Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine
Robert Irvine

Chef Robert Irvine
Born September 24, 1965 (1965-09-24) (age 46)
Salisbury, England

Robert Irvine (born Robert P. Irvine;[1] September 24, 1965[2] and raised in Wiltshire, England[3]) is a celebrity chef who has appeared on a variety of Food Network programs, including Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, and Restaurant: Impossible.



Irvine 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.[4] He has also been of service to the Naval Mess in the West Wing of the White House.[5] 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.[6]

Irvine has been Executive Chef for Donald Trump’s Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Caesars Atlantic City.[citation needed] He has also 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[7] in addition to serving as Head Chef at their 78th Academy Awards dinner in 2006.[8]

Irvine is currently president and founder of Irvine Thyme, LLC., and has introduced an Irvine-branded line of spices, oils and vinegars.[9] His first cookbook, Mission: Cook!, written with Brian O'Reilly, was published by HarperCollins Publishers in September 2007.[10] 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.[11]

Irvine was selected as one of the "25 Fittest Guys in America" by Men's Fitness magazine in 2007.[12] 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).[13]

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.[14]

Controversy over culinary credits

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 February 17, 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,[15] 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.[5]

On February 29, 2008, the 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.[16] On April 21, 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.[17] The first Symon episode aired on July 20, 2008, but ran for thirty minutes.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20] He also appeared in an episode of The Next Food Network Star on June 8, 2008.[21] 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."[22]

Return to Food Network

On November 20, 2008, Food Network announced that they had rehired Irvine to host six episodes of Dinner: Impossible with a scheduled air date in March 2009.[23] The first episode of Irvine's new season aired on April 8, 2009, and were one hour in length.[24] 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 January 3, 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 January 19, 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.[25]

Irvine competed in Season 4 of The Next Iron Chef, which premiered on October 30, 2011.[26] He was the second chef eliminated from the competition after losing a peanut, secret-ingredient showdown against Chef Michael Chiarello.[27]


Irvine lived with his first wife Karen in Absecon, New Jersey before buying another home in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he's lived since at least 2007.[3][28][29] Irvine is currently planning to marry former WWE and current TNA Wrestling star Gail Kim in the spring of 2012. The couple met on the set of Dinner: Impossible.[30] He has two daughters, Annalise and Talia.[31]

Professional honors

  • Ambassador of the Culinary Institute of America (awarded at commencement, December 2007)[32]
  • Chef Professional from La Toque Blanche International[33]
  • Chef’s Five-Star Diamond Award from American Academy of Hospitality Sciences 1998–2003[33]
  • 2001 Culinary Excellence Award granted at Carnegie Hall by the Culinary Institute of America and the American Tasting Institute[33]
  • Trustee of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences' Five-Star Diamond Award[33]
  • Member of the Malta Chefs Society (MCS)[34]


  1. ^ Robert Irvine biography on Irvine Thyme's Website, retrieved on April 27, 2008
  2. ^ "Robert Irvine Biography, Pictures, Videos - FamousWhy". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  3. ^ a b Williams, Rachel (3 March 2008). "A CV that proved a recipe for disaster – US channel axes British celebrity chef". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  4. ^ YouTube "Food Network Chef Robert Irvine on CYACYL"
  5. ^ a b Montgomery, Ben; Shirl Kennedy, Janet Keeler, Laura Reiley (February 17, 2008). "TV chef spiced up his past exploits". St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg Times). Retrieved November 6, 2008. 
  6. ^ Bob Bickell (2010) "Robert Irvine – A Chef on a 'Mission'..." in Restaurant Report [1]
  7. ^ Press Release for Oscars Party, Remix Magazine, February 16, 2005, accessed on 10 June 2008
  8. ^ Oscars Party Hosted by Children Uniting Nations Lights Up the Night, L.A. Splash Magazine, March 2006, retrieved on April 25, 2008
  9. ^ Irvine Thyme's Corporate Website, retrieved on September 12, 2008
  10. ^ HarperCollins listing of Mission: Cook, retrieved on April 25, 2008
  11. ^ Chefs for Humanity website
  12. ^ "25 Fittest"- Men's Fitness magazine, May 18, 2007.
  13. ^ History of the Irvine/Irving/Irwin Family
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Hawaii, Episode IE0306". Dinner: Impossible. 2008-02-21. No. 6, season 3.
  16. ^ "Food Network drops tainted chef," St. Petersburg Times, March 1, 2008
  17. ^ "Chef replaced on Dinner: Impossible,, 21 April 2008
  18. ^ "Michael Symon's first "Dinner: Impossible on Sunday night," Cleveland Plain-Dealer, July 18, 2008, Elizabeth O'Connell. Accessed on July 19, 2008.
  19. ^ "No local kitchen for chef Irvine" by Waveney Ann Moore and Paul Swider, St. Petersburg Times, March 11, 2008
  20. ^ Food Network Celebrity Chef Biography on Robert Irvine, accessed on June 10, 2008.
  21. ^ Season 4, Week 2 episode, accessed on 10 June 2008
  22. ^ Chef Robert Irvine's Blog entry titled "Getting On With It," 2008-07-16. Accessed on July 23, 2008.
  23. ^ Hirsch, J.M. (November 20, 2008). "Dismissed Robert Irvine returns to Food's "Dinner: Impossible"". The Seattle Times. 
  24. ^ "Return date for ‘Dinner: Impossible’ with local chef". 
  25. ^ "Restaurant: Impossible : Robert Irvine". Food Network. 2010-12-30. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  26. ^ "The Next Iron Chef Rivals : Shows". Food Network. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  27. ^ "The Next Iron Chef : Food Network". Food Network. 2011-11-06. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Robert Irvine talks new season and working out". 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  31. ^ "Food Network Dinner Impossible Chef Visits Busch Gardens Tampa Bay". May 3, 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  32. ^ "Wear your uniform with pride," advises celebrity chef Robert Irvine Dinner: Impossible host challenges CIA graduates at commencement, accessed on 10 June 2008
  33. ^ a b c d
  34. ^ Malta Chefs Society (MCS)

External links

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