Food & Drink / Chefs are the new athletes, with confidence bordering on cockiness. Chef Robert Irvine of Wiltshire England, and host of the Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible, is no exception. His record-breaking show and mad culinary skills have hit the road, and this Friday, Robert Irvine Live! lands at the Blaisdell Concert Hall where he and his producer have worked long and hard to “create a live cooking show unlike any other.” It’s a high-energy theatrical experience where cooking is the vehicle and entertainment is the ride. Expect a few … outbursts.
The Weekly caught up with the celebrity Chef and learned that his passion for food mirrors his passion for an organized life, and that allowing oneself to be inspired is the secret ingredient to any dish.
You test the boundaries of the restaurant industry by attempting to save failing restaurants in America in two days with just $10,000. Why?
Initially, when we created the show, it was about the challenge of it. Having limited resources and limited time made it much more dramatic, chaotic, difficult and so on. But over time we have found that the challenge of time and money really pulls the whole team together knowing that we have limits. As wonderful as it would be to spend more time and more money I think that without those limitations we would not find ourselves working as hard and as creatively to achieve the goals of rescuing these restaurants.
What is your favorite part?
There is no greater joy I get than to reveal the new restaurant to the owners after the team and I have done our work. Getting to see their expressions, knowing that we have in some way helped to remove a burden on their shoulders or to reenergize them and give them a newfound desire to succeed is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
And what do you usually spend the $10,000 on in order to save the restaurant?
It depends on the restaurant and what its needs might be. In some cases we have to renovate the entire kitchen, which means we have to pull money away from the design elements. In other cases we might have to use money to get cleaning companies in to steam clean the entire building. Each one is unique in that regard.
Why are these restaurants failing?
Bad food, bad service, bad management, inexperience, refusing to change with the times, you name it! Lately there has been a lot of poor accounting where the owners have no idea what it costs them to make a dish and end up pricing it to where they lose money instead of turning a profit.
Where are you now? And what are you working on?
Right now I just finished working on a very special episode in Joplin, Missouri. I came here after the tornadoes struck and was in awe and heartbroken at the devastation. I made a promise that I would come back and help in any way I could.
So why hit the road? And why Hawaii?
Trust me, [this show] is like nothing you have seen before. We took over a year to develop this show and create something that was not just a cooking demo, but a theatrical event. We are excited to be at the Blaisdell … on top of that, I am going to be at the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival the following night for a great Farm to Table event.
You’ve accomplished a lot. What’s your secret?
Having a background in the military provided me with numerous skills, one of which was being able to keep things organized. It’s really about putting yourself into a mindset that doesn’t allow for distractions. Stay on task and have fun.
What inspires you?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, as long as you keep your mind open and allow yourself to be inspired.