Celebrity chef Robert Irvine has his own restaurant in the US military building “The Pentagon.” Has he ever been in the military himself?
Robert Irvine has been in the military. Irvine began his cooking career in the UK Royal Navy, which he enlisted in when he was 15 years old. The chef served 10 years in the Navy, where he rose to the level of petty officer.
Let’s take a look at how this ex-navy serviceman managed to become a top celebrity chef.
The Early Years of Robert Irvine
Robert Irvine was born on September 24, 1965, in Salisbury, England. When he was 15 years old, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a chef. He began training in classical European cuisine and quickly became noticed by his superiors.
Irvine was soon promoted to serve aboard the ship, Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia. The ship is the former serving yacht for Queen Elizabeth II. The chef’s duties included preparing dishes for members of the royal family, presidents, and high-ranking officials.
Robert Irvine belonged to the Royal Navy for a period of ten years.
Leaving the Navy and Dinner: Impossible
After retiring from the Navy, Irvine held jobs unrelated to cooking in Indonesia and Vietnam, before working as a chef on several cruise ships, Trump’s Taj Mahal and the MS Crystal Harmony.
It wasn’t until 2007, when Irvine was aged 42, that he rose to the level of television chef when he was given Food Network’s Fit for a King, which was later renamed Dinner: Impossible.
The show’s premise was Irvine having a variety of obstacles to overcome and create meals within the given time.
In 2008, Food Network announced they would no longer be continuing their contract with Irvine after it had come to light that many of the chef’s impressive claims were untrue.
The chef had told a socialite in Florida that he had plans to open two restaurants, had a knightship, a University of Leeds degree in food and nutrition, had baked the wedding cake for Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and had worked as a chef in the White House.
These tall claims by Irvine turned out to have been grossly embellished and Food Network released a statement in which they stated they were “taking the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy of all representations of Robert.”
At the time, Robert Irvine doubled down on his claims and wrote a blog post further asserting that his credentials were factual.
However, he later retracted these claims and subsequently explained his actions in an interview, where he stated, “When I met people with all this money, it was like trying to keep up with the Joneses. I was sitting in a bar one night and that came out. It was stupid.”
Irvine released an apology through Food Network, in which he said, “I should have stood on [my] accomplishments alone, without embellishment. I am truly sorry for the errors in my judgment.”
Irvine continued his contract with Food Network until 2008 when he was replaced with Michael Symon. Symon completed a single season with the network until Robert Irvine was taken back, in a move that surprised many viewers.
Food Network issued a statement explaining the decision:
“Our audience has continued to demonstrate its interest in and support for Robert. He has taken responsibility and made a conscious effort to clear the air, rebuild the relationship with Food Network and apologize for the earlier inaccuracies.”
With Irvine forgiven for his misrepresentation of self, the chef resumed hosting of Dinner: Impossible until 2010 when the show was discontinued.
Robert Irvine continued to work with Food Network, taking part in Worst Cooks in America and later Restaurant: Impossible, which began airing in 2011. The show documented Irvine transforming failing restaurants into successful establishments with a budget of $10,000.
Watch some funny moments from Restaurant: Impossible.
In 2013, Irvine began to host a new show on Food Network titled Restaurant Express. The series pitted nine chefs against each other with a prize of opening a restaurant in Las Vegas.
In 2016, Irvine broke away from his celebrity chef career in order to begin hosting a daytime talk show on network The CW, similar to The Jerry Springer Show.
The show, titled The Robert Irvine Show lasted only two seasons before being canceled.
Irvine returned to what he does best in 2019, hosting Restaurant: Impossible: Revisited, after a three-year hiatus from Food Network.