Irvine in 2018
Robert Paul Irvine
24 September 1965
|Spouse(s)||Karen Irvine (divorced)|
Gail Kim (m. 2012)
Robert Paul Irvine (born 24 September 1965) is an English celebrity chef and talk show host who has appeared on and hosted a variety of Food Network programs including Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, Restaurant: Impossible, A Hero's Welcome, Operation Restaurant, All-Star Academy, Guy's Grocery Games, Chopped: Impossible and Restaurant Express.
Irvine currently operates one restaurant, entitled Robert Irvine's Public House, at the Tropicana resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Irvine launched The Robert Irvine Show, a daytime talk show which aired weekdays on The CW between September 12, 2016 and May 25, 2018.
Early life and education
Irvine was born in England and raised in Wiltshire, United Kingdom. He began his cooking career upon enlisting in the UK's Royal Navy at the age of fifteen. Having completed culinary training, Robert served aboard Her Majesty's Royal Yacht Britannia. 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 and establishments such as Trump's Taj Mahal, culminating with the five-star MS Crystal Harmony.
Irvine started his television career on Food Network on a show called “Fit for a King”, which was later re-titled before broadcast to Dinner: Impossible, where he would be given countless challenges over the course of the life of the show. This later led to the even greater success with his television show, Restaurant: Impossible.
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 founder of Robert Irvine Foods and has introduced an Irvine-branded line of foods, spices and oils. A portion of the proceeds from the sales are donated to his foundation, which supports the US military. 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.
Due to his active lifestyle and passion for physical fitness, 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).
Departure from Food Network
In 2006, Irvine announced his intention to open two restaurants in St. Petersburg, Florida. Irvine had impressed a Florida socialite 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 served at the White House as a chef, a claim 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 some of Irvine's assertions. As a result, 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 first aired on 20 February 2008, the claims that Irvine had worked for three US presidents and the UK's royal family were removed from the opening sequence of Dinner: Impossible,.
In 2008, Irvine posted to his blog to "set the record straight" regarding his past service and point out erroneous reports made by the St. Petersburg Times. This included letters from those he worked with at the White House, including Rear Admiral Michael H. Miller, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Military Office and F.X. Fuller, Director of Presidential Food Service.
On 29 February 2008, Food Network announced it would honor 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 and the season for only 10 episodes. Irvine returned to Dinner: Impossible in 2009. A Food Network spokesman stated "Our audience has continued to demonstrate its interest in and support for Robert. He has taken responsibility and made a conscious effort to clear the air, rebuild the relationship with Food Network and apologize for the earlier inaccuracies."
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.
In the spring of 2008, Food Network restored Irvine's biography to its website. It reflected his service in the UK's Royal Navy and service on the Royal Yacht Britannia. He also appeared in an episode of The Next Food Network Star on 8 June 2008.
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, the 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. Starting on 3 November 2013, Irvine hosted a new Food network series called Restaurant Express. In this series, Irvine challenged 9 chefs to a series of tests for a chance to open a restaurant in a Las Vegas, Nevada spa and casino.
On 2 December 2012, Irvine appeared alongside Masaharu Morimoto and Ted Allen on the Battle Holiday Gingerbread episode of Iron Chef America representing Food Network against a team of Cooking Channel stars including Michael Symon, Nadia Giosia and Ben Sargent. In the episode, Irvine removed his chef's coat, stating that he does not wear chef's coats very often. Iron Chef Michael Symon commented on this by saying that he had a bet that Irvine would remove his chef's coat after 25 minutes of the competition and that he lost because he removed it much earlier. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto also stated that Irvine removed his chef's coat to show off his muscles.
Irvine has starred in all 14 seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, and was also featured on Chopped, Guy's Grocery Games and others. In 2016, he appeared on All-Star Academy, where he mentored Natasha Clement to the finale where she won the $50,000 grand prize.
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. Robert Irvine's eat! closed at the end of 2013.
