By Michele J. Kuhn
The Robert Irvine his fans see on his Food Network show is “very different” from the real Robert Irvine.
“I think you see the tough but loving side on Restaurant: Impossible, he said. “But, I’m actually a funny dude, a funny guy, a very humorous guy. Obviously the show is so short, 42 minutes to save their life, save their business, their marriage, their kids and their house, it’s not funny. Although the show works tremendously well, it does not show the real Robert Irvine.”
Fans of the Food Network star (Restaurant: Impossible, and Worst Cooks in America,) will get to see the chef, author, restaurant owner and tireless supporter of those in the military and those suffering from cancer, in person when Irvine makes a stop at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, for his live stage show, Robert Irvine LIVE at the Count Basie Theatre.
According to Irvine, anything can – and will – happen during the unscripted show. What is presented in one city during Robert Irvine LIVE, won’t occur in the next city. It is an unpredictable show during which Irvine will be challenged by a set of missions, unbeknownst to him, until they are presented to him on stage.
“You just don’t know,” he said during a telephone interview. “It could be me repelling down a 40-foot space in the middle of the theater. It can be me upside down in handcuffs. It can be me running around crazy – which is guaranteed to happen. (Audience members) can expect to have a great time – up close and personal – and learn things about me that are not general knowledge and see things about the show that are not put on air,” he said. “They’ll just have a fun time, learn about food, learn about me.
“Everyone in the audience is part of the show… I’m not going to give that away but everyone is part of the show,” he said.
Irvine, who is on the road about 330 days a year for his TV show, charities, the stage show and overseeing his other enterprises, promises to stay after the show for as long as fans want to talk to him, take photographs, get autographs and ask him questions, even if that’s 2 a.m.
The show, which opened in August in Galveston, Texas, was in development for about a year. Irvine said he wanted to bring his own version of a show to the stage because he had attended shows by others and was “disappointed” by the content.
“Yes, you want to learn about some of this cooking stuff but, if you are sitting in an audience watching someone cook for two hours, that’s not exciting, at least not for me. This is very theatrical, a get to know Robert Irvine in a different way.”
Irvine, whose 47th birthday was Sept. 24 (a day he spent traveling), said he developed his passion for food as a youngster in his native England. “I was cooking at 11 years old when I started to cook in a home economics class with 30 girls. I was the only boy and the odds were with me that I would be successful in the class,” he said with a laugh. “I made quiche Lorraine … I’ve always loved to cook since I was a young kid.”
His passion for the military and those who serve their country grew when he joined the Royal Navy, where he served for 10 years. “It was a great thing. I had great opportunities, opportunities to travel,” he said. Irvine appreciates those who have served and the sense of brotherhood that is sustained, even after you are discharged. “Being in the military had a huge part in molding me into the man I am today,” he said.
“I loved my military service because it set me up for the person I am. I don’t consider myself a star … I’m a guy who cooks and have the ability to go on TV and use that ability, that ‘fame,’ to benefit other people,” he said. “My restaurants and I support 70 charities a year.”
Among the causes he supports are those related to the military, including the Wounded Warrior Project, and those for people suffering from cancer. His food line and restaurants allow him to actively support those charities. “It’s what I love to do,” My talent is cooking and I have to use that to the best of my ability to help others,” Irvine said. “The talent that I do have has to work for the betterment of people and I work tirelessly at that because I believe in that.
“Life is fun. Life is supposed to be fun, even in these hard economic times,” he said. “I am blessed beyond belief and I have a great, great life.”
Irvine will have that ”great, great life” on display at the Count Basie Theatre and warns people, if they don’t attend the show, “they will miss the best show of their life.”
Tickets for Robert Irvine LIVE are available for $75, $49.50 and $35 by visiting the Count Basie Theatre box office at 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank, calling 732-842-9000 or going to the website at countbasietheatre.com.