Chef Robert Irvine: Serving Up More Than Just Exceptional Cuisine
"I created the Robert Irvine Foundation to serve as the cornerstone of everything I do. All of my shows, products and partnerships support my mission to grow the Foundation"
-- Chef Robert Irvine
As an undeniable foodie and seasoned cook, I love trying new restaurants. I find the entire experience fun, adventurous and educational. Unfortunately, more times than not, the restaurants I decide to give a whirl fail to meet the standards I’ve become accustomed to in my own kitchen. It’s a disappointing reality that has both its good side and bad. Need I spell either out? Nahhh...you understand.
And so does Chef Robert Irvine who has built his television career on an addicting show called Restaurant: Impossible and a host of others all found on Food Network. I can’t tell you how many times I'd wished Robert was sitting right beside me when one of those unsavory messes called the “Special of the day” was placed between my fork and spoon. The vision of Robert lifting the plate from the table and walking back into the kitchen to address the chef in his own unique way became my only solace.
I’m confident all would have ended well. Robert would have arrived back to me with a great meal he’d prepared himself. The chef would have learned a thing or two he hadn’t known before -- the key to probably saving his restaurant. And I'd be at the center of a new episode of one of Robert's many exciting shows.
With three books to his name, hit television series (that's plural), parallel business interests, an endearing personality, and the toned physique of a professional body builder, Chef Robert Irvine is a culinary superhero -- fighting for the good of food and mankind (so that the former does not kill the latter).
He can help you too, given you read his interview below. It’s chock-full of interesting information, deserved of a Michelin Star. Anything less, would be an insult, I assure you.
What is your personal mantra?
“Nothing is impossible.”
You began your cooking career in the Royal Navy. What is one of the most important lessons
you took from this experience that helped you become the household name you are today?
Once you establish the goal, you have to work backwards to get to the steps to achieve that
goal. I use that in everything I do in my life. I also learned the importance of helping others who are less fortunate and being a leader by serving others.
What is the toughest part of being a chef in your opinion?
Recognizing that - as a chef - your creation (in this world) is designed to be consumed and
disappear. That means you need to keep on top of your game everyday to evolve and improve.
The culinary world is always changing and chefs need to keep up on their education and
What's been the biggest surprise in your career?
Being recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society with the Bob Hope Award for
Excellence in Entertainment was a huge honor and surprise. To receive this award, which so
many great individuals have received before me, was truly unexpected. Working with our
veterans and active service members brings me joy and it is incredible how great organizations
are recognizing the good that visibility, celebrity and talents can bring positive awareness to the military.
Beyond the obvious, what is the one trait, you believe, all GREAT chefs share? Explain.
There is not one single trait that all great chefs share. Being able to communicate, having pride
in your work as well as knowing your audience are all key traits that chefs need to be
What is your least healthy indulgence?
I love desserts. I would eat a dessert at every meal. But Gail has really put the kibosh on me
Outside of the famous faces appearing on Food Network, name a chef whose food blows you
My mentors Michel Richard and Roberto Donna.
Name someone you'd love to cook for and explain why?
I would have loved the opportunity to cook for Nelson Mandela. I am amazed by his teachings
and his patience.
What do you love most about being Chef Robert Irvine?
Being able to help people is what inspires me. From helping struggling families on Restaurant
Impossible to giving back to our servicemen and women. Being able to give back is what is most
rewarding about my career.
Have you taught your daughters to cook?
Yes. I used to take my two daughters to the supermarket and let them pick out fruits and
vegetables. Then we’d take them home and we’d play games where I’d blindfold them and give
them 25 cents if they could identify the smell, the taste—you’ve got to make it fun!
Share with us a social cause or cause-based organization you support.
The Robert Irvine Foundation - The Robert Irvine Foundation is a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization that honors the men and women defending our country, first responders and the many other heroes in our lives. The Foundation's mission is to support individuals and organizations committed to enriching the lives of our heroes and their families.
When all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
That I did everything in my power to make at least one person’s life a little brighter.
A true favorite of mine, I was not shocked by Chef Robert Irvine’s final answer. No doubt, this Chef has made a whole many people’s lives brighter through his life and work. He’s the ‘tough guy with the giant heart’ who can hit you over the head one minute then hug you the next (metaphorically speaking, of course) -- solely intent on driving you to the place you need to go for your own good. He knows it. You know it. And we all love him for it. That is the reason he’s become one of the most popular Food Network stars to-date. I, daresay, as long as there are bad restaurants serving grub, Chef Robert Irvine will be open-for-business.
Many thanks to Robert Irvine and Brickhouse Public Relations for making this interview possible