On any given episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” there’s a lot to see. It starts with zippy shots up and down the streets of different towns and cities all over America, then to the crowded dining rooms of the local hidden gems that Guy Fieri is out to discover. Of course, each episode is filled with mouthwatering close-ups of some of the most outrageous, unique, and crave-inducing comfort food (even better if smothered with cheese). And above all else, there’s Fieri being Fieri, hamming it up for the cameras and dropping flavortown slang in and out of the kitchen.
But what about what viewers don’t get to see? After many years and more than 550 episodes (via IMDb), Fieri has been all over the United States of America filming "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," eating his way through more than 1,200 restaurants in the process. That’s a whole lot of content crafted into half-hour long episodes made to maximize our appetites, meaning there’s probably a lot that goes on that doesn’t ever make it to TV. So Mashed did a deep dive to reveal what really goes on behind the scenes of Triple D. This is what the cameras never show you on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."
Those dining room shots are not as candid as they seem on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
While the show does its best to capture the atmosphere at all the locations it visits, one thing you’ll never actually see on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” is what the dining room crowds actually look like on a typical day when Guy Fieri isn’t rolling through town. The Triple D producers need a controlled environment to film in, and therefore those candid shots you see of a dining room full of hungry, excited customers isn’t actually candid at all, but staged for the cameras.
According to the owners of Cafe Nooner, who were featured in season 19, restaurants have to agree to close their doors for a few days while the Triple D crew does its thing. So who are all those people you see on screen, chowing down, and sometimes chatting with Fieri himself? They are loyal customers, family and friends that have been invited by the restaurant owners to be a part of the filming process (via People). That sounds like a good reason to start sucking up to your favorite local restaurant owners … you never know when it could lead to a chance to meet the mayor of Flavortown.
The cameras hide all the prep work for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes
The whole point of watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" — besides planning all the food stops for your next road trip — is getting to see restaurant cooks from all over the country present their best, most palate provoking dishes to Guy Fieri. But what’s even cooler is that viewers all get to see how those local favorites are made from scratch. In each episode, Fieri and the cameras go behind the front counter to bring the audience into the kitchen and demonstrate how the dishes come together, right before Fieri tears into them.
What the cameras never show you, though, is the intense prep work that happens beforehand (via Food Network). Next time you’re watching a Triple D episode, notice how seamlessly the cook moves through a recipe. Ingredients are all measured out into bowls ahead of time, eggs are cracked, produce is pre-chopped and ready to go, water is boiling on the stove, ovens are preheated … you get the idea. This is by design by the show’s producers, according to Heavy Table, which went behind the scenes of an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." All the major prep work is completed well before Fieri gets in the kitchen. That way, the on-camera cooking process is smooth and organized, giving Fieri and the chefs more time to discuss the food, rather than find a missing spice or tear up while dicing onions.
There’s more food waste involved than you think on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
You’ll never see it on camera, but there’s a lot of food that gets made while shooting an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" that never gets eaten, all for the sake of getting the perfect shot. Videomaker spoke with Triple D’s executive producers, who explained there’s at least one day of filming at the restaurant that happens before Guy Fieri shows up. Part of that process is filming the kitchen and the beautiful finished plates of food that come out of it.
The crew takes serious steps to get it right, too. As the production company explained, "a burrito would be sitting there, and lit perfectly. We decided that the picture of the burrito wasn’t all that great looking by itself. But what about when they’re pouring on the hot tomato salsa or the cheese is sliding off the burrito? … We really started to embrace that part of the cooking." However, embracing that means having to make and shoot things multiple times to get it right.
Not to mention, the restaurants have to agree to make whatever Fieri wants off the menu when he gets there, even if it doesn’t get eaten for the cameras (per Thrillist). To put it in more concrete terms, the owner of Northern Waters Smokehaus in Minnesota told Twin Cities Business, "I think it cost us nearly $15,000 in wasted product and costs associated with cleaning."
You won’t see any bad food on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
There’s no doubt Guy Fieri has eaten A LOT of food while filming "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" since the program’s inception, and it’s simply statistically impossible that all of that food was delicious. Yet, one thing the cameras will never show you on Triple D is bad food, or anything that leaves Fieri wanting to spit out that first bite — and there’s good reason for that.
According to the show’s creator, David Page, the food bar is set high for Triple D. He told Heavy Table "every place we go has to make real food and it has to be good enough … we’re incredibly discerning about what it takes to get on the air." Fieri himself confirmed this when speaking with People, explaining that "not every dish is A+. But if I don’t like it, you won’t see it."
