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Chef Robert Irvine, from “Dinner: Impossible!”; Guilty About His History?

Over on Serious Eats the story is unfolding. Chef Robert Irvine of “Dinner: Impossible!” on the Food Network is apparently a fraud. A copy of his book I have here, an autobiography titled “Mission: Cook!”, is apparently full of lies and fabricated truths about his life, his training, and who knows what else.

I’ve gotten involved on Serious Eats myself, pointing out that the About Us page on Irvine’s own web site is now blank. The page now reads, “This page is under construction. Please check back later for an updated version.”

An admission of guilt? It sure looks that way from here.

Still, I’m kinda torn as to what to think about the man himself.If he’s lied to Food Network, if the book is a sham, if his resume isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, those things certainly need to be dealt with. If the show is suddenly and immediately cancelled, such a thing would be perfectly understandable.

But there’s something else that’s eating away at these thoughts.

Chef Robert Irvine is one of the better cooks, in fact, one of the better “personalities” Food Network has backed as of late.

In three seasons of “The Next Food Network Star” they’ve gotten one real star in Guy Fieri. The others, even the recent winner, are largely forgettable.

Looking around at the network’s schedule, there are a few chefs and cooks left that are actually worth watching.”Dinner: Impossible!”‘s basic concept, that of throwing Irvine into a situation where he had to cook for hundreds in a matter of 6 – 8 hours with zero notice of anything whatsoever, kinda punched things up a notch. I’ve found the show more than watchable, with the concept presenting a great level of intensity, tension and enthusiasm.

Too many cooking shows don’t go there. They’re boring. “Dinner: Impossible!” isn’t boring whatsoever.

Should Irvine come clean? Should he present a real portfolio and correct any wrongs? Should he take whatever consequences he’s given for any past transgressions?

Absolutely.

Would I still watch a show about his culinary skills in the future?

At this point, I’ll have to say “Yes”.

I’m not sure if there’s anything that would yet make me change my mind about that.

We’ll just have to wait, and see how this turns out.

79 comments to Chef Robert Irvine, from “Dinner: Impossible!”; Guilty About His History?

  • Robert

    With all said and done, the show is entertaining. Did Robert lie on his resume? From what I can tell yes he did. But you have a whole team of people who produce the show, who hired him, who have dozens of top named chefs working for them. Did anyone at the Food Network do their homework? Or was this just idea was too good to pass up.

    Of the newer Food TV shows is one of the best, where Ultimate Recipe Showdown is a snoozer ,as is 2 Dudes Catering (I would not eat anything from them). Alton Brown seems to be more of one of the Guiding Lights of the Food TV. And the shows he is one or connected with appear to work well.

    Not all of the shows on Food TV really represent the truth, the sets (maybe not Paula’s) are fake and some of the people (actors) are fake like maybe the Chairman of Iron Chef? This is just good entertainment people. Can Robert cook? Yes. Is he fun to watch? Yes.

    RC

  • Ernest

    My wife and I love his show, he can cook, he’s funny, witty, if he was plucked out of a line of chef’s and placed in these situations and managed to do what he does he has earned the right to be there.
    A chef like this can’t be born, he must be created…Whooops!!!
    Well…I still like him, I will watch him, and besides…we all know that Captain Kangaroo was not a real Captain. Or even a Kangaroo.

  • tj

    Your opinions are all valid and as expected. The things is, none of you are looking at this from a production standpoint. This show heavily depends on “vendors” and “locations” to make it a success. Do you all think you will all keep seeing the cool far out places that Robert has cooked for if the show stays on? Do you think the University of PA will want a liar cooking for their most pristigious staff? Do you think Pixar/ Disney would say yes to a show all over again knowing what they know now?? I don’t think so. This show will NEVER be the same whether they keep Robert Irvine or not. That is what this all comes down to. Can the Dinner Impossible staff actually continue to Produce these awesome episodes now that this has come to light? Guaranteed that most big companies wont want the negative press. It is a shame but this is what will decide the fate of Dinner Impossible, not a letter or email.

    Question for “Mike”: You said that in the University episode Robert didn’t give credit to the resident chef?? Well there was NO resident Chef in the Fraternity Episode where Robert cooked for Penn University. This is the only University that he has cooked for so you must be mistaken. I know this as fact.

  • Willie

    I have read alot of commentary from people on many different sights in the last few days about Robert Irvine and one thing is for certain….90% or more think he’s the best. I think having your resume done professionally you are asking for embellishment, after all that is what they are paid to do…make us sound better than the next guy. Robert Irvine IS better than the next guy (Guy Fieri for one who is rude and very obnoxios in person and will NEVER be a chef). Food Network, please don’t make another stupid mistake after the first of not checking his resume, and let him go. It’s like shutting the barn door after the cow got out.
    Robert Irvine and Cat Cora are the ONLY reasons the Food Network ever get turned on in this house !!!

