Longtime Food Network star Guy Fieri is garnering lots of praise on social media for his great efforts to financially assist unemployed restaurant workers in 2020, with some crediting the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives host of "doing more than Congress" to help people in need. Through his Restaurant Employee Relief Fund charity, Fieri personally sought donations from major corporate sponsors from PepsiCo to Uber Eats. In just seven weeks' time, between March and August, Fieri had helped raise more than $21.5 million.
"Guy Fieri has raised $21.5 million for unemployed restaurant workers, which means Guy Fieri has done more for unemployed restaurant workers than Congress has in the last 8 months," tweeted Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price.
"Who would've thought that as 2020 comes to an end, we'd be praising Dolly Parton & Guy Fieri for doing what the government couldn't or wouldn't..." country singer Joanie Reb similarly tweeted, referring to Parton's financial donations for a COVID vaccine.
"God Bless #GuyFieri!" Van Hipp of American Defense International also said. "He's already raised $21.5M for unemployed restaurant workers and stands w/our Mom & Pop shops to keep them open. He walks the walk and knows that #smallbusiness is the engine of America & the backbone of the free enterprise system."
Even comedian and actor Patton Oswalt got in on the praise by tweeting, "Just your occasional reminder that @GuyFieri is a ridiculously good human who walks it like he talks it."
Fieri will also explore the impact this year has left on restaurant workers in a new documentary set to be released this month. Co-directed by Fieri and Frank Maston, Restaurant Hustle 2020: All On the Line previously screened at the virtual DOC NYC film festival ahead of its television debut on the Food Network. The movie specifically highlights the hardships and challenges faced by chefs Maneet Chauhan, Antonia Lofaso, Marcus Samuelsson, and Christian Petroni.
"I've traveled coast to coast visiting thousands of restaurants across the country on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and after all the time on the road, it's clear that restaurants are the heart and soul of their communities," Fieri said of the movie. "When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the impact on the restaurant industry was immediate. Restaurant Hustle 2020: All On the Line provides a real and intimate first-hand look into the lives of four top restaurateurs as they navigate through it all."
Fieri's reputation for helping others also made the headlines in Ohio over the summer. In relation to controversy over a Christopher Columbus statue in the city, a petition was launched to rename Columbus, Ohio as Flavortown, as Fieri was born in Columbus. It was possibly created in jest, but as of this writing, over 130,000 people have added their names to the petition.
"Why not rename the city Flavortown?" the petition asks. "The new name is twofold. For one, it honors Central Ohio's proud heritage as a culinary crossroads and one of the nation's largest test markets for the food industry. Secondly, cheflebrity Guy Fieri was born in Columbus, so naming the city in honor of him (he's such a good dude, really) would be superior to its current nomenclature."
Restaurant Hustle 2020: All On the Line will premiere on the Food Network on Sunday, Dec. 27 at 9/8c. Some details of this story come to us from Newsweek, and you can check out the petition to rename Columbus as Flavortown at Change.org.