Dan Myers with a few scoops on one of my favorite TV shows. The setup:
The format of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (or “Triple D,” as it’s affectionately known) is simple, and in many ways brilliant: Each episode, Fieri visits about three casual-dining restaurants and spends time with the chefs, watching as they prepare their most popular menu items from start to finish. It’s part travel show, part cooking show, part hangout. Fieri’s reactions to biting into these dishes have become the stuff of legend; he’s even made up a whole new lexicon, which often revolves around taking trips to the mythical “Flavortown.”
There are few TV shows (and TV hosts) more polarizing than Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Fieri, but love it or hate it, you have to admit that Fieri is very good at his job.
What’s more, his show has allowed chefs who have been toiling in obscurity for years to have their moment in the spotlight, often resulting in hordes of new customers streaming in from around the country.
One item few of us knew:
Even though it was clear that Fieri was ready for prime-time, the show wasn’t his idea, and being from California (which, though it once had plenty of drive-ins, isn’t exactly the land of classic diners), he wasn’t too knowledgeable about the culinary landscape. According to Page, Fieri was under the impression that diners only specialized in hamburgers and thought that huge menus (which are the hallmark of many diners) were a sign of poor quality. Also, the first time a chef referred to chicken soup as “Jewish penicillin,” Fieri cracked up, thinking that the chef had invented the term.
Lots of Jewish penicillin in Brooklyn.