A tasty treat

Chef Robert Irvine will per­form at the Keswick Theatre in Glen­side on Sept. 22.


With more than 25 years in the culin­ary pro­fes­sion, chef and res­taur­at­eur Robert Irvine has cooked his way through Europe, the Far East, the Carib­bean and the Amer­icas, in ho­tels and on the high seas.

And now, Irvine will bring his ex­per­i­ence on the Food Net­work as host of Res­taur­ant Im­possible to the Keswick Theatre in Glen­side. The show, Robert Irvine Live, a high-en­ergy, mul­ti­me­dia and multi-sens­ory the­at­ric­al ex­per­i­ence, will hit the stage on Sat­urday, Sept. 22.

“We’ve worked hard to cre­ate a show that in­volves every­one in the audi­ence,” said Irvine. “We cook, and hon­estly I don’t know what I’m cook­ing un­til the audi­ence de­cides what food is to be used — via food that’s all around the theat­er and in­ter­ac­tion with a com­puter that I talk to. I’ve been to oth­er shows where audi­ences walk away dis­ap­poin­ted. But I worked hard for over a year to make sure this isn’t one of them. My show is fun, up close and true in­ter­ac­tion with me. This is really good stuff.”

Irvine, 47, a nat­ive of Eng­land, joined the Roy­al Navy at age 15 and soon began to mas­ter his kit­chen skills. As part of his ser­vice, he was se­lec­ted to work on board the Roy­al Yacht Brit­an­nia where the roy­al fam­ily and their en­tour­ages reg­u­larly dined.

Later, as part of a guest chef pro­gram, Irvine went to work at the White House. Dur­ing his ca­reer he has also fed 6,000 ser­vice­men and wo­men on a U.S. air­craft car­ri­er, as well as plan the menu for a celebrity-stud­ded after party at the Academy Awards.

But it is per­haps his latest ven­ture on TV’s Res­taur­ant Im­possible that brings him the most pleas­ure.

“Noth­ing is im­possible,” the chef said. “But it is im­port­ant to find the root of a prob­lem and try to find out how it can best be fixed. And that’s what I try to do.”

Irvine said his show hap­pens in real time.

“I know noth­ing about the people or the res­taur­ant I’m about to get in­volved with. People who want my help go on a Web site and some­body checks them out. … We find out everything about you be­fore I agree to do the show. Then they send me a plane tick­et and all I have to do is show up.”

Ah, but once he does show up, he gets right to work.

“I’ve been ac­cused of be­ing harsh be­fore, but once I get to the res­taur­ant I only have 25 minutes to find out what I need to know to help turn everything around. I have a type A per­son­al­ity where I need everything to be per­fect.”

Work­ing with a de­sign­er, a build­er, two as­sist­ants and as many vo­lun­teers as can be found, Irvine has two days and $10,000 to do all that has to be done.

“That’s a real two days and real money. After that, there is no more time and no more money avail­able,” he said. “I think my mil­it­ary train­ing has helped me un­der­stand how to train people to work to­geth­er and get things done.”

Aside from work­ing hard on his shows, Irvine also spends a great deal of his time work­ing for vari­ous char­it­ies, es­pe­cially chil­dren’s char­it­ies.

“I think we all have a re­spons­ib­il­ity to try to give something back,” he said. “As for me, I feel that re­spons­ib­il­ity deeply, and I just want to know that whenev­er I leave this earth I’ve left something be­hind that’s bet­ter than when I came in­to it.” ••

For show times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-572-7650.

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