Interview with Robert Irvine

Hey there! Happy Monday, hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

On Friday afternoon I was finally able to get in my interview with Robert Irvine! It was great to speak to him. I must admit I was a bit nervous before the phone call but once we got to talking the conversation flowed. He was very easy to talk to and I felt like it was more of a dialogue then an interview which was really nice!

How did Robert Irvine Live start?
The fans were the inspiration for Robert Irvine Live. People were emailing, tweeting and facebooking me about not being able to go to my restaurant, so I wanted to figure out how I could bring it to them.
Enter the idea for Robert Irvine live. I wanted to do something that would involve the audience, make it fun, dramatic and be a surprise. I wanted the show to let people see me differently than how the television portrays me.

*If you remember from my review of the show. They have a screen that gives Robert different challenges during the show. Robert has no idea what is going to happen prior to the show, he is just as surprised as the audience is. The vibe/interaction of the audience is really what makes this show.

How did Restaurant Impossible get started?
Restaurant Impossible has been around for 2 years but I wrote it 4 years before that. When I first pitched the show no one was interested in it, no one wanted the liability of breaking down a restaurant and building it back up. After the success of Dinner Impossible I pitched the idea again. After 6 shows it took off and will be airing it’s 65th episode this week! The show has had a 94% success rate. I follow up with the owners and check in about once a week. There is one that I do not keep in touch with (Mad Cactus, in case you wanted to check out the episode. Jeff and I did). Everything you see in the show is real and what really took place!

How do you choose the restaurants?
I do not choose them. I want to know nothing about the restaurants before going to them.
A team of about 20 people go in and they do a whole background check of the restaurant before they are picked for the show.

Do you find it hard to be so blunt with the people on Restaurant Impossible?
I try to be very respectful and to the point. I am a military trained man so we like to start with the end in mind. I start with this idea of how the restaurant is going to look like and then figure out the plan. If I can save someone from grief and stress then I give them my all in those 48 hours. Their problem becomes my problem.

If you had to choose your last meal on earth what would it be?
Mashed potatoes and roast chicken from Knocks in Philadelphia.

Where did you first learn that you liked to cook?
In Home Economics class, I was the only boy in my class.

What dish were you known for in the Navy?
In the Navy there were two things that kept us going; mail and food. Between 1:30pm and 5:30pm there would be a break so I would head to the kitchen and make “afternoon tea.” I would make scones, cakes, pies, you name it; I wanted to create things without anyone telling me what to do. My goal was to help keep the morale up and that’s exactly what I accomplished. The navy has now adopted these concepts. To this day I still travel with the U.S. Military teaching them fitness and how to cook.

How do you keep in such good shape when you job is cooking and tasting food?
I workout everyday; working out makes me happy and keeps me going. I don’t always eat healthy. I like hamburgers but believe in everything in moderation. I workout 45 minutes a day; 20 minutes cardio and 25 minutes strength, usually light weights with high reps.

What is the most humbling experience you have ever had?
Every time I am in front of the TV screen it affects people. Millions of people are watching me and learning how to run a business.
Every time I go to a military base I am humbled to see all the men and women who serve and to see someone who is wounded. They give sacrifices everyday and I want to make sure we continue to support them.

Who does the cooking when you are home?
My wife and I share the cooking but we are hardly home.

What is you favorite thing to cook?
Hot and cold dishes.; for example marinated steak and a Greek (no peppers, I don’t like peppers) salad with beets or pan seared salmon with broccoli slices and salted onions.

What and where was the worst meal you ever had?
Military food and Royal navy food; and my mother’s food was terrible. I lived off of corn flakes and cereal until 15.

Any words of wisdom for someone looking to make it big as a chef or restaurant owner or simply trying to get themselves out there?

Work for people who understand the business and learn from them. Save your money. Treat people with dignity, honesty and respect and make sure you have fun.

What I tell the kids I work with is don’t try to be famous, do what you do and do it well.

I am thrilled to be able to attend Mohegan Sun’s Winefest in a few weeks. Robert will be and I look forward to meeting him in person!

Were you surprised by any of the answers to the questions I asked?

Have you ever met anyone famous before? Or gotten to interview anyone?
I met Glenn Close outside of a Broadway show when I was little. I went to see another show but my mom thought it would be a good idea to wait in this line to see if any actors and actress came out. I got up close and the second Glenn Close walked out she came up to me and asked me how I liked the show and I responded “I didn’t see it” and she scoffed and walked away!

I also met John Stamos after seeing him in the Broadway show “How to Succeed in Business.”

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