In the landscape of 2019, as fraught and complicated and nightmarish as it can all feel, Flavortown seems like a pretty nice place.

By Margaret Eby
September 24, 2019
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

The corner of Instagram devoted to food and food-related celebrities can be a joyful, colorful place, but it can also feel very claustrophobic. The same photos of beautiful grain bowls, the same overhead shots of hands with forks dipping into a shared feast, the same endless procession of tomato tarts or Maldon-flecked chocolate cakes abound. (And yes, I am totally guilty of this.) It’s visually pleasing, but if you scroll too much, it feels wearying, like passing through room after room with the same wallpaper. And then there’s Guy Fieri’s Instagram account.

Over on Guy Fieri’s Instagram, you can find the chef making a trashcan full of nachos. He goes to Metallica concerts with his son, and plays a rack of hanging pots and pans with a whisk and a wooden spoon. On Guy Fieri’s Instagram, you can find the man looking lovingly over his signature sunglasses at a guitar signed by Sammy Hagar that’s being used as a sushi plate. On Guy Fieri’s Instagram, you’re more likely to find a meme of Fieri as, say, Simba from The Lion King under the banner The Flavor King or a mockup promo of Law & Order: Flavortown than a tomato tart. Over Labor Day, his account featured the laborers of Flavortown, including a photo of Fieri as an old-timey tailor highlighted as “Grant Fibre,” the man responsible for making “flame emblazoned fabrics all day.” On Guy Fieri’s Instagram, you can request a knuckle sandwich via emoji to celebrate a life event and Fieri will comply in the comments.

Guy Fieri’s Instagram is fun. It’s not fussy, it’s not obsessed with getting the perfect shot of an egg yolk rivulet dripping over a piece of toast. As social media presences have gotten more manufactured—more clipped and manicured and policed—it feels like a refreshing bit of silliness in the endless scroll. I’ve found myself subscribing to more meme accounts to break up the stream of low-key vacation brags, bedrooms full of crystals and plants, weddings, babies, and advertisements for wide-legged pants that seem to have taken over my feed. Fieri’s account gives me the same feeling as running across something funny and unexpected on the internet, something that felt more likely to happen a decade ago than now.

It has the delightful quality of a celebrity who can not only take a joke, but also embrace it. No doubt this is not just by accident—Fieri has a flavor empire, and modern empires usually knight social media consultants. But still, props to Fieri and his people for leaning in to his frosted-tip, diner-loving, flame-embroidered self. It’s a well-timed reminder about why most of us love food to begin with—not just because it’s nourishing, but because it can be flamboyant, weird, entertaining, and over-the-top.

Guy Fieri has gotten a bad rap from food snobs for too long. Yes, he loves Ed Hardy and has a goatee, and often describes sandwiches he likes as “money.” But Fieri also raises chickens in his yard, grows his own tomatoes, and brings a juicer in the back of his Camaro during shoots. In 2017, while the fires in Northern California leveled whole towns, Fieri worked with the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a crew of chefs to help feed 5,000 evacuees a day. In the landscape of 2019, as fraught and complicated and nightmarish as it can all feel, Flavortown feels like a pretty nice place. Through it all, Fieri has maintained the slow, steady drumbeat that food can be a good time, and so-called good taste is less important than what actually tastes good. We have bigger burdens to bear than Donkey Sauce. Follow Guy Fieri. You won’t regret it.

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