Sunday Rewind: “Career Imploded”
This is a re-posting of a blog from February,18, 2008. Just a few hours after some local publications seeking answers on Chef Robert Irvines culinary resume’, theFood Network pulled Irvines bio off their website and edited his “Dinner Impossible” show introduction to fully disclose his actual culinary accomplishments. Since that date in 2008, the Food Network has reformulated the introduction to the series, and also reinstalled Robert Irvine back into the lead host role in the series during the 2009 season. To finish out the 2008 season, Iron Chef Michael Symon came on the show to complete the current season while Irvine reflected on his errors in judgement on the embellishment of his culinary accomplishments.
“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 seems that after this story, the local restaurant, Ooze and Schmooze might never even get down to even cooking a practice meal before it will shutter its doors. The bistro 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 considering the roar that is going through the culinary world right now on the Chef’s bloated resume. 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 website blog and is investigating his tales of the extraordinary for accuracy and even his culinary resume’ basic credibility.
I am an avid Food Network freak. I love the cooking/travel enduced show “Anthony Bourdain” ( I have read his books ), the culinary craziness of Guy Fieri, Paula Deen and the “Iron Chef“. I TIVO more of this networks shows than anything else on television. So to find out my guy from,”Dinner Impossible,” might be a bit of an imbellishing rube is a rude awaking indeed.
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 ( Princess Diana), and you would have been all of 12 at the time is a bit too much to forgive right now. There have been a long line of tall tales being unearthed about his cooking 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 humble town (St. Petersburg, Florida), he was about to open a upscale 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, or Bobby Flays’ Mesa in Las Vegas, the bistro would be on the “must taste” list of some of the world best palates.
Magazines like Bon Appetit, Gourmet and maybe even the well respected Zagats’ Guide might book inbound flights to this elderly hamlet to examine and taste his creations and hopefully, put this region back on the culinary map. In an area, already reknown for seafood and citrus delicacys, and wines of Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, we might have a new exciting chapter in the food annuals.
Now, this region of the state is already known for it record days of sunshine and lightning. And the St. Pete Times did make this town 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 and would peak the intrest of fans and food lovers all over the country.
But sometimes celebrity can be both a curse and a blessing. Only the true in spirit and heart seem to be able to make a transition from cooking star to successful bistro 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,tomato sauces to popcorn.
But when a falsehood is found within an industry it can sometimes makes that community turns its heads and ears away from that region, even one that is striving for positive recognition from the world. With a well-known television personality showing success and culinary masterpieces out of local resources and goods, it would have been like a “thunderstorm in an outhouse” to this region.
The “Times” contacted Dave Avery, the 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 years old at the time of the cakes inception.
Other tales have come up to test and tarnish this chef. Another has Irvine working at the White House in an official capacity somewhere in the main kitchen area. It has been revealed that he did have some cooking 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.
While Robert was here to promote the bistro a few weeks 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 after treating them as unexpected guests than as friends and patrons of your business. In this one area, Irvine was totally innocient of any wrongdoing at all.
I hope a lot of this misinformation 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.”
Like the moment he used a standard wheelbarrow to mix a huge batch of cole slaw, or a simple painters bucket with some selct holes to strain pasta while doing his show on a construction site . He has shown that he can work under extreme pressure and conditions.
Now he will have to use those charm and quick wit along with his awesome culinary talents to show he is a true chef, a new man of his word, and above all, human and capable of making mistakes. either that or his next show will be entitled,” Career: Imploded.”