Guy Fieri is the real deal.
The out-of-bounds chef, restauranteur and self-described “mayor of Flavortown” has a funkalicious Food Network empire spanning “Guy’s Grocery Games” and the catchphrase-filled travelogue “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” His latest, “Tournament of Champions” (Sundays, 8 EDT/PDT), is a bracket-style competition that pits 16 chefs in fast-paced cooking battles using different types of protein, produce and equipment.
The show’s second season, which premiered March 7, has a COVID-era twist: Every time a chef wins a round, $10,000 is donated to their favorite local restaurant in need. It’s one small part of Fieri’s pandemic relief efforts, raising $25 million for restaurant workers around the country since last March. Many people on Twitter have compared him to Dolly Parton, who donated $1 million to help fund the Moderna vaccine.
“I love to have my name mentioned with Dolly – she’s awesome,” Fieri says. “And there are so many people who did so much that didn’t get all the recognition they deserve. But that’s just what we do as a country: we support and get involved and we help.”
Fieri, 53, is also launching a series of delivery-only pop-ups called Flavortown Kitchen in restaurants that have been affected by the pandemic. He tells USA TODAY about “Tournament of Champions” and more.
Question: How did you wish to incorporate COVID relief…