- Guy Fieri told Insider he only wore the iconic flame shirt once, before he was on the Food Network.
- Fieri wore it while opening a barbecue restaurant and has no idea where the flame shirt went.
- The chef once said he hated the shirt, but Fieri told Insider he now loves that it makes people happy.
It’s become a beloved Twitter meme, has been featured on multiple “Saturday Night Live” skits, and thousands of people — including Chrissy Teigen — have sported a knock-off version on Halloween.
Yes, we’re obviously talking about Guy Fieri’s famous flame shirt.
But what’s the real story behind the iconic shirt, which has become as synonymous with the chef as bold flavors and delicious burgers?
Fieri was happy to share it with Insider while promoting his Slider Sunday Million Dollar Showdown, partnering with King’s Hawaiian to share new slider recipes and — for one lucky fan — a very big prize.
Many people would be surprised to learn that Fieri only wore the flame shirt once, and it was long before he became a famous chef on the Food Network. Fieri sported the black bowling shirt with flames shooting from the bottom and sleeves while opening a barbecue restaurant.
“It was one day!” Fieri told Insider. “I don’t even have it. I don’t even know where it is. And the thing is people find them, someone is making a bunch of money selling flame shirts. But people get down with it.”
Fieri said he loves seeing how much joy the flame shirt brings people. He even sent a personal message to a University of Utah sorority whose members went viral on TikTok after dressing up as the chef and performing a “Guy Fieri Appreciation Dance.”
“The fact that people love it, I love it,” he said. “As long as I’m putting a smile on somebody’s face, as long as it’s making positive energy, that to me is great.”
Fieri hasn’t always loved the flame shirt. In 2017, the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” host revealed on The Sporkful podcast that he actually hated it.
“There’s a picture of me in a flame shirt that everybody loves,” he told host Dan Pashman. “I get that picture sent to me when we do fan mail — it’s the picture they send more than anything.”
Fieri went on to say that people didn’t realize his life was “a lot more mellow” than a TV persona they had come to align with fast cars and rock concerts.
“I wear shorts and tennis shoes and a T-shirt every day,” he added. “I think everybody thinks that I live on a yacht that shoots off rockets.”
As the years went by, Fieri’s flame shirt remained popular and even influenced high-fashion menswear, according to Vogue. And, with time, Fieri has come to love the flame shirt just as much as everyone else.
He told Insider it’s the “greatest form of flattery.”
“I’m happy that what I do builds business,” he said. “I’m happy it helps people. I’m happy I’m able to raise money — all of those things are positive.”
Fieri has raised millions of dollars for restaurants since the pandemic began, and now he’s giving away some cash to fans.
The chef said the Slider Sunday Million Dollar Showdown was inspired by his own weekly ritual at the Fieri household during football season.
“Sunday funday here is massive,” Fieri continued. “People will text me starting Friday like, ‘What’s gonna be on the menu? What you got going?'”
Fieri is sharing his favorite slider recipes, which people can vote on every week at KingsHawaiianShowdown.com. Each vote counts toward an entry for the million-dollar grand prize — flame shirt not included.