Flagstaff Chef Wins Food Network Show, Donates Winnings to Special Olympics Arizona

Posted By on January 7, 2021
John Conley

Flagstaff Chef John Conley, owner of Salsa Brava and Fat Olives restaurants, appeared on an episode of Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” on Dec. 30. He won the contest, and gave the funds to Special Olympics Arizona. 

The premise of the episode had Guy Fieri bringing together three “OG” Diners, Drive-ins and Dives chefs to create dishes in their own restaurants using a box of delivery groceries from Guy and his son, Hunter.

Cooking from Fat Olives restaurant, Conley came out on top after the two rounds of cooking his takes on a “Fried Feast” and “Takeout,” giving him a chance to spin the wheel of winnings.  He was awarded $10,000 prior to the spin, and had the chance to get that up to $20,000, or risk it all.  Conley immediately took the $10,000 and told Guy he was donating it all to Special Olympics. 

“I’ll take it,” Conley said without hesitation.  “We are going to take that $10,000 and try to grow it. Arizona, I’m asking for your support, let’s rally to match and grow this as much as we can.”

That matching happened pretty quickly.  When Conley informed Guy he was donating the entire $10,000 to SOAZ, Fieri immediately said they would match that for an additional $10,000.  

Along with that, Conley earned $1,000 after round one, and the three celebrity judges each pitched in $1,000 for a grand total of $24,000.  

Conley added an additional $1,000 to make it an even $25,000 that will go to Special Olympics Arizona to get this fundraiser started.

Special Olympics Arizona has a special place in Conley’s heart – his 22-year-old son Adam has Down Syndrome and has been involved with SOAZ for many years. 

“Special Olympics Arizona provides a means for my son Adam to compete and enjoy that which every person on our planet deserves, a chance to be included,” Conley said.  “I encourage the State of Arizona and the entire Special Olympics community to help match these winnings so we can raise additional much-needed funds for this great organization.  Our goal of $100,000 is a lofty one, but I think we can get there.”   

As of Jan. 6, the campaign was nearing $45,000 raised, and can be viewed at this link.        


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