Irvine opened his second restaurant in the area, Robert Irvine's Nosh, in December 2011. However, Nosh also closed in early 2015. In May 2016, Irvine and the Tropicana Las Vegas resort jointly announced plans for a new restaurant to open in 2017. Robert Irvine's Public House opened July, 2017.
Irvine's first two cookbooks, Mission: Cook! and Impossible to Easy, were published in 2007 and 2010, respectively. In April 2011, he began work as a regular columnist for Muscle & Fitness magazine, with the magazine featuring his recipes regularly through 2016. In 2015, he published Fit Fuel: A Chef's Guide to Eating Well, Getting Fit, and Living Your Best Life. In the book, he writes about his early life as a "scrawny" kid who read Muscle & Fitness and had aspirations to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger. He developed a passion for weight training and physical fitness at an early age, played rugby, and by the time he joined the UK's Royal Navy, was strong enough to be a wheelman in the Field Gun Competition, carrying a large cannon wheel for his team. Fit Fuel combines healthy recipes, Robert's own workouts and the tough love motivation that he became known for on Restaurant: Impossible. Amazon customers have ranked all three of Irvine's books 4.5 stars out of 5.
In 2014, he appeared on the cover of Train magazine, shirtless. In May 2016, he launched Robert Irvine Magazine, which works as a continuation of the concepts presented in Fit Fuel. A healthy lifestyle publication, the magazine features healthy recipes, workouts, gear recommendations, expert advice from doctors and trainers and life advice and success tips from celebrities and professional athletes.
Between 2012 and 2016, Irvine launched a bevy of healthy food products, including Fit Crust frozen pizzas, Fit Crunch protein bars and their low-carb counterpart, Fit Elite protein bars, as well as a "better for you" cheesecake and frozen crab cakes.
Irvine toured Afghanistan in 2013 with the Honoring Our Troops Tour and hosted a Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) competition.
In 2014, Irvine founded The Robert Irvine Foundation to honor the men and women of the military. The foundation raises money and then allocates grants to active duty men and women and veterans in need. Irvine is also a regular contributor to the Gary Sinise Foundation and regularly appears at the organization's Invincible Spirit Festivals. For his work in honoring the men and women of the US military, Irvine was honored with a Patriot Award from the Medal of Honor Society in September 2015, alongside ABC News' Bob Woodruff, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and US Marine Corps Commandant Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. In 2016, Irvine was awarded the third highest honor within the US Department of the Army Civilian Awards, the Outstanding Civilian Service Award, for substantial contributions to the US Army community through his work with the Robert Irvine Foundation.
Explaining his passion for giving back to those who serve in the military, Irvine told Muscle & Fitness, "When you strip it all away, this is what gets me out of bed in the morning—the opportunity to make a real difference in people's lives. And to positively affect the lives of those who defend our freedom is the cause that is closest to my heart. All the success I have I owe to the fact that I live in a free society in the greatest nation on Earth. That freedom is made possible by the selfless sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. No amount of money I donate or benefits that I attend can ever scratch the surface on the debt we owe to these men and women and their families, but it is imperative that we try. It all starts to fall apart if we fail to show our gratitude."
Daily talk show for The CW
In September 2016, Irvine launched a daytime talk show which airs weekdays on The CW. Titled The Robert Irvine Show and produced by Tribune Studios and Irwin Entertainment, the series features Irvine in the traditional conflict-resolution talk format trying to work out problems between subjects who come on the series.
Professional honours and awards
- Ambassador of the Culinary Institute of America awarded in 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)
- Episode of Restaurant:Impossible in the Culinary Hall of Fame
- United States Navy Honorary Chief Petty Officer.
- Medal of Honor Society's Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment
- US Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award, Spring 2016
- Spirit of Hope Award, 2017
- ASYMCA Angel of Honor Award, 2018
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 2002. Irvine married Impact Wrestling star and Hall of Famer Gail Kim on May 10, 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.
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