Dinner: Impossible star Robert Irvine is in hot water after the Food Network’s chef reportedly invented some lies that touch numerous aspects of his life – from his culinary education and experience to the identities of some of his better-known customers. The author and television chef is charged with embellishing several of the facts in separate biographical profiles posted on both his own corporate website and the network’s foodnetwork.com website, the St. Petersburg Times reported on Sunday.
Food Network then removed the Irvine biography posted on the network’s own website late Monday morning. However, the version posted on Irvine’s own website – another bio with some claims different from the Food Network’s version – is still online as of Tuesday afternoon.
“It is unfortunate when Robert embellishes the extent of his dining experience,” a Food Network spokesman said in a statement. “We are investigating and taking the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy of all statements made by Robert on Food Network and foodnetwork.com.”
Dinner: Impossible, a reality series that tests Irvine’s culinary skills as he tries to create a meal with little time. It premiered on the Food Network last January and is currently on its third season. At the premiere, the network billed Irvine as “culinary James Bond”.
According to Irvine’s biography on the company website, he has been cooking since joining the Royal Navy at age 15 and has “a BS in Food and Nutrition from Leeds University,” but the apparently aptly abbreviated “BS” initials do not reflect a Bachelor of Science “title.
“This was a program launched by the Royal Navy,” Irvine told the Times during a telephone interview from his home in Abescon, NJ. “We don’t call it a Bachelor of Science.”
Regardless of what Irvine or the Royal Navy call it, the university has not been able to connect the cook to their school.
“We can’t find a connection between Robert and the university in our records,” Sarah Spiller, spokeswoman for the University of Leeds, told the Times.
In addition, Irvine claims in its mission: Cook! Cookbook and autobiography published by HarperCollins in 2007, which, according to the Times, worked on Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding cake.
“I was in school when that happened. They made the cake at the school I was in,” Irvine told the Times, who then specifically asked if he helped make the cake.
“Picking fruit and the like,” he replied.
When Irvine moved to the St. Petersburg area two years ago, the Times reported that he also introduced himself to numerous people as “Sir Robert Irvine, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order”.
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“He said there were five levels of knighthood, and KCVO is the highest level of knight you could be,” St. Petersburg celebrity Wendy LaTorre told the Times. “The queen chooses you.”
“He is not a KCVO Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order and the Queen of England has not given him a lock,” Buckingham Palace press secretary Jenn Stebbing told the Times, referring to another claim by Irvine that he owned a castle In scotland.
Irvine admitted to the Times that he lied about his knighthood and it snowballed from there.
“When I first came down [to St. Petersburg] and I met people down there with all that money, it was like trying to keep up with the Jones, “he told the Times.” I was sitting in a bar one night and that came out. It was stupid. ”
Irvine’s foodnetwork.com bio also says he cooked for four US presidents – Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush – and the Times reported that he was a White House chef in several newspapers been identified.
“Irvine’s ONLY connection to the White House is through the Navy measurement facility in the west wing,” Walter Scheib, White House chef from 1994-2005, told the Times via email. “Never in the period from 04/04/94 to 04/02/05 did he have EVERYTHING to do with the preparation, planning or service of a state dinner or any other private or public dining event in the Executive Residence of the White House.”
Irvine declined to tell the Times what role he worked in the White House.
“I can’t talk about it because it’s the White House,” he told the Times.
However, as of Tuesday afternoon, Irvine’s corporate website profile still appears to contain allegations that directly contradict Scheib’s statements.
“Robert’s greatest honor in 2001 was to be the head chef at the inaugural dinner for President George W. Bush, as he had done in previous years for President George HW Bush,” the bio reads.
Irvine’s Food Network biography also claims he received the Chef’s Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences from 1998 to 2006. However, the Times reported that the recipients are paying for that honor, noting that – as a trustee of the award itself – Irvine has issued several of them. He reportedly tried to present Scheib to someone who refused.
“His award appears to be available to anyone willing to put it on the wall,” Scheib told the Times.
As if the numerous adornments of his experiences and accomplishments weren’t enough, Irvine’s adjoining St. Petersburg restaurants – Ooze and Schmooze – were scheduled to open three months ago, but remain inactive, according to the Times.
While the sign outside the empty restaurants indicates that they will open this spring, experts told the Times that it will take “at least six months” to be operational.
“”[The misinformation] has nothing to do with opening a restaurant, “Irvine’s business partner J. Randall Williams told The Times.” All of these elements are unfortunate and irrelevant, but they are just noise. ”
In addition, St. Petersburg interior designer Susan Nice claims Irvine was in breach of a contract when he decided to use a different designer for the furnishings after she was hired, the Times reported. She has since sued.
Monica Taylor, who helped plan websites for the restaurants, told the Times he owed her and her partner around $ 10,000. LaTorre also claims Irvine owes her more than $ 100,000 for “marketing, advertising and real estate help,” according to the Times.
“Robert is not at all interested in evading commitments,” Williams told the Times. “I’m trying to collect all of these claims and figure out what’s real and what’s not, and it’s difficult because everyone claims they have agreements with Robert.”
The Irvine situation isn’t the first time someone appearing on the Food Network has gotten into trouble for lying about their past.
After The Next Food Network Star premiered in its third season last June, allegations surfaced that one of the episode’s two finalists – Josh “Jag” Garcia – lied about his military background and training. Garcia then decided to withdraw from the culinary competition.
Next Food Network Star Judges and Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson decided that Amy would replace Finley Garcia during the show’s live finale, rather than just dropping the home viewer’s voting and defaulting to his fellow finalist Rory Schepisi Declare winner.
The votes of the home crowd ultimately crowned Finley the winner.
About the author:
Christopher Rocchio is an entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and has been involved with the reality TV genre for several years.