The untold truth of Robert Irvine

Food Network veteran Robert Irvine is one of the best-loved celebrity chefs on the scene. The chef has been cooking up a storm since he was in his teens, and has dazzled audiences all over the world. The British-born celeb is best known for his cooking prowess on shows like Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, but Irvine is also a fitness guru, author, and family man who has also turned his talents to a talk show, The Robert Irvine Show.

Irvine has a long list of accomplishments, but even more impressive is his drive to make the world a better place. Irvine told Thread MB that he wants to be remembered as someone who "did everything in [his] power to make at least one person's life a little brighter." Most would agree that the chef has done just that throughout his illustrious career. Here is the untold truth of Robert Irvine.

His dad did not approve of his career choice

Irvine took a rather nontraditional route in his career. A native Englishman, Irvine learned how to cook in the Royal Navy. He joined the military at the age of 15, much to the chagrin of his father who was more opposed to his son working as a cook than he was to his teenager joining the service. "For years — especially in England where I come from — cooking was a subservient job," Irvine explained to HollywoodChicago.com. "When I told my Dad I was going to be a cook, he wouldn't talk to me for two years. Even though it was associated with my military service, he thought cooking was beneath me."

Irvine could not have possibly anticipated just how far his cooking skills would take him, but it's safe to say that he not only proved his dad wrong, but also anyone else who looked down on the cooking profession.

He's still a military man at heart

Even though he's now an internationally celebrated chef, Irvine still makes time to give back to the military. Irvine runs a not-for-profit organization, The Robert Irvine Foundation, which provides support for military members and veterans. In 2015, the U.S. Navy recognized Irvine for his support of the military and named him an Honorary Chief Petty Officer. That same year, Irvine was awarded the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment and Support of Our Service Members by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. He was also recognized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2017 for his support of the military with the Spirit of Hope Award.

When asked about the best meal he's ever been served, Irvine told HollywoodChicago.com that his favorite meals are whenever he has the opportunity to "sit down with a military man or woman in uniform." Irvine said, "The quality of the food may not be the best, but because I'm sitting with them, it makes it special."

Lying on his resume almost destroyed his career

Fans were shocked when, in 2008, it came to light that Irvine's resume was dramatically embellished. Some of his more impressive claims were that he had a British knighthood, baked a wedding cake for the marriage of his close friend Prince Charles to Princess Diana, and owned a castle in Scotland. The lies cost him his job on Dinner: Impossible. Irvine was replaced with Michael Symon, but the public quickly forgave the errant host and Irvine was restored to the show just a few months later. Irvine later admitted that he lied because he felt intimidated. "When I…  met people with all this money, it was like trying to keep up with the Joneses," he told the St. Petersburg Times (via The Guardian). "I was sitting in a bar one night and that came out. It was stupid."

In a statement released by Food Network, Irvine apologized for his resume: "I should have stood on [my] accomplishments alone, without embellishment… I am truly sorry for the errors in my judgment."

His real resume is still pretty impressive

While we can sympathize with Irvine for feeling like he had to embellish his resume, there really was no need for it. His actual resume was already pretty impressive without the padding. While Irvine was not actually a personal friend of Prince Charles, he did have a connection with the royal family. During his tenure with the Royal Navy, he served on board Britannia, the royal family's yacht which was decommissioned in 1997. He also worked in the White House kitchens during his participation in a guest chef program where he trained chefs for the U.S. Navy.

Other highlights of Irvine's resume include planning a menu for an Academy Awards after party, and serving thousands of military personnel on a U.S. aircraft carrier. With the scandal more than a decade in his past, Irvine's fans seem to have either forgotten it, or are choosing to overlook his mistake in light of his stellar career.  

He lives by this mantra

Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible helped bring Irvine international acclaim, but the shows' titles had an even deeper personal significance for Irvine. The chef has never been one to back down from a challenge, and believes in keeping a positive attitude. Irvine told Thread MB that "Nothing is impossible" is his personal mantra.