Of course, every dish can’t be Fieri’s favorite, and folks have learned to pick up on that over all the years of watching Triple D. The host confessed that sometimes after the cameras are off a cook will say to him, "well you didn’t go, like, ‘This is off the hook.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, it was good … don’t be offended, I don’t like every song that’s on the Rolling Stones album’" (via The Moment). At the end of the day, Fieri says "I don’t sell people a line of crap on the show" (via Sporkful).
Viewers never see all the research and preparation that goes into each Triple D episode
As Guy Fieri puts it, "Triple D is all about three things … food, story and character" (via Food Network). And while each and every episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" features all of those things, what the cameras show you is a shiny finished product and a story that’s been tailor-made for a half hour of television. What they don’t show you is the weeks of research and preparation that go into each location Fieri rolls up to in his red Camaro.
This process starts well before the Triple D crew comes to town, and according to producers, it can take weeks to find the right restaurant and craft the right story (via Videomaker). Cafe Nooner goes in depth on their website, explaining all the steps that happened between getting that first phone call from Food Network, and Fieri walking into their kitchen. It included rounds of phone calls and interviews, plus submitting their menu, recipes, and health inspection records. Thrillist also spoke to several restaurants that have been featured on the show who also confirmed they spent "hours on the phone with writers who develop a story around the restaurant."
Show creator David Page says "the infrastructure of producing the show is like a machine" (per Heavy Table). And with Fieri’s busy schedule, the only way the magic can happen is "with a well-coordinated research process, shooting process, and planning process," says Page.
Last minutes changes requested by Guy Fieri can create chaos
When it comes to "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," it’s all about Guy Fieri. He’s the star, the showcaser, the test-taster. He gets the final say in pretty much every decision about the show, the restaurants, and the food that gets featured (via Thrillist). And he can pretty much change his mind whenever he wants.
That means if Fieri gets to a location and wants to scrap the plan and have the kitchen whip up something else on the menu, then they have to scramble to make it happen. That happened to Minnesota restaurant Casper and Run. They told Twin Cities Business they "cooked every item on the menu three times with Guy … He wanted to try everything on the menu, just about. Then they decided what to feature."
Of course, you’ll only see smiling faces, excited chefs, and a pumped up Fieri in each episode of Triple D — the cameras will never share what kind of last minute stress might have come up along the way. And the one last minute change you’ll never see? "To be candid, we have gotten to town and canceled places because the key to the show is that they have to meet that bar," says the show’s creator (via Heavy Table).
The Triple D cameras simply can’t fully capture Guy Fieri’s personality
If Guy Fieri is known for one thing, it’s having a personality as big as his appetite (and frosted tips, of course). And while "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" works hard to capture Fieri in all his funkalicious glory, this is a man who simply can’t be contained on film. And it’s not just the aggressive use of Flavortown slang; Fieri on set is dedicated and involved, he’s deliberate about his interactions with the restaurant owners, and then, of course, when the time is right he whips out the star power and anything can happen.
Food Network walked through a day of filming on location for Triple D. It started at 7:45 a.m. with Fieri running around the set asking questions, because he likes to be as hands-on as possible. When he’s not camera ready, people say he looks and acts and talks like a regular dude. One restaurant owner who spoke to Thrillist recalled how Fieri "was a real nice, down-to-earth guy." Then, when it’s time to get the cameras rolling, "it was like he slipped his ‘Guy Fieri’ persona on like a Halloween costume."
It’s worth noting, though, that Fieri doesn’t spend too much time chatting it up with restaurant owners beforehand. A producer told People "that’s very important because they’re having a genuine, organic moment of meeting each other for the first time" when they do get in front of the camera.
There’s a ton of goofing off that goes on while filming episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
It’s true that you’re in for a good time when watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." You’ll get your fair share of Guy Fieri’s wisecracks and you might even see him try and goof around a bit in the kitchen with the chef. Fieri will do whatever it takes to make good TV, but it’s arguable that the real good time is happening behind-the-scenes.
According to various sources, there’s no shortage of goofing around between Fieri and the Triple D crew when the cameras aren’t rolling. Jokes abound, as do the pranks. There’s even been instances of flying food (via Food Network), some sort of game involving hiding meat in random places … the antics go on and on (per Heavy Table).
At the end of the day, the cameras can’t capture just how tight knit the "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" crew is. Fieri shared with Heavy Table, "the crew is vital … if I don’t have the crew there, then it doesn’t work." But it’s more than that. "These are my friends," he continued. Fieri also mentioned to Videomaker that while he’s hosted several different shows over the years, each with their own crew, he’s closest to the Triple D gang. "Crew members have paid their dues on this show and are very heavily invested in its success," he revealed.
The Triple D cameras also make sure to hide any behind-the-scenes drama
A show that’s been on air as long as "Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives" is certainly not without its share of behind-the-scenes drama. From creative disagreements to ugly lawsuits, there have been some major speedbumps on the road to Flavortown. But of course, you won’t see any of that on the show — just big smiles and big bites.
