Interviews

Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine's Latest Dish

The jacked chef is cooking up a second TV career as a tough-love mentor to people in dire circumstances on "The Robert Irvine Show."

Like most chefs, Robert Irvine’s hands have been burned and sliced innumerable times. Unlike most chefs, Irvine’s hands bear another sign of wear and tear—thick calluses on the palms that have accrued, not from cooking, but from countless hours in the gym, pumping iron. Right now these overworked hands are thumbing through the notes for the very first episode of The Robert Irvine Show, his new daytime conflict-resolution talk show airing now on the CW. The show’s genesis was a natural extension of what made his show, Restaurant: Impossible, so popular for 13 seasons. In the process of renovating restaurants, fixing business plans, revamping menus, and fine-tuning staff, Irvine often had to mend broken relationships among disheartened family members. His skills as a straight-talking, no-BS mediator added an emotional component that made him one of Food Network’s highest-rated talents.

Call time is less than five minutes away. The veins of Irvine’s biceps twitch as he flips the pages and sips a steaming cup of English breakfast tea. Producers and executives have come and gone all morning to check in on their host and go over the final details. Then the chef is left alone in his dressing room, which used to belong to late-night legend Jay Leno. The set for Irvine’s new show is built right on top of the set of Leno’s Tonight Show at the Burbank Studios. Before that, the stage belonged to the iconic Johnny Carson.
“It is strange being in a place with so much history,” Irvine says. “When you think about everyone who’s walked through here.”

Even though he’s been hosting his own TV show for nearly a decade, it’s enough to give the Englishman goosebumps.

“I was nervous yesterday and a little the day before,” Irvine admits. “Getting to the gym helped.”

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