The chef's personal philosophy is an integral part of his astronomical success. "I can't fly, but I can't say it's impossible because I haven't tried yet," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That's the thing with impossible, isn't it? A lot of things can seem impossible until you actually try. Where would the human race be if we took the word impossible as an ironclad fact? Certainly not where we are today." Irvine might not be able to fly, but his extensive list of impressive accomplishments proves that it is possible to achieve extraordinary things when you put your mind to it.

His publishers rejected his idea

As if being an internationally recognized chef weren't enough, Irvine is also a successful author. His first book, Mission: Cook!, hit the shelves in 2007. This was followed by Impossible To Easy in 2010. With two cookbooks already under his belt, Irvine pitched the idea of a fitness book, Fit Fuel, to his publisher. They didn't like the idea and wanted the chef to stick to writing cookbooks, but Irvine didn't like being turned down.

Irvine refused to accept the rejection, and took matters into his own hands. "So I self published it for forty thousand dollars, and sold the first 1400 copies to make my money back, and it's in its fifth printing now," he told HollywoodChicago.com. "It's a great book, it's real, and tells you how to make changes in your life — on your time, on your terms and with me motivating you."

He planned his own wedding

Keeping up with the "impossible" theme of his shows, Irvine married his second wife, Gail Kim, in a 2012 Food Network special called Wedding: Impossible. The couple had met three years earlier on the set of Irvine's show Dinner: Impossible. Irvine planned the entire event himself, keeping his bride-to-be in the dark about her upcoming nuptials. ""He wanted to give me the fairy tale wedding," Kim told People. "I didn't know the colors of my wedding or what my bouquet would look like! But I trusted his taste."

Naturally, the wedding featured some incredible food, with fellow celebrity chef and best man Guy Fieri catering the rehearsal dinner. Masaharu Morimoto prepared fresh sushi, while Michael Chiarello provide hors d'oeuvre. The wedding cupcakes were baked by pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner. Kim seemed pleased with the surprise wedding. "He has a sweet, sensitive side," she said about her groom. "He's truly such a softie at heart."

Most of his year is spent on the road

Irvine has spent quite a lot of his career traveling. His illustrious career has taken him all over the world, and he has cooked his way through Europe, the Far East, and the Caribbean. Many of the shows he has hosted, such as Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, required the chef to film in a new location for each episode. While those shows have wrapped, Irvine still has plenty to keep his schedule full. His interactive show, Robert Irvine Live, brings him to venues around the country in a live performance where he accepts cooking challenges from the audience. The chef told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that's he's "on the road upward of 340 days a year."

It's not just his cooking that keeps him busy, though. Much of Irvine's travel is due to his desire to use his success to help others. "You're supposed to use this gift for other people," he told October. "That's why I stay busy. I do 150 days with the military; we do kids' cancer stuff… I want to be a good example to my kids."

He keeps himself in incredible shape

The chef is all about fitness and keeps himself in great shape. Irvine told FN Dish that he works out nearly every day and eats eight to 12 high-protein meals each day. Since Irvine is on the road so much, he has to find creative ways to stay healthy when away from home. "I travel with a blender, look up a good gym in the area to get a complete workout or just use my hotel room when none is available," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I load up on veggies when dining out, and try to take the stairs when available."

His routine might seem daunting, but Irvine says that living a healthy, active lifestyle is all a state of mind.  "I hear people say all the time, 'I don't have the energy for all that,'" he said. "No one just 'has' the energy. When you commit to a healthy, active lifestyle and really follow through, then you get the energy."

Irvine has a line of fitness products for those who want to try to mimic his lifestyle, including protein bars and protein powder in a variety of flavors.

His wife is just as formidable

Irvine and his wife are truly a match made in heaven. Like her husband, Kim has to travel a lot for work and makes sure to find a place to work out and ways to eat healthy while on the road. The actress, model, and retired professional wrestler might be even more dedicated to fitness than her husband is. She did two stints with the WWE and was also involved with TNA/Impact Wrestling where she was a six-time Knockouts champion. In 2016, she became the first woman wrestler to ever be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame.