Perhaps the biggest scandal to hit Triple D was the fierce falling out between Guy Fieri and the man who helped make "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" a household name, show creator and executive producer, David Page. It’s unclear exactly what sparked the creative differences between Fieri and Page, but according to reports, Fieri demanded the network replace Page after 11 seasons.
Page didn’t go quietly. In May 2011, he sued Food Network, claiming Fieri wasn’t showing up to film episodes that he and the network were under contract for (via The Hollywood Reporter). Food Network countersued, claiming that Page had created a hostile work environment (via Star Tribune). What followed was an ugly back and forth, with harsh accusations flying from both sides. Food Network claimed Page used profane language and intimidation tactics on his staff. Page accused Fieri of being difficult to work with, making homophobic comments, and exhibiting lewd behavior on set (via the New York Post). Eventually, Page and Food Network reached a settlement, and a new production team took over Triple D (per The Hollywood Reporter).
You won’t see just how much Guy Fieri actually eats in a day of filming Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
One of the most epic moments in any episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" is when Guy Fieri takes that all-important first bite. The camera locks in on him, as his initial reaction says it all. And when Fieri does taste something amazing, his enthusiasm — and vocabulary — is unmatched.
That first bite doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Sure, sometimes Fieri can’t help himself and goes in for a second or a third bite without hesitation, much to the delight of a local chef. But one thing the Triple D cameras never really show is just how much Fieri actually eats in a full day of filming.
When Fieri and his crew hit the road, they’ve got a lot of locations to cover in a short amount of time. So Fieri will often shoot at more than one restaurant in a single day. At each of those restaurants, Fieri has to chow down on multiple dishes for the camera, sometimes more than once so the film crew can capture every angle they need. That’s a whole lot of greasy, cheesy, heavy diner food. With that in mind, Fieri keeps his on set diet as light as possible. He told People he drinks a daily green juice packed with fruits and veggies when he’s on the road.
The cameras never show how Guy Fieri’s red Camaro really gets to each Triple D location
No episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" would be complete without a shot of Guy Fieri "rolling out" in his Camaro convertible, seemingly in search of the greatest local bites America has to offer. However, if you thought Fieri was actually cruising from town to town in a little red Chevy, you’re in for a disappointment. Turns out the Camaro is just for the cameras, and nothing more.
In an interview with People, Fieri revealed that the Camaro is brought to each city in a trailer, and a crew member gets it to each filming location. Besides shooting the intro, Fieri is filmed opening and closing the car door, and that’s about it. This might make more sense when you consider the fact that the 1968 Camaro is worth about $100,000 (via People). Also, Fieri is a classic car collector who would probably never put that many miles on one of his treasured pieces.
Guy Fieri brings a special guest to every taping of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Besides his spiky blonde hair and penchant for slang words involving "funk", Guy Fieri is known for being highly involved in charity events and organizations. From raising money for disabled children, to serving meals to wildfire victims, to his most recent effort creating the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help food workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (raising $24 million in the process), Fieri has had his hands in a range of philanthropic efforts (via CBS News). But perhaps the organization closest to his heart is the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Fieri’s connection to Make-A-Wish is personal. He watched his sister beat cancer as a child, and then ultimately die when it returned during adulthood. Fieri told Thrillist he is so heavily involved with the organization that works to put smiles on the faces of children suffering with cancer because "I remember what it’s like to be in a hospital with her. I remember that feeling of just being bored and tired." So, as part of his effort to help sick children and their families, Fieri told Delish that he invites a kid from the Make-A-Wish network — and their entire family — to each taping of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." You’ll never see them on camera, but there will always be a special guest behind-the-scenes — and that’s sweeter than any funkalicious dessert Fieri is going to get to try.
What happens when the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives cameras are gone?
We all know what happens when the "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" cameras are on. The red Camaro rolls up, the kitchen goes into high gear, Guy Fieri does his thing, and that’s a wrap. But what happens once the cameras are gone?
After dozens of seasons and hundreds of restaurants visited, the Triple D effect is no hidden secret at this point. When the "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" crew decides to roll through town, the local joints that get featured know that their humble little spot may never be the same. What usually follows is a huge windfall of business, from locals and hungry tourists alike. Fieri tells owners to prepare for a whopping 200% increase in business (via Thrillist). And that’s just right off that bat. Restaurants also report recurring rushes in business every time a rerun of their episode airs. And anyone who’s watched the Food Network knows that "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" marathons are a common occurrence.
However, it’s worth noting that appearing on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" doesn’t automatically guarantee lasting success for a restaurant. Flavortown USA, which tracks Triple D locations around the country, notes dozens of restaurants that have closed since Fieri paid a visit.