You may recognize Chef Robert Irvine from popular Food Network shows such as Restaurant Impossible and Dinner Impossible, and may have seen him battle it out with other notable chefs on The Next Iron Chef. It shouldn't surprise all of you how incredibly honored we are to be able to take some time to get to know such an acclaimed Chef of this caliber.
As busy as Chef Irvine is, he was kind enough to find some time to squeeze in a bit of Q&A with us before his SOLD OUT show at Ho-Chunk Gaming at the Wisconsin Dells this Saturday.
So let's not dilly-dally any more.
Let's get to know Chef Robert Irvine.
EC: Thank you Chef Irvine for taking the time to do a Q&A session with us today, before your upcoming show at the Ho-Chunk Gaming Casino at the Wisconsin Dells, which, by the way, we are super excited to attend. Tell me, what should we expect at a Robert Irvine Live Show?
RI: Expect the unexpected. It’s not a cooking demo or a scripted event – and don’t think for one minute that you’ll be sitting down the whole time. Audience members choose the challenges, ingredients and more – anything and everything can and likely will happen and only the live audience will get to experience it!
EC: You’ve established quite a name for yourself as a world-class chef and also as an incredibly fit individual. How do you keep yourself balanced and in-check with all the food that you prepare and ultimately have to (at least) taste and still stay in such enviable shape?
RI: Everything in moderation and learning the difference between what foods are filling and chock-full of nutrients and which consist of empty calories.
EC: You’ve been more visible in the Fitness Industry lately, and even trained with 5x Mr. Olympia winner Phil Heath. Would you ever consider competing in a bodybuilding show?
RI: I’ll leave the heavy lifting to the pros. I’m very excited to have recently opened a Gold’s Gym in Largo, FL.
EC: You recently released a book, ‘Fit Fuel’ that marries your expertise in the gym and as a chef. Can you tell us a little bit about what readers can expect and where they can purchase it?
RI: Fit Fuel is my tough love approach to the everyday person looking to reach their fitness goals and needing that extra bit of motivation. We focus on setting those goals, transforming healthy changes into habits and then maintaining it for the long-term. You’ll also find some of my recipes inside the book that show you even comfort foods aren’t off limits when trying to get in shape. Fit Fuel can be purchased through my website – chefirvine.com – and Amazon.com.
EC: You also have The Robert Irvine Magazine. Is this an extension of your book? What do you cover in your monthly issues?
RI: Like Fit Fuel, Robert Irvine Magazine also focuses on healthy living. Users will find recipes as well as detailed workouts but it also goes further with in-depth celebrity interviews and a panel of experts answering YOUR questions. Each month focuses on a different theme and is guaranteed to surprise and engage readers.
EC: Tell us about Robert Irvine Foods products and what makes the products and its purpose unique.
RI: You shouldn’t have to sacrifice great taste to live a healthy lifestyle. We use restaurant-quality recipes that call for top-notch ingredients but can be prepared right in the comfort of your own home with minimal effort. A portion of the proceeds from all of the Robert Irvine Foods products support military members and their families so you can eat right and do right at the same time.
EC: We hear you’re opening a restaurant at the Tropicana in Las Vegas this July. Tell us a bit about it. What will we be on the menu?
RI: That’s right! Robert Irvine Public House will open at the end of July. We’re keeping the menu under wraps for the time being but we can’t wait for everyone to have a sensational Vegas dining experience.
EC: I’m a big fan of your Fit Crunch protein bars. Did you come up with the recipes yourself, and do you have a favorite?
RI: Thank you! Fit Crunch bars aren’t your standard, boring, tasteless meal replacement bars – and that’s why I created them. I teamed up with Sean Perich, founder of FortiFX Products to manufacture and produce my protein baked bars and brownies. I would have to say my favorite is Birthday Cake because it’s always great to celebrate being in good health.
EC: As a culinary ambassador for JetSmarter, what is your process in curating all the in-flight catering?
RI: I’ve partnered with JetSmarter to help design handcrafted meals for members – ensuring access to a healthy meal even in the middle of traveling when many people seem to eat whatever is most convenient. Each meal is prepared just hours before takeoff, made fresh to order in Manhattan’s Great Performances catering kitchen.
EC: You’re a big supporter of the men and women of the military as well as their families and recently partnered with Sodexo, how did you get involved and what role do you play?
RI: Supporting the military and their families has always been one of the causes that is nearest to my heart. By partnering with Sodexo, we are able to extend our reach together and redefine what traditional military food looks like. Sodexo provides over 125,000 military-related meals each day and together, we can make sure they’re made of the most nutritious ingredients to properly prepare troops for their active lifestyles.
EC: Can you tell us about the Robert Irvine Foundation and why you started it?
RI: I wanted a way to directly give back to those who serve our country as well as first responders and many other heroes in our lives. The Foundation has become the backbone of everything I do – with my sole mission through all of my partnerships, shows, products and more directed toward it. We support our heroes through morale and welfare programs as well as provide financial assistance. My main goal is to raise awareness about the sacrifices that these men and women make each and every single day to defend our freedom.
EC: Being once part of a military family myself, I thank you for all that you’ve done to support the military and their families. Have you visited the Veteran’s Museum in Madison, WI? If not, we’d love to show you around when you’re back in town.
RI: No, but let’s keep it in mind for next time I’m back!
EC: Our final question. If you were to create a dish that embodies quintessential Wisconsin, what would it be and what would you call it?
RI: It has to be about the cheese! I’m thinking a special cheese dip – with a secret recipe that just melts in your mouth and is perfect for crudites. Let’s call it the ‘Wisconsin Cheese Surprise’.
EC: Thank you again Chef Irvine for your time, and we hope to see you back in Wisconsin soon! Perhaps over a good meal?
RI: You got it!