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Jeff Houck

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.

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A Possible New Show For Robert Irvine, “Dinner: Canceled”

Posted Feb 29, 2008 by Jeff Houck

Updated Mar 2, 2008 at 09:59 AM


st/listings24Two 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.)

Bourdain wrote:

“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:

Food Network President Brooke Johnson“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: I just saw that Serious Eats reported this news as well earlier this afternoon. So did TMZ.com

UPDATE NO. 2: Readers of The Stew say: Cut Irvine a break.

Reader Comments

Por (Tom Lewis) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Lots of people embleish their resume,  FN should have caught that before they hired him. I love his show and think that FN should keep Dinner Impossible,  Let the one who has not sinned cast the first stone.

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Por (Jeanette) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Where are Roberts friends at FN.Guy, Paula where are you? Leave the man alone keep his show.Wake up FN you are making money off this guy and that is your bottom line. DI will be cancelled in 3 months without Robert.

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Por (Jeanette) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

One comment was that he lied to his investors.I haven’t seen any response from any investor stating he lied to them. I have read the report in the St Pete newspaper with comments from the so called St Pete elite whom he has fallen out of grace with. As someone who makes investments on a regular bases I always check the facts.

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Por (Robbie Cochran) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

DI was the best show on FN, next to Good Eats…... he did make a bad choice that will haunt him, its just a shame the way it all turned out….good lesson Kids, pay attention.

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Por (Tina Huestis) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think the FN should cut him a break. If he did not embellish his resume they may not have given him a show. Hasn’t he proven himself on Dinner Impossible? I love the show and look forward to watching it.  I am saddened by the decision of FN to not renew his contract. We are not all perfect. There is alot of embellishing going on. Look at all the candidates running for President.

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Por (Doug Rodgers) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

“...there were some embellishments and inaccuracies in his resume.”

Is that the politically correct way to say, “He LIED through his teeth”?  He either lied or he didn’t.  It is possible to make a mistake in something you write and it can rightly be refered to as an, “inaccuracy”.  If so, give him his slap on the wrist and send him back to the kitchen.
On the other hand, if he LIED, then call it like it is and send him packing!  There are pleanty of honest cooks who can get in front of a camera. 
So, raise the bar and people will strive for it.  Lower the bar and you get what you deserve.

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Por (Steve Anderson) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

He padded his resume’  Most every employer will fire a person for that offense.

Yes, he was good but untrustworthy.

He only has one person to blame.

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Por (David Prescott) on March 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I still like Robert and will watch anything he does. Dinner impossible will not be worth a damn without Robert. In this time of lying being the normal started by the Clinton White House what Robert did was relatively small. I had to post here as the food network will not accept my e-mail saying it ends in 2 letters which only states do that but my e-mail still exists. I’ve had that problem with e-mail being accepted in New york before.  WE LOVE ROBERT KEEP HIM ON FOOD NETWORK !!!!

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Por (John Hunt) on March 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I don’t think Irvine should be rewarded for lying to his employer.  He advanced himself above other more qualified candidates for a show on Food T.V.  Others were honest and didn’t get the job.  He’s a phoney and deserves to get the boot.

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Por (Alison Simpson) on March 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

The network needs to fire the HR people responsible for checking resumes. Robert is great and I won’t watch the show w/o him. He needs a second chance.

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Por (Arlene Rhoads) on March 05, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I have enjoyed watching Robert Irvine on Dinner Impossible. The show wouldn’t be the same without him. I’m truly hoping that the network will realize that he is a great asset 2 their channel & that he cannot be replaced.I’m so tired of the many shows by Rachel Ray & Paula Deen even though I like them, as well.It seems like every time I turn the Food Channel on or go 2 the store I see their faces. Enough already! When I finally had 2 see Rachel Ray’s picture on the crackers i like to eat I finally said that I had had enough & I stopped buying those crackers!Robert Irvine is a very talented & hardworking, resourceful chef & culinary expert who can do so much when crunched for time. Please keep him on the show!!! Thank you for listening!

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Por (Arlene Rhoads) on March 05, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I have enjoyed watching Robert Irvine on Dinner Impossible. The show wouldn’t be the same without him. I’m truly hoping that the network will realize that he is a great asset 2 their channel & that he cannot be replaced.I’m so tired of the many shows by Rachel Ray & Paula Deen even though I like them, as well.It seems like every time I turn the Food Channel on or go 2 the store I see their faces. Enough already! When I finally had 2 see Rachel Ray’s picture on the crackers i like to eat I finally said that I had had enough & I stopped buying those crackers!Robert Irvine is a very talented & hardworking, resourceful chef & culinary expert who can do so much when crunched for time. Please keep him on the show!!! Thank you for listening!

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Por (C. Weitzel) on March 05, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I have enjoyed and have watched Chef Irvine since Food Network hired and debuted the tv show Dinner Impossible. Not only do I defend Chef Irvine for simply embellishing his past (big deal) but I hold Food Network quite frankly, responsible for not only forgetting to “do their homework” on their employee but also FOR NOT defending him and admitting that they too should be held accountable. Ultimately, he has apologized and should be forigiven. He has not hurt anyone….if anything he has given much of himself for charity. Try to remember the good in people and not to focus so much on the small mistakes we ALL make folks!

