I am a fan of food tv, well ok I admit it, I am a fan of all kinds of DIY television. Over the years I have seen Robert Irvine’s huge personality filling the scene on shows like Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible, and Chopped. So, recently when Xfinity invited me to a dinner and demonstration with Chef & Chief Robert Irvine I was both excited, intrigued, and intimidated.
Robert Irvine has worked in the culinary world for more than 25 years, is host and creator of one of the Food Network’s highest rated shows, and is currently on tour with his new talk show Robert Irvine Live. In addition, chef Irvine has a restaurant in the Pentagon, Fresh Kitchen. Robert Irvine is a part of the military community, the culinary community, and a community of fitness and wellness advocates. Xfinity is also part of the military community. Xfinity’s CEO Neil Smit, served on active duty with the Navy SEAL Teams and retired from the service as a Lieutenant Commander. This connection, and the desire to give back to the military is something that unites both Robert Irvine and Xfinity. In May of last year, Xfinity committed to hiring 10,000 reservists, veterans and their spouses or domestic partners between 2015 and 2017.
Before dinner, I had a chance to chat with the chef. I wanted to find out a little bit more about why he does what he does. As a young boy Irvine went into the army and left childhood at the door because there’s really no room for any of that in the barracks. When I asked Chef Irvine about which path led him to where he is today and why he chose the medium/media of television he reflected on this.
“I’m having fun!” he replied, noting that he is making up for lost time and taking back some of the fun he had to set aside in his early military days. Irvine is having fun with his life, and that includes giving back to his community, which is a vast one. For an evening, Xfinity brought us all together for a little dinner, cooking tips, and a lot of laughs.
If you have seen any of Robert Irvine’s shows you know he isn’t soft spoken or hesitant to share an opinion or two. This made for an energic evening full of tricks and tips to bring home to the kitchen.
Here Chef Irvine is having a willing audience member, demonstrate the (a) and (b) of what not to do if you want to caramelize anything.
The point here is, if you have a pan on the heat, you want to keep it still so that the food will be able to caramelize or brown. If you keep futzing with the pan, as is habit with many, you won’t get the results you want.
I also learned something new about lobster from a Brit! Here Chef Irvine is explaining that you should shock your lobster after it comes out of the steamer that way the meat shrinks away from the shell and it is much easier to release.
Last, but not least, Chef Irvine talked to us about grapeseed oil, which is what I use as well. Grapeseed oil is a great choice of vegetable oil for sautéing and frying since it can withstand the heatnof the pan and won’t break down or smoke. Unlike, olive oil you will not find ‘imposter oils’ mixed in.