EXCLUSIVE: Guy Fieri on Dealing with 'Loser' Critics: 'Anybody That Pays Attention to Hate Is Wasting Their Time'
With multiple top-rated Food Network shows, an ever-expanding restaurant empire, five cookbooks (plus another on the way), his own winery, and a line of sauces, Guy Fieri has proven himself a culinary force to be reckoned with. Despite this massive success, he’s certainly had his fair share of naysayers — but he doesn’t seem to mind.
“Anybody that pays attention to hate really is wasting their time. I don’t subscribe. I don’t buy in,” he told PEOPLE on Wednesday at the Carnival Summertime Beer-B-Que in New York City. “If you’ve really got a problem with me and you came and told me you had a problem with me, I’d be interested to listen to you. But if you’re just some loser that sits there and hammers away on some blog form or whatever, I don’t have time for that. Why even worry about it?”
His most recent on-going feud was with fellow celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who consistently criticized Fieri’s look and bemoaned his New York City restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. Fieri concluded that Bourdain’s “definitely gotta have issues.”
Such critiques didn’t start or stop with Bourdain. In 2012, Pete Wells delivered a now infamous scathing New York Times review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar—in which he compared a blue drink to “nuclear waste” and gave the restaurant 0 out of 4 stars. Fieri defended his New York eatery on the Today show, commenting that he felt the review was “ridiculous” and that Wells went “overboard.”
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Despite these setbacks, Fieri maintains an optimistic outlook — something that was instilled in him from a young age. “I was raised with hippie parents, so I get down with the positive,” he says. “I don’t pay attention to the negative.”
Instead, he keeps a focus on his restaurants and all the good his brand contributes.
“I look at what my shows do for people, what they do for businesses. I look at what my restaurants do for employment, what they do for community and for guests that come in and dine.”