Talking with ET’s Kevin Frazier from Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII alongside his two sons and nephew — Hunter, 27, Ryder, 17, and Jules, 22 — the 55-year-old “Mayor of Flavortown” doubled down on his rule that any potential successors earn two degrees in order to take over.
While he still believes in his sentiment — which is similar to the one Shaquille O’Neal made about his children earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in order to receive an inheritance — Fieri says he is convinced more and more each day that his three boys will follow through.
“Jules was in the law program at Loyola Marymount, Rider’s graduating high school, Hunter’s in the master’s program at the University of Miami. I told them, if these guys want it, they gotta give me two degrees,” Fieri told ET. “Two post-grad and then they can go after it. But they’re gonna run this show. I will be out folks.”
In December, while talking with Fox News, Fieri first shared his controversial and now-viral comments about Hunter, Jules and Ryder taking over the business — which includes his restaurants and food businesses — stating that he follows O’Neal’s golden rule when it comes to pursuing higher education.
“I told them the same thing my dad told me: ‘When I die, you can expect that I’m gonna die broke, and you’re gonna be paying for the funeral,'” Fieri told the network. “And I told my boys, ‘None of this that I’ve been building are you gonna get unless you come and take it from me.'”
“Shaq said it best: if you want any of this cheese, you gotta get me two degrees,” Fieri said. “Well, my two degrees mean post-graduate. So, they’re on their way.”
During their recent interview with ET, however, Fieri’s three kids — two of whom he shares with wife, Lori, 52, and the third he took under his wing after his sister’s 2011 death — expressed their doubt and skepticism that the Food Network icon will ever really hand over the reins.
“I know for a fact you are never leaving, ok?” said Hunter. “And you’re never gonna retire, you know that? I know you.”
One thing he is willing to give his sons control over is his Flavortown Tailgate at the Super Bowl each year, which he says he feels confident enough that his sons will nail.
“This is my last year,” he said of the epic party during the NFL big game. “From now on, it’s theirs. So we’re gonna make Hunter be general manager of it, Ryder will be involved in charge of all the activities and Jules will handle the music.”
Hunter added that they would still pay their dad accordingly for his contributions, which Fieri said he would find a way to get to no matter what.
“Gotta take care of him,” the eldest son told ET.
“I’m gonna be skipping right off the top,” Fieri joked. “I’m gonna do this Vegas-style — I’m taking my little piece.”