Robert Irvine's Confession Confirms What We Suspected All Along About Restaurant: Impossible

Some cooking shows tend to get our tears flowing. "Chopped" may seem like an unlikely candidate for this, but in every episode, the competing chefs tell a story about their motivation for being there — and their tales often detail heart-wrenching accounts of overcoming loss, adversity, and grief in order to accomplish their goals. Another show that often encourages the water works? "Restaurant: Impossible" — according to some social media users, at least.

Hosted by Robert Irvine, a celebrity chef and U.K. Royal Navy veteran (via U.S. Veterans Magazine), the show aims to revamp restaurants that have seen better days. There are often some tough-love moments as Irvine tries to help owners understand why their mistakes could cost them their business. Nevertheless, by the end of each episode, the restaurants always seem to be running more smoothly, with the owners weeping in gratitude for Irvine's help while the host remains characteristically stoic. One fan of the show reached out to Irvine on Twitter to ask, "Why do I cry EVERY single time I watch #RestaurantImpossible?!" and his response was surprisingly vulnerable.

Irvine he is sometimes moved to tears by his work on the show

It may surprise fans of Robert Irvine, who's known for his tough-love demeanor, to learn that he relates to emotional "Restaurant: Impossible" viewers. In January, the chef answered a fan's Twitter question about why the series makes them cry by saying, "Because you are a good human being and you care." Then came the bombshell: "Truth be known I often shed tears of joy at the reveal," he added. While it's clear from watching the show that Irvine deeply cares about helping the restaurateurs he works with, it's pretty impactful to hear him say that he's been moved to tears by their reactions to his work.

Fans have noticed that Irvine has been a bit more mellow on recent seasons of "Restaurant: Impossible," and he's also shown a softer side on social media. Most of his posts are work-related, but in August 2021, he shared a photo of his wife and daughter and captioned it, "Irvine family time!! appreciate every moment you get with the ones you love!!" 

Irvine has even confirmed that fans aren't just imagining his gentler personality. On Twitter, he explained that he hasn't felt the need to be so harsh with restaurant owners in recent years — plus, he added jokingly, he's simply "getting older."

It's not the first time Irvine has gotten emotional about his show

Even though he presents a stoic — at times even aggressive — demeanor, this isn't the first time Robert Irvine has been open about his emotions. When he works with families on "Restaurant: Impossible," he often learns about the hardships they've faced. So when their restaurant makeover is revealed, their happiness is contagious. In May 2021, Irvine wrote to a fan on Twitter, "...there are many occasions having listened & spent two days learning the families hardships and seeing them so happy makes me want to cry happy tears, sometime it's hard to hold back and others I just let go."

While the happy tears often flow, there are occasions for sad tears, too. There was one episode of "Restaurant: Impossible" that nearly caused Irvine and his daughter to break down — in fact, his daughter did burst into tears. The owners of Abudanza, a restaurant in Massachusetts, had just seen the reveal of their newly renovated restaurant when they found out that they were going to be evicted from the home that they shared with their eight children. Irvine got the producers of the show to donate $10,000 to the family, which he matched with his own personal funds so the family could keep their home. "I burst out in tears the whole show," Irvine said to Delish in 2016.

He also cares deeply about veterans

Robert Irvine doesn't save his emotions for the people he helps on his television shows, either. The chef is a U.K. Royal Navy veteran, and he cares deeply about supporting veterans both in the U.S. and the U.K. On Twitter, he often retweets posts about veterans' mental health resources, and he has his own charitable organization, the Robert Irvine Foundation, which works to improve the lives of veterans.

Irvine's foundation works in several different ways. It provides scholarships to the children of active duty soldiers and veterans, works to connect wounded, ill, and aging veterans with service dogs, makes adaptations to wounded veterans' homes so that they can still feel comfortable there, and works with non-military first responders who respond to disasters to help them deal with the trauma that can arise from running headfirst into danger. 

It might not be something you'd expect from the large-and-in-charge television personality you see on "Restaurant: Impossible." But as they say, actions speak louder than words. And Irvine's work to improve veterans' lives, first responders' lives, and the lives of their families shows how much he cares.