24 September 1964 |
Salisbury, England, UK
Robert Irvine (born 24 September 1964) is a British celebrity chef who has appeared on a variety of Food Network programs, including Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, and Restaurant: Impossible.
Early life and career 
Irvine was born Robert P. Irvine and was raised in Wiltshire, England. He began his cooking career upon enlisting in the Royal Navy at the age of fifteen. Having completed culinary training, Robert served aboard Her Majesty's Royal Yacht Britannia. He has also been of service to the Naval Mess in the West Wing of the White House and he was briefly the personal chef of actor Jean-Claude Van Damme.  Upon completion of his 10-year tour of duty, Irvine performed consultant work in Bali, Jakarta, and Ho Chi Minh City before becoming Executive Chef aboard numerous cruise ships, culminating with the five-star MS Crystal Harmony.
Irvine has been involved with the Children Uniting Nations charity that was founded by southern California socialite Daphna Ziman. He was one of a team of celebrity chefs who participated in their fundraising dinner for the 77th Academy Awards in 2005 in addition to serving as Head Chef at their 78th Academy Awards dinner in 2006.
Irvine is currently president and founder of Irvine Thyme, LLC., and has introduced an Irvine-branded line of spices, oils and vinegars. His first cookbook, Mission: Cook!, written with Brian O'Reilly, was published by HarperCollins Publishers in September 2007. Irvine also appeared in a December 2007 episode of Iron Chef America with Tyler Florence in a dessert battle (theme ingredient: sugar) against Paula Deen and Cat Cora in which the men lost. He is a member of the Council of Chefs, Cora's charity dedicated to helping hungry children.
Irvine was selected as one of the "25 Fittest Guys in America" by Men's Fitness magazine in 2007. He typically works in a black T-shirt or chef's jacket bearing the Irvine clan badge with the motto: "sub sole, sub umbra, virens" (flourishing in both sunshine and shade).
He and business partner Randall Williams opened eat! restaurant in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in 2008 and renamed it Robert Irvine's eat! in February 2009. Irvine opened his second restaurant in the area, Robert Irvine's Nosh, in December 2011.
In 2006, Irvine announced his intention to open two restaurants in St. Petersburg, Florida. Irvine had impressed financial backers with the claims he was a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, had a degree in food and nutrition from the University of Leeds, had worked on the wedding cake for Prince Charles and Princess Diana and had worked as a White House chef, claims Irvine also made in the opening segment of his Food Network show Dinner: Impossible. An article in the 17 February 2008, issue of the St. Petersburg Times quoted sources who disputed most of Irvine's assertions. As a result, the Food Network pulled Irvine's biography from its website. Network spokesperson Lisa De Colle said they were "taking the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy of all representations of Robert." Beginning with the episode that aired 20 February 2008, the claims that Irvine had worked for three U.S. presidents and the Royal Family were removed from the opening sequence of Dinner: Impossible, though former White House executive chef Walter Scheib confirmed in the article that Irvine had worked in the Navy Mess facility in the West Wing of the White House.
On 29 February 2008, the Food Network announced it would honour its contract with Irvine for a fourth season of thirteen episodes of Dinner: Impossible but was also looking for a replacement host for the series. On 21 April 2008, Food Network executives released a statement announcing they were expanding the Dinner: Impossible series to a one-hour format and replacing Irvine with recent Iron Chef America addition Michael Symon. The first Symon episode aired on 20 July 2008, but ran for 30 minutes.
In March 2008, Irvine's business partner and landlord issued a joint statement announcing the chef had abandoned his plan to open the restaurants. The reasons cited were "the timing is not exactly right" and Irvine "cannot commit to spending at least four days a week" at the restaurant as he had planned.
Food Network restored Irvine's biography to its website later in the spring of 2008. It reflected his service in the British Royal Navy, service on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and service in the Naval Mess in the West Wing of the White House. He also appeared in an episode of The Next Food Network Star on 8 June 2008. In July 2008, Chef Irvine launched a blog and posted information about his service in the Royal Navy, with the British Royal Family, and with the White House Guest Chef program as an attempt to "set the record straight."
Return to Food Network 
On 20 November 2008, Food Network announced that they had rehired Irvine to host six episodes of Dinner: Impossible with a scheduled air date in March 2009. The first episode of Irvine's new season aired on 8 April 2009, and was one hour in length. Irvine continued as host of Dinner: Impossible until it ceased production in 2010, following its eighth season.
Following the end of Dinner: Impossible, which continues in reruns, Irvine embarked on two new projects with Food Network. In late 2010, Food Network began advertising the second season of Worst Cooks in America, featuring Irvine (replacing Chef Beau MacMillan) training a cadre of would-be cooks in competition with Chef Anne Burrell. The show premiered on 3 January 2011. In advance of the show's premiere, Irvine teamed with Cat Cora to battle Burrell and Michael Symon in the special "Battle Deep Freeze" on Iron Chef America.
Irvine also appears in the restaurant make-over show, Restaurant: Impossible, which premiered on 19 January 2011. Described as a spin-off from Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible challenges Irvine to make over a restaurant in two days with a budget of $10,000.
Irvine competed in Season 4 of The Next Iron Chef, which premiered on 30 October 2011. He was the second chef eliminated from the competition after losing a peanut secret-ingredient showdown against Chef Michael Chiarello.
Personal life 
Irvine lived with his first wife Karen in Absecon, New Jersey, before buying another home in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he has lived since at least 2007. Irvine married former WWE and current TNA star Gail Kim on 10 May 2012. The couple met on the set of Dinner: Impossible, when he came to serve VIPs for WWE's Summerslam. He has two daughters, Annalise and Talia, from his first marriage.
Professional honours 
- Ambassador of the Culinary Institute of America (awarded at commencement, December 2007)
- Chef Professional from La Toque Blanche International
- 2001 Culinary Excellence Award granted at Carnegie Hall by the Culinary Institute of America and the American Tasting Institute
- Trustee of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences' Five-Star Diamond Award
- Member of the Malta Chefs Society (MCS)
- Culinary Hall of Fame Induction
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- Robert Irvine and the Reputation:Impossible dilemma, July 19, 2008, Michael Martinez
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- "Restaurant: Impossible: Robert Irvine". Food Network. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- "The Next Iron Chef Rivals: Shows". Food Network. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- "The Next Iron Chef". Food Network. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
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- Meltzer, Dave (10 May 2011). "Thurs. update: Tons more on King Mo TNA/Bellator details, Cena divorce, UFC sales in Calgary, Faber". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
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- "Wear your uniform with pride," advises celebrity chef Robert Irvine Dinner: Impossible host challenges CIA graduates at commencement". Culinary Institute of America. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
- "Orlando Current Event". Lachaine.com.[dead link]
- "History of the MCS". Malta Chefs Society. 4 December 2009. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011.
- The Official Chef Robert Irvine Website
- Robert Irvine's Eat! Restaurant official website
- Robert Irvine's Nosh Restaurant official website