Kim had to retire from the ring in 2018 due to a back injury. "My back was starting to deteriorate and basically what happened was I just couldn't walk after a couple of matches here and there," she told AfterBuzz TV. While she's no longer wrestling, she isn't leaving the wrestling world behind. After her retirement, Kim took a position as a producer with Impact Wrestling.

His home is where his heart is

Considering how much time he spends on the road, it's no wonder that Irvine wants to spend as much time at home as he can when he's there. He prefers a quiet night in his own abode to a night out on the town. "South Beach never sleeps, but I'm not a party guy," he told SouthFlorida.com. "That's not what I do. I never even did that when I was in the military. I'm normally in bed by 9 or 10 p.m. I'm so tired because I'm on the road 345 days a year, so I see some friends to eat and just go to bed so I can work out the next morning."

Irvine is happy and content with his ways, saying that his idea of a great night is having a good dinner paired with some fine wine before heading off to bed. " I'm not a whippersnapper that can go out and get drunk and get up the next morning," he said. "It's a sad existence that I live, but it's a great one."

He keeps in touch with his talk show guests

The Robert Irvine Show was quite different from Irvine's other shows, but it was very close to his heart. "[It's] the talk show I've wanted to do for many years," he told Channel Guide Magazine. "If you take Restaurant Impossible and take the restaurant away, you are left with the conflict. That was the original idea. It just fits with everything we are doing."

Irvine showed his compassionate side on the conflict resolution show, and was truly able to utilize his people skills. The Robert Irvine Show grappled with issues like relationship problems, interventions, and teenage rebellion. While the show was cancelled in 2018, its legacy lives on. Irvine keeps in touch with many of the guests who appeared on the show. Two of his former guests, who were children when they appeared on the show, received a phone call from Irvine each week so he could keep up with them. At the end of the day, Irvine just wants to change people's lives, whether it's through his food or by utilizing his other talents. "Everything I do in my life is to service others," he said.

Oprah is one of his major inspirations

With The Robert Irvine Show, Irvine was able to follow in the footsteps of one of his biggest influences. The chef has long been a fan of Oprah Winfrey, and her influence is apparent to those who have seen how Irvine channels his star power into shaping lives through his talk show. "I've always admired Oprah for her passion, the good she does for the human race and how she handles herself," he told Channel Guide Magazine. "There have been talk show hosts for decades and decades. Different networks want different things. At the end of the day, a host is only as good as the people that come on the show and their own emotion. Nobody can tell you how to feel and what to do, because if it doesn't feel right, you don't do it. So Oprah is one of my talk show loves I would say."

"I'm not an angry man"

Contrary to what you might expect from viewing some of Irvine's shows, the chef says that he doesn't actually have a hot temper in real life. "I'm not an angry man," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I'm admittedly tough, but that's because I'm passionate about what I do."

According to Irvine, his yelling moments are borne from frustration — not anger. Irvine acknowledged that he might come across as angry when he's not "breaking through with someone," but that his stern demeanor shouldn't be mistaken for anger at the person in question. "I live life at 100 percent every day and I want to make the most of every opportunity," he said. "In turn, I want the same for the people around me. If I see someone failing or missing an opportunity, I'm angry on their behalf. I want them to make the most of everything in this life."

He's passing on his love for food

Robert Irvine is making sure that the next generation is able to carry on his culinary legacy. When his daughters were little, he devised an ingenious game to make sure that they learned all about food. Irvine told Thread MB that he would take his two daughters to the store and buy fresh produce. "Then we'd take them home and we'd play games where I'd blindfold them and give them 25 cents if they could identify the smell, the taste— you've got to make it fun!" he said.

The chef isn't stopping with his own family, though. Irvine wants to make sure that other children also eat well. "It's sad, but in this country, kids think milk comes from a supermarket and not from cows," he told SouthFlorida.com in 2014, just before hosting the "Fit and Fun as a Family" event at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. "I encourage kids and parents to run around and play ball and learn to cook together as a family. It's a lot of fun."