Mission accomplished: Nothing's impossible for chef Robert Irvine

2013-04-10T00:00:00Z 2013-04-10T23:03:07Z Mission accomplished: Nothing's impossible for chef Robert IrvineEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Viewers of Robert Irvine's Food Network shows are used to seeing the celebrity chef turn what appear to be impossible culinary feats into successes.

Whether it be a fledgling restaurant or the creation of a difficult meal, Irvine is there to help the situation. Irvine, the star of "Restaurant: Impossible" who also starred on the shows "Dinner: Impossible," "The Next Iron Chef," and "Worst Cooks in America," will bring his dynamic live show to audiences April 19 at Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mich. and April 20 at Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Ill.

"The live show has been running for about a year. We've played to many sold-out houses which is amazing," said Irvine, during a recent telephone interview.

The chef said he enjoys meeting his fans and will often stay to autograph items and talk with people for awhile after every appearance.

It's a multi-sensory show," he said, adding people will "see, smell and taste." Fans shouldn't expect a traditional cooking demo by any means. There'll be participatory challenges, theatrical aspects, video projections, a computer-generated host, and lots more.

Like the premise of his television show, Irvine said he never knows ahead of time what will really take place during the live show. He's spontaneously presented with meal challenges and situations from audience members and must come up with a variety of culinary solutions.

"The audience participates hugely and I don't know who's coming in and don't know what's going to happen," he said. What he enjoys most about presenting these live challenges is exactly that idea of the unknown.

"I like that you have to think on the spot. Life is all about adapting to situations," Irvine said.

"The shows get interesting and they're a lot of fun. There's side-splitting laughter and it gets people away from (everyday) life for a couple of hours."

Irvine, of England, has been involved in the culinary field for the past two decades. He honed his cooking skills at a young age and also shone in the kitchen spotlight while he served in the British Royal Navy. Irvine put his skills to use on the Royal Yacht Britannia where he often cooked for the Royal Family and he's also worked as a guest chef in the White House kitchens.

The chef said his television shows were originally sparked by requests from people seeking his help with their culinary problems. And he wanted to assist. Particularly in cases where people were struggling with restaurants, the requests were urgent.

"God gave us all a gift. Mine is cooking...And people were calling me for help. Normally when people call for help, it's the last chance," he said.

"(On the television shows) These are real people with real problems and we try to give them real solutions," he said. The chef said giving back is of utmost importance to him.

Irvine stressed he's viewed as "extremely tough" on TV and he doesn't "make any excuses" for it. But, he's serious about helping others and wants them to also be serious about it and work to make things happen.

Asked if he's always been an organized person, Irvine said, "I'm very organized. The military teaches you that. You have to be organized and on time."

Irvine said proceeds from his live shows will benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation, benefiting defenders, veterans, wounded warriors, first responders, their families, and others in need.

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