The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.
Most Recent Entries
- And Now, A Look Back At Year 2014 [Back To The Food Future]
- Behold This Year’s Crazy Florida State Fair Food [Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger, Step Aside]
- The Best Things I Ate In 2013, Part 2 [And Some Of Your Favorite Flavors As Well ]
- The Best Things I Ate In 2013, Part 1 [Thanks For The Calories]
- A Little Sumthin’ Sumthin’ Extra For Santa [Up On The Rooftop, Snack, Snack, Snack]
- Epicurean Hotel, One Week From Opening, Tantalizes With Details [Goat Cheese On The Mini-Bar]
- A Word Or Two About Great Bar Food [And The Golden Snacky Award Goes To…]
- This Haiku Contest/Is All About The Fruitcake/Get To Writing, Stat! [Guess Who’s Judging?]
- Five Edible Christmas Gifts To Buy For Friends and Loved Ones [Black Friday Comes Just Once A Year]
- Giving Thanks For Alternatives To Thanksgiving [Turkey, Shmurkey.]
- Taking A Bite Of The Pillsbury Bake-Off [Fear And Baking In Las Vegas]
- Sea Urchin Crostini, Tiger Beef Salad And Faked Alaska [This Week’s Weekend Eats]
- A Way To Eat Kale For People Who Hate Kale [Chef John Besh Cooks From The Heart]
- The Sip: 3 Daughters Brewing Comes To Live [Pumpkin Tap, Carmel Cafe Cocktails, Great Sips]
- Remembering Marcella Hazan [The Most Important Ingredient]
A Possible New Show For Robert Irvine, “Dinner: Canceled”
Posted Feb 29, 2008 by Jeff Houck
Updated Mar 2, 2008 at 09:59 AM
Two weeks ago, St. Petersburg Times writer (and former Tampa Tribune reporter) Ben Montgomery broke the story that Robert Irvine, star of the Food Network show “Dinner: Impossible” had padded his resume and, generally, acted like an ##### in the Tampa Bay area while portraying himself as being on the verge of opening two restaurants in downtown St. Pete. The spaces for those restaurants, named Ooze and Schmooze, remain vacant on Beach Drive, despite more than a year of pronouncements of impending openings. (He did so with me as recently as September during my Table Conversations podcast interview with him.)
Soon after the Times story, Food Network yanked Irvine’s bio from FoodNetwork.com and redacted a few pronouncements from the intro of the show. Irvine also was scheduled to appear at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival last weekend in Miami Beach, but became chef non grata at the event and canceled at the last minute.
Even Anthony Bourdain, a former Food Network personality who has since become one of the network’s fiercest critics while vaulting to success as host of the Travel Channel series “No Reservations,” joked about Irvine on his blog.
Bourdain posted from the SoBe festival about his bestowing of the dubious Golden Clog food awards with writer Michael Ruhlman. In that post, he mentions that the Food Network actively campaigned for their stars not to attend the makeshift ceremony. (Only Rocco DiSpirito and Aaron Sanchez did.)
“My other concern, of course, is that Robert (Dinner Inconvenient) Irvine, deranged by his suddenly disappearing [online] biographies and his rudely canceled event, will somehow focus some hormone-fueled rage on ... me - and wrap his tiny little hands around my neck while flexing those oversized guns. My brains would squeeze out of the top of my head like toothpaste coming out of the tube …”
Irvine is still making appearances, including taping an episode of the show Wednesday night in Washington D.C. at the Pink Tie fundraiser for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Washington Post reports that the press was kept very far away from Irvine as he prepared dinner for 250 guests.
At a about 12:15 p.m. today, Food Network spokeswoman Lisa DelColle e-mailed me a statement by network president Brooke Johnson saying that Irvine will finish the rest of the production schedule but will be replaced as host at the end of the season:
“We looked into the situation and found that, as Robert as already admitted, there were some embellishments and inaccuracies in his resume. The few and minor incidents of the inclusion of these embellishments into “Dinner Impossible” have been removed. The show is, and has always been, completely accurate in the depiction of the cooking challenges faced by Robert. We will continue airing both old shows and the new season of programs currently in production. We have not renewed Robert’s contract for future seasons but will fulfill our contractual obligations. We rely on the trust that our viewers have in the accuracy of the information we present, and Robert challenged that trust. We appreciate Robert’s remorse about his actions, and we can revisit this decision at the end of the production cycle, but for now we will be looking for a replacement host.”
The network also released a statement from Irvine that read:
“I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences regarding the Royal Family. I am proud of my work while serving in the Royal Navy and on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, also as part of the Guest Chef program in the White House with the United States Navy, in addition to my culinary accomplishments. I should have stood on those accomplishments alone, without embellishment. I remain committed and enthusiastic about my work with Food Network and other future endeavors. I am truly sorry for the errors in my judgment. To all my family, friends and loyal fans, I will work tirelessly to regain your trust and continue to use my show and life to benefit the less fortunate.”
For those who have never seen the show, check out this trailer:
UPDATE NO. 2: Readers of The Stew say: Cut Irvine a break.