JOHN CONLEY WON $25,000 OVERALL, ENCOURAGES ALL OF ARIZONA TO HELP MATCH TO RAISE MORE FOR SOAZ ATHLETES
Flagstaff Chef John Conley, owner of Salsa Brava and Fat Olives restaurants in Flagstaff, appeared on an episode of Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” that debuted last night (Wednesday, Dec. 30) on Food Network. The premise of the episode had Guy Fieri bringing together three “OG” Diners, Drive-ins and Dives chef’s to create dishes in their own restaurants using a box of GGG Delivery groceries from Guy and his son, Hunter.
Cooking from his Fat Olives restaurant, Conley came out on top after the two rounds of competition with 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 Arizona,
“I’ll take it,” Conley said without hesitation when offered the $10,000. “We are going to take that money 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.”
For those interested in donating, visit SpecialOlypmicsArizona.org for more info or visit http://www.classy.org/campaign/guys-grocery-games-2020/c319537 to donate directly.
Conley is no stranger to Guy Fieri and his cooking shows, as this was his eighth appearance on one of his shows, and this was his third win.
In 2016, Conley won $16,000 on Guy’s Grocery Games. In an attempt to offer more support to SOAZ, he donated the entire $16,000 to SOAZ and engaged the community to help match his winnings. They stepped up more than he could imagine, helping to grow that donation to more than $50,000 in just three days.
“It was pretty incredible to see the community come together like that and raise so much money for Special Olympics Arizona, I was extremely proud,” Conley said.
Conley has strong ties to the Flagstaff area with his two restaurants and the support he offers to the community.
Along with so many, he was affected by the COVID pandemic as his restaurants Salsa Brava and Fat Olives were among the first restaurants in Arizona to voluntarily close due to the rise of Coronavirus cases in Arizona.
“Words can’t express how thankful we are for all of the support that John has shown Special Olympics Arizona throughout the years,” said SOAZ President and CEO Jamie Heckerman. “We encourage everyone to get involved and match whatever they can – 2020 has been a difficult year, let’s end this on a high note.”