The Men Behind the Grill

A Closer Look at the Grill Dads

Article by Chelsea Chambers

Photography by Ken Goodman + Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

It’s rare in this world to encounter people with such a deep passion for their interests that they make it a goal to not only share their hunger, but to also teach others how to view it through their eyes. To shift their perspective and shake things up in the best way. Mark Anderson and Ryan Fey—affectionately known as The Grill Dads—have taken their love of grilling and put it on a nationwide—nay, global—stage.

But beyond just enjoying the art of the grill and a love of delicious food, they are both fathers and aspire to change the narrative of what it means to be a dad in our contemporary world. “Our mission is much bigger than just sharing our love of grilling. We are really looking to redefine the modern dad,” shared Mark, co-host of Food Network’s The Grill Dads and co-author of The Best Cookbook Ever Written by Two Idiots. “In television, movies, and social media, dads are represented as sharks at work and idiots at home. We want to show the world that dads are smart, loving, a big part of their families, and generally work to improve the world.”

Mark, originally from upstate New York, is now a proud Idaho resident. And he didn’t hesitate to dive right into the Treasure Valley community. He and his wife, Sarah, purchased an established Idaho business, UltraClean, that works to restore residential and commercial damage from water, wind, fire, and mold. UltraClean has been a Treasure Valley staple for nearly 20 years and Mark and his family have continued to carry that torch for over 6 years and counting. Mark has also served on the Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho since 2019 and is now chapter president.

The other half of the iconic Grill Dads duo is long-time friend and business partner Ryan Fey, who currently lives in Los Angeles and works in creative and strategic consulting for a variety of clients including the LA Rams, VaynerMedia, and Starbucks. A Midwest native from Pleasantville, Ohio, Ryan and Mark actually met while attending Ohio University more than 20 years ago. It was here that Ryan earned his Bachelor of Science in Journalism and has since excelled in the industries of advertising, public relations, product development, and more. In an article published by Ohio University, Ryan (class of ’98), gave the following sage advice to the incoming class of 2018, “’Come out of college ready to rock ‘n’ roll fail. The people that truly excel and succeed are the ones who push all fear of failure aside.”’

Authentically honest about his career tries and attempts, Fey is the embodiment of what it means to learn from your failures and to keep trying. Because each of his previous failures has led him to where he is today: a highly recognized celebrity, author, business owner, and family man.

While Food Network is no longer a part of their ongoing Grill Dad journey, the duo has kept busy. “Most of the content that we have created over the last few years has been in partnership with brands and posted on short-form social media platforms,” said Mark. “This year we are making a big investment to launch our own series of full-length content on YouTube. It's called Dads Guide to the Universe. We're bringing in a great team to help us build this out, including folks from Eater and Complex.”

Both Grill Dads are highly active on social media including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. As recently as August 2023, Ryan shared an update on what the two have been up to. Mark and Ryan have been grilling it up all over the world, including a Grill Out with Geico for the Wrexham Association Football Club, the third oldest professional association football team in the world. And of course, traveling to promote their book—The Best Grilling Cookbook Ever Written by Two Idiots—which was released in June 2022. The book, as they describe it themselves is: “63 recipes, countless grilling tips, and terrible dad jokes.” Which we all agree sounds like the perfect combo of entertainment and cookbook.

To learn more about Mark and Ryan and to find out what they’re up to next, follow them online at

"We want to show the world that dads are smart, loving, a big part of their families, and generally work to improve the world.” - Mark

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