Celebrity chef Guy Fieri was actually born Guy Ramsey Ferry, but legally changed his name in 1995 to honor his original family name (which had been changed by his paternal grandfather when he moved to the U.S. from Italy). Which might lead one to wonder if there’s some deeper meaning behind Fieri’s signature spiky hair and frosted tips … but there isn’t. That’s just who Fieri is. Love him or hate him, he has created a vast food empire, all without ever attending culinary school (he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas). As the owner of 11 restaurants, the author of a slew of bestselling cookbooks, and the host of a bevy of successful TV shows, Guy Fieri doesn’t need to explain his hair, his bomb-ass lingo, or his bling to anyone. But here are 10 things you might not have known about the Food Network icon.
1. HE GOT HIS FIRST JOB IN THE FOOD BUSINESS AT THE AGE OF 10.
At the age of 10, Fieri built a bicycle-powered pretzel cart with the help of his dad, which he called “The Awesome Pretzel.” The proceeds from this early venture, plus a second job as a dishwasher, helped Fieri earn enough money to study abroad in Chantilly, France, where he developed an even deeper appreciation for the culinary arts.
2. HE WAS ONCE TRAMPLED BY A HORSE.
Also when he was 10 years old, Fieri was thrown from a horse then subsequently trampled by it. He suffered significant damage to his liver and a bruised heart. Because his parents were backpacking in Europe at the time, an attorney had to sign a court order allowing for emergency surgery. “I was f***ed up,” Fieri told GQ of the incident. “My mom was devastated.” Fieri has a large scar on his stomach as a result of the incident.
3. HE MAKES HIS OWN WINE.
Hunt & Ryde Winery/Facebook
—named after his sons, Hunter and Ryder—features a “bomb-ass” Pinot (made from grapes grown at Fieri's own vineyard), a Zinfandel, and a Bordeaux blend. With the exception of an inconspicuous signature on the side of the bottle, the product is bereft of the flashy, flame-adorned branding that one typically associates with Fieri.
4. HE HAS STRICT RULES ABOUT WHICH PARTS OF AN ANIMAL HE'LL EAT.
Here’s how Fieri summed up his eating philosophy: “You can live super healthy and get hit by a truck and others eat the pork rinds, drink, and live to 100. So I eat, but I do not appreciate the parts of the animal that had a job. Parts that are licked, make sound, push, filter, walk, and so on are not for me.”
5. THERE’S NO LOVE LOST BETWEEN FIERI AND ANTHONY BOURDAIN.
has never been shy about sharing his opinions on Fieri, going so far as to tell Atlanta Magazine, “The minute that you become a father, certain truths become immediately obvious to you. The first second you see your daughter’s head corkscrew out of the womb and open her eyes, they are pretty much saying ‘Lose the Ramones shirt’ … I’ve made some adjustments in my life [since becoming a father]. So I sort of feel in a heartfelt way for Guy. I wonder about him. He’s 52 years old and still rolling around in the flame outfit.” In 2011, Bourdain took to Twitter to have a little fun after Fieri’s yellow Lamborghini was stolen. (For the record, the car was recovered a year later. Bourdain was not a suspect.)
When asked about Bourdain’s regular ribbing, Fieri told GQ, “It’s actually disappointing. I don’t like him making fun of people, and I don’t like him talking sh*t. And he’s never talked sh*t to my face. I know he’s definitely gotta have issues, ’cos the average person doesn’t behave that way … It’s just, What are you doing? What is your instigation? You have nothing else to f***ing worry about than if I have bleached hair or not?”
6. HE IS A FAN OF VANITY PLATES.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Fieri is a fan of vanity plates. Those that adorn his vast car collection include, but are not limited to: FOOD FYT, CADLAQ, LIVFAST, and BLKTRFL.
7. HE IS NOT A FAN OF HIS ZERO-STAR REVIEW IN THE NEW YORK TIMES.
You probably remember when The New York Times food critic Pete Wells gave Fieri’s Manhattan restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, a zero-star review in 2012. The review was, to put it mildly, scathing. And not nice. Fieri took umbrage. “He could’ve made such a great comment,” said Fieri in response. “But he dropped down to third grade and said every mean, vile thing that he could say and discredited himself. Do I have faults in the restaurant? I have faults in the restaurant today! Everybody does. His assignment was to give me no stars. He had it already planned.”
In response to Fieri’s accusations, Wells asserted that, “Nobody’s ever assigned me to give a restaurant a good review, a bad review, or any other kind of review. The Times doesn’t work that way, and I don’t work that way. The place had the same shot at earning a star or two that I’d give any other restaurant. The review tells you why it didn’t end up with one.”
8. HE HAS A PET TORTOISE.
A sulcata tortoise named Pops, to be exact. Pops lives in a pen in Fieri’s backyard in Santa Rosa, California.
9. NO DONKEYS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF FIERI'S DONKEY SAUCE.
In case you were wondering how Fieri’s signature “donkey sauce” got its name, he explained it to Las Vegas Magazine: “When I was younger, I was working on a Carnival Cruise in the kitchen. I explained to one of the other chefs that you have to put the sauce on the burgers. He has this really thick accent and asks, ‘Why?’ ‘You have to put the sauce on the burger or you’re a jackass.’ And he goes, ‘Jackass? What’s a jackass?’ ‘It’s a donkey.’ ‘Oh, so it’s donkey sauce.’ That’s really how it happened. I’ve never told that story. No one has ever asked.”
10. MELISSA MCCARTHY'S BRIDESMAIDS CHARACTER IS BASED ON HIM.
“When I first read it, the first person I thought of was Guy Fieri,” Melissa McCarthy told Conan O’Brien of her role in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids. “I kept trying to wear my glasses on the back of my head. I tried for a long time to get them to let me wear short, white, spiky hair. They’re like, 'You can’t actually be Guy Fieri!’”