Career Imploded

This is a re-posting of a blog from February,18,
2008.


Since the posting of this blog, the Food Network
has pulled chef Robert Irvines bio and edited his current shows introduction to
suit his culinary accomplishments. The Tampa Tribune broke the story this
morning,  and I feel I should repost the blog and show the
accomplishments/embellishments of Robert Irvine. Below is a statement issued by
Irvine:

“I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences regarding
the Royal Family. I am proud of my work while serving in the Royal Navy and on
board the Royal Yacht Britannia, also as part of the Guest Chef program in the
White House with the United States Navy, in addition to my culinary
accomplishments. I should have stood on those accomplishments alone, without
embellishment. I remain committed and enthusiastic about my work with Food
Network and other future endeavors. I am truly sorry for the errors in my
judgment.  To all my family, friends and loyal fans, I will work tirelessly to
regain your trust and continue to use my show and life to benefit the less
fortunate.”


It saddens me that his culinary career is
tarnished now. From his current show “Dinner Impossible,” it is evident that he
is a talented and very intelligent chef. The Food Network also announced that
Irvine will conclude this years taping of the show and will be replaced next
season. I am sorry that he had to go through this
journey of journalism integrity, but sometimes you have to watch what you say in
public. I have included a link to show a trailer to his show if you are not
aware, or have seen, “Dinner Impossible” on the Food
Network:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdfqVhzUeTM

Oh my God,

Today I opened my Internet edition of the “St Petersburg Times”  and saw the
grinning picture of the Food Networks’ Robert Irvine staring back at me with
that cocky smile that only a celebrity chef can have at a moment like this.

photo



It seems that  the local restaurant, Ooze and Schmooze might never even cook
a practice meal. The bistro that was to be established at 400 Beach Drive in St.
Petersburg, Florida. the current  “foodie” venture  is not even a remote
possibility at this time. Irvine’s credibility and culinary exploits are being examined with a fine
tooth comb right now. As stated in the “Times” article, the Food Network has
pulled his blog and is investigating his tales of the extraordinary for accuracy
and even his culinary resume’ and credibility.


I am an avid Food Network freak. I love the likes of Anthony Bourdain ( I have
read a few of his books and stories ), Guy, Paula Dean, Rachael Ray, and the Iron
Chef series is one of my  favorite shows. I TIVO more of this network than
anything else on television. So to find out my  guy from,”Dinner Impossible,” might be a bit of an
imbellishing chef is a rude awaking. I know alot of us have stretched the truth
a bit to seem more elegant or refined, but to state you helped bake a cake for
England’s favorite princess, and you would have been all of 12 at the time is a
bit much. There are a bevy of tales being uearthed daily about his expliots and
bravado over the past few years.


Taken from his website:

Robert’s philosophy is: If you are going to do
it, do it right, don’t take short cuts, spend time researching, and most of all
be dedicated to whatever and whomever you are working with and have lots of fun
doing it. If you do not do the above, it’s time to change your career
direction.

In my local town (st. Petersburg, Florida), he was to open the a fore mentioned restaurant in a  very romantic and waterfront area of the city. Being near the world famous and well-received Vinoy hotel, and situated a
mire block from the Fine Arts museum, it would be the kind of place to put this
region on the world-wide culinary map.  Food critics and “foodies” would travel
to see the chef’s creation. Much like people flock to Emeril’s establishments in
New Orleans, La, or Bobby Flays’ Mesa in Las Vegas.


Magazines like Bon Appetit, Gourmet and maybe even Zagats’  might book
flights to this elderly hamlet to examine and taste his creations and hopefully,
put this region on the map. In an area, already reknown for seafood and citrus delicacys, we might have a
new chapter in the food annuals.


photo



Now, this area is already known for it record days of sunshine and lightning.
And the “St. Pete Times” did make it famous for our many  green benches in the
city. But something like this would be like Johhny Weisemullier wanting to set
up a local business back in the early 70’s in Largo, off Belcher Road. Celebrity
can be a curse and a blessing. Only the true in spirit and heart seem to be able
to make a transition from star to owner without a hitch. Wolfgang Puck has done
it.  Paul Newman has established an empire based on the charity and fine
products from  salad dressings to popcorn.



But something like this in an area striving and yearning for positive
recognition from the world would have been a godsend to the area.l With a
well-known television personality showing success and culinary masterpieces out
of local resources and goods, it would have been a thunderstorm in an
outhouse to this region. The “Times” contacted Dave Avery, the actual chef who actually did the
original and final blueprinting and major bakers’ magic on Princess Diana’s
wedding cake. It seems that if Robert Irvine was in fact at the Royal Navy
Cookery at that time, Chef Irvine would have been 12 at the time of the cakes
inception. 

 


Other tales have come up to test and tarnish this chef. Another was his
working at the White House in an official capacity in the  main kitchen area. It
has been revealed that he did have some time in the White House,but not in a
common kitchen area, but in the Navy section of the culinary section teaching
some techniques and procedures to aspiring chefs, possibly for embassy duty or
personal chefs for high ranking officials.



There is the fable of cleaning and re-doing the plates of chef’s Tom Keller,
Charlie Trotter, and Eric Rippert at a James Beard event before they were served
that night. Either of these three chef’s would have thrown him out of the
kitchen for attempting such a bold and callus disrespect. Another tale that has come to surface that has a local flair is that the
venture was to be backed by Wendy La Torre, a local woman with a flair for
feeling important and regal in a non-regal world.



While Robert was here to promote the bistro awhile back, he was very inviting and
willing to take pictures and autographs with people while telling the future
tale of this fine establishment. During this same event, La Torre was rude,
manipulative and wanted to share the spotlight totally with her new found savior.
Greed and Ego have no place in running a place of culinary creations. In a
moments notice, you can be on cloud nine with the hit of the local scene, then
you are looking at a vacant dining area with no customers.

 



I hope a lot of this gets cleaned up fast. Irvine seems like a chef with a
great creative flair, but this can reduce him to mere “dishwasher” status in
culinary circles in a moments’ notice. I have seen amazing thing done on the fly on his show, “Dinner Impossible.”
Be it using a wheelbarrow to mix cole slaw, or a bucket to strain pasta . He has
shown that he can work under extreme pressure and conditions. Now he will have to use those talents to show he is a true chef, man of his
word, and above all, human and make mistakes. either that or his next show will
be entitled,” Career: Imploded.”

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