on TV, can do for these people and their businesses … for their lives,” he told the outlet. “I need to keep doing this because it just needs to be done.”