  • Chef Marty Grams

    As a chef for far too many years to count, I have a lot of respect for Robert. I have seen first hand how he treats people in a kitchen and how he encourages them afterwards. The man is definately a chef, that is no doubt.
    Only a chef could take the control of a kitchen the way he does and produce under the terms and conditions given to him.
    Should he apologize to his public and fans? most definately but that is not the end.

    The food network shares responsibilities here as well, they never bothered to check into the resume? come on, do they think we were all born yesterday.

    Not only do they control every aspect of everything broadcast on their channel, but they are all knowing and all seeing, much like big brother.

    From a cooking viewpoint, Robert and Guy have the two most informative shows on the network, followed by Iron Chef. The only one there that could possibly replace Robert is Cat Cora, but let us all hope that the food network realizes what they will lose here and that they decide to keep Robert on the air.

    Robert, if you are reading this, ask for some air time and make a public apology to your fans and viewers, Leave the people in St. Pete keep their uptight lifestyle and hustle, and get back to doing what you do best. You have a lot of friends and supporters out here that are here when you need us.

    Oh & by the way, next time the beers are on you, bud.
    Anything you need, you know how to get ahold of me.
    Marty

  • Terri

    I love Robert. Dinner Impossible is a can’t miss at our house and if Food Network is smart enough to keep it, and Robert, it will continue to be. Padded resumes are the norm…why should he lose his job for what a lot of people do. I think the real “egg on the face” belongs to the person who did not check the resume in the first place. A lot of people pad resumes and it’s because no one checks. Come up with some penalty for perjury and get on with the show!

  • Deborah

    It took the Food Network 4 years to find out he embellished his resume..and only because of an interview he did? If after 4 years the Food Network still hadn’t found out about it I think the his success on Dinner Impossible proves that he is a great chef regardless and one of the most entertaining. And shouldn’t it be up to the Food Network people to verify the honesty in a resume? The sad part is that now that this is out, Dinner Impossible will not be the same because no one will want him for those challenges now that this has come out.

    By the way, The last Food Network ‘sensation’ has a show on Sunday mornings, or did have, and it was one of the most boring things I ever watched.

    PS: show me someone who says they never lied about their accomplishments and I will show you a liar. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last.

  • ModelC142

    I agree Deborah. Someone lied on their resume? Wow, that’s a first. Bullocks on Food Network. I hope someone with someone with real television business savvy flies with Irvine and makes it a hit.

    He was exciting and funny and anyone who’s ever worked in a kitchen worth its salt
    knows you have to be a bully sometimes if you want to get things done right. So if you get hollered at get over it and get on with it. He met the challenges and it made for good viewing.That’s what counts.

  • Melanie

    Gee….. Do I really care if Chef Robert “padded” his resume or just flat out lied? Let me think……..NOT. Yes, as I always tell my students, telling stories is not acceptable! However, Robert Ivine, Cat Cora, Rachel Ray, and Jamie Oliver are the only true and exciting “Food Network Stars”. Flay is a blowhard, and having met Guy before he “made it big”, I know him to be an unsufferable jerk.

    Give Chef Robert the adult equivalent of a time out and let him get back to what he has shown he does best…..COOK THE IMPOSSIBLE!

  • well, he’ll hire a good PR person, apologize in pubic and make a comeback. Martha Stewart lied in court, went to jail and now look at her!

  • Kathie

    I have been watching FNTV fir a very long time. I have watched just about all your so called cooks and I must tell you there are only about 3 that I watch on a continuing bases. One being Robert Irvine. My husband is a chef and I have run so many resturants that we together have well over 75 yrs in the food industry. I love watching Chef Irvine do what he does. I think that only if you are in this business could you trully understand just how amazing he is. This man has pulled it out of no where and always proves just how good he is by always making the customers HAPPY. I have been amazed a lot of the time just how he does it. I think my husband is a great chef and we have done some things that have impressed the best of them, but to do what Irvine has done he would just dust my husband.
    My point is that this man is a genius in any kitchen. So what if he smudged his resume who hasn’t to get what they want! The man has captured the attention of you viewers. He has taught me so many tricks and wonderful recipes. That I feel you would be very foolish to not let him stay! Ther are so many others that you need to get rid of first. I most definatly agree with a lot of these people Chef Ramsey, Iron Kitchen and I loved Chef Mario these are the people that I watch because they are entertaining and yes the teach also. Get rid of all thes other people that have come out of woodwork of there kitchens and think they can cook PLEASE PEOPLE !!!! This man is a CHEF!!! there is a very large differents…
    Get him back!!!!

  • Griff

    Not telling ALL the truth is the same as telling SOME lies.

