December 15, 2021

Guy Fieri named 2021 Ambassador of Hospitality

Celebrity chef’s efforts during pandemic helped raise awareness of and funding for restaurant workers.

Fieri's support of chefs, their employees, and the restaurant industry has been well-known for years.

It’s no secret that Guy Fieri loves the restaurant industry. His support of chefs, their employees, and restaurants at large has been well-known for years. 

But in this last year and a half, Fieri has used his voice and influence to spotlight the devastation the pandemic is causing the restaurant industry and especially the people who rely on it for a living.

At the height of the pandemic, the nationally celebrated chef-restaurateur and award-winning TV host joined forces with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to mobilize industry members and the American public to donate money to the NRAEF’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

The program ended up raising more than $21.5 million to help more than 43,000 out-of-work restaurant employees.

In recognition of Fieri’s efforts, the Foundation named him the 2021 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality, its most prestigious honor, presented annually to an outstanding industry leader, advocate and role model. 

Right on the money!

Fieri and Food Network President Courtney White came up with the idea to use the Tournament of Champions show as the springboard for the fundraising. 

Fieri called White, saying: “Listen, we've got restaurants going out of business, chefs that have restaurants going out of business. We have chefs that have friends with restaurants that are hurting.” That’s how the network ended up donating $10,000 to a restaurant selected by the winner of each round of the show.

In addition to his work for RERF, Fieri co-directed Restaurant Hustle 2020: All on the Line, a documentary about four chefs trying to stay in business during the pandemic. He also oversees The Guy Fieri Foundation, which has served more than 120,000 meals from its “Rescue Trailer” mobile kitchen, and actively supports military service members and veterans.

Foundation president Rob Gifford said Fieri’s leadership and quick action to help thousands of restaurant workers represented the true spirit of the Ambassador of Hospitality award.

“Guy’s support for our industry and restaurant employees is more important than ever,” he said.  “He’s an inspiring leader and an example for everyone as we work together to get our communities and restaurant workers back on their feet, and back to building futures in this industry.”

Reflecting ideals of industry icons

Van Eure, daughter of Thad and Alice Eure, original owners of the renowned Angus Barn restaurant in Raleigh, N.C., for whom the Ambassador of Hospitality award is named, said she was proud to present this award to Fieri, “Who so beautifully reflects their ideals.”

Greg Cook, executive vice president for Ecolab, sponsor of the AOH award said the company was proud to partner with him on the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, and thanked him for raising awareness and donations for the cause.

“I’m truly honored to receive this award,” Fieri said. “Restaurants feed more than just our stomachs; they nourish our communities. Supporting the hard-working people behind those businesses is more important than ever.”