    Never applaud a bad act.

    peace,
    Griff

  • Carol

    I LOVE ROBERT IRVINE. I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE HAS TO SAY. SHAME ON YOU FOOD NETWORK. I WON’T BE WATCHING YOU ANYMORE.

  • Cyndi

    I was noticing last week, while watching chefography, that Dinner Impossible is back on Food Network. Actually they have been heavily advertising it.
    Guess whatever problems there were are now resolved. I am glad. It was a very good show and interesting how he always improvised things to get the job done.

  • Dan

    A pox on all of you Food Network brass who have decided to cancel “Dinner Impossible”. I’ve seen all of youl as the judges on Next Food Network Star year after year, and you’re all a bunch of contemptable, stuck-up blankety-blanks. You’re very fortunate that any of your Food Network personalities bother to darken your studios to be on the air for you……

  • Pam

    I love watching Robert Irvine on Dinner Impossible. I watched the show tonight with Chef Symone – He is not as entertaining as Robert Irvine. Robert Irvine was wrong in lying and the Food Network was wrong in not checking his work background when he was first hired. We live in an imperfect world. Put Robert Irvine back on Dinner Impossible and let him eat crow – along with the Food Network. Both are at fault – and move on. This is a talented man, who is very good on this show. So many of the Chefs on this network do not have half the viewer likeability as does Irvine. Many of the Food Network chefs have become stale and the frig needs to be cleaned out. Robert Irvine is fun and interesting to watch and if this channel wants viewers they would realize this chef will be missed and another network would be smart to pick him up!

  • sheryl

    I really would like Robert Irvine to return to the Food Network! He’s entertaining & interact extremely well with the people in his many challenges. I know we should give the new chef a chance, if it is anyway possible to give him his own show & bring Robert back? Me & my co-workers would be happy!

  • john t

    for more information, check out chef irvine’s blog at http://www.chefrobertirvineblog.com– really interesting stuff

  • Collette Peterson

    I was really disapointed with the new show. Chef Simon was good but not the same. Bring back Chef Irvine, even my husband liked him.

  • Suzi

    I haven’t read all the blogs but I just have to say this new guy sucks! Who cares about Chef Irvines resume,past, or whatever! He was good at the show and his food looks awesome. I am very unhappy with this new dude. I stopped watching the show since Irvine is not the star. I watched about 5 minutes of the show and couldn’t watch it.

    what a loss.
    Chef Irvine needs to come back!

  • Thank you all for your informative blogs, i do read them as i do on my own blog site and web site, i believe that as one guest said you need to check out my blog at chefrobertirvineblog.com. it might give you some truth and not just rumors. All the best robert

  • Ernest

    My wife and I both loved Robert Irvine, my friends who watched loved Robert Irvine, anyone who has watched and didn’t know who RI was loves him…Robert…come back…all is forgiven…just promise you’ll sign my book!

  • james

    I’d like to say that for the F.N. to fire Robert from the D.I. show was wrong. Yes he lied about some things on his resume, but I have watched just about every episode and every episode was great. Robert is obviously a great chef and has done an excellent job on D.I. I would like to see him be the host of that show again. The guy they have on there now is a dodo, even though he won the Iron Chef challenge. I have cessed to watch Iron Chef America.

  • brian slagter

    I would like to say as a culinary student, this sucks finding out that one of America’s top chefs and a Food Network star that i look up too and i am writting a paper on is a liar and all the facts. Well so called facts about Robert’s life is a lie. I really think he needs to come clean and tell the truth, yes it might hurt him in the sport light alittle but in the long run people will have more respect for him. well i know i will.

  • ketai

    robert irvine= an angry person= you suck

  • ketai

    of course you have to await moderation. you don’t want anything to reflect anything negative about you. you think that you are so perfect. WRONG

  • No, troll, I get spam Akismet doesn’t catch. Funny how you don’t know everything, isn’t it? Have a Happy Thanksgiving anyway, bonehead, or whatever it is you do! :-)

  • Barbara Egr

    I like Restaurant Impossible! He may have lied but so do our country’s leaders. Just fess up and move on. We aren’t forced to buy his book. I dvr the show and watch EVERY episode. I’m a t.v. snob and really limit my time to shows I feel are worthwhile. I’ve learned so much from this show. For example, I’ve learned that if a restaurant is dirty in the front, it’s probably dirty in the kitchen. (ewwwww) I no longer want to have ice in my water. I put more seasoning on everything. Finally, I love the way Robert acts like the “Dr. Phil” of the restaurant business. He values family and so do I! I vote to keep him on the show!

  • Barbara, this was during the time he was on forced hiatus at Food Network about six years ago. Interestingly enough, if you’ll look at the other comments you’ll see Chef Robert replied himself here on August 22, 2008. “Restaurant Impossible” was created after Food Network took him back, so apparently all is forgiven. :-)

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