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Por (Margaret Oliver) on March 06, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I love Robert Irvine’s show and wouldn’t miss it for the whole.  I am saddened that the Food Network has set to cancel his series.  I am sure there are a lot worse things going on at the Food Network to concern themselves with than Robert’s statement.  I would far rather watch him than those cutesy, whiny,so called chefs that host shows.  No names mentioned but I am sure you can guess.
I hope Robert gets another show and I will be his #1 fan.

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Por (JackieLynne Gray) on March 10, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I can’t believe the Foodnetwork..The whole world was told that Chef Robert spiced up his background but now you want to fire him also..We all should have known that something was going to happen to DI because it is wonderful show. The good shows are always taken off. Chef Robert is full of energy and the show just keeps me watching to make sure he makes it and he does. There is never a dull moment. And it teaches how to make something out of nothing. Speaking of nothing well that is what DI will be without Chef Robert. I just want to know if Foodnetwork is going to do a complete cleaning of everyone working there? Please leave Chef Robert on the air and let all of this drop.

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Por (Edward Blume) on March 14, 2008 (Suggest removal)

To all who want to sign a patition to save Robert Irvine job! Please click or copy on this url: http://www.gopetition.com/online/17486.html Then scroll down to where it says “SIGN THE PETITION”. TY
Eddie

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Por (Nadia) on March 18, 2008 (Suggest removal)

i feel sorry to hear that happened,I do agree that what he had done to his resume is not good,but he is really a good chef and the show was great too.cannot imagine the show with out him.

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Por (Rachaelle English) on March 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

EONOUGH IS EONOUGH!! LEAVE ROBERT ANONE!! HE REPENTED FOR WHAT HE DID STOP BEATING HIM UP THOSE WHO WOULD ON THIS BLOG!!!! SHUT UP, FOR BEATING ON HIM THOSE WHO DID!!! YOUR NOT SO RIGHT.HE IS AN EXCELLENT CHEF AND CAN COOK ANYONE UNDER THE TABLE PERIOD.THOSE WHO LOVE HIM,I AGREE WITH YOU.THANK YOU FOR HELPING.HE FEELS BAD EONOUGH ALREADY,HE HAS MORE THAN PROVEN HIS WORTH AS A CHEF AND A GREAT HUMAN BEING.WE LOVE HIM SO MUTCH,I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR HIM,HE IS WONDERFUL,HE MADE A MISTAKE,HE WILL MAKE THINGS RIGHT WITH GOD AND THE REST OF ALL OF US.SIGN THE PITITION,TO FOOD NETWORK, RESPOND TO THE BLOGS AND WELL SEE WHAT HAPPENS MY FRIENDS,KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.WRITE ME.PEACE!

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Por (Terry Riester) on April 10, 2008 (Suggest removal)

If someone came into your home & lied about most things that got him IN your home, it’s A OK to just say “I’m Sorry”! AFTER HE’S CAUGHT.  Please, now he’s back with the wife & kids.What about the high times in Florida? Pictures of women all over him. Poor wife! What about all those people he screwed out of money?  Think “I’m sorry” will feed THEIR families?  GREAT CHEF?  How do you know? You can’t taste his food. Think people on the show will say it sucks?  Irvine really doesn’t execute many complicated cooking techniques himself, so who knows how good he really is??? Yeah, I’m a chef and yes I watch or WATCHED his show.  No more!  He deserves everything he is getting.

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Por (David Prescott) on April 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Terry from Chicago is full of sour grapes and just how does anyone know your a chef? You just wish your could cook like Robert, go cry on some of your yuck food and as far as Robert Irvine is concerned dinner impossible can not be done better than with him. You cry way to much to be considered a man much less a chef. I support Robert period !!!

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Por (Ruth Lackey) on April 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I enjoyed watching his show and could care less who or what he has done or hasn’t. Perhaps most people should review their resumes…

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Por (Roselin) on May 21, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Its done deal - but what could one do when he lost his face ??

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Por (A. Rhoads) on October 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It’s called forgiveness. Forgive and you will also be forgiven.

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Por (Terry Riester) on October 20, 2008 (Suggest removal)

WOW, David in OK! Blind loyalty & forgiveness to someone you don’t know, aren’t related to & who isn’t paying you! He cheated on his wife,stole money from friends & investors,lied to his boss & thousands of unsuspecting people who trusted him. WOW, in this day & age, blind loyalty. HOW SWEET! I hope your family, friends & local grocer get that treatment too!! Face it, he screwed, got caught, paid the price & if he is lucky his wife won’t leave him! That’s the reality of it. Lying on a resume is a gamble, plain & simple. If you get caught, you get fired. Why on earth should this guy get special treatment? As for me..The fact that you assumed I’m a MAN,it tells a lot about how YOUR brain works. I’m a CHEF, I a WOMEN!  You are neither?

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Por (David Prescott) on October 20, 2008 (Suggest removal)

No were can I find that he cheated on his wife. Thats right it’s called forgivness. And it’s not just cooking it’s got a lot of show biz in it. As for my thinking you were a man that was just a misstatement. Sure, sure your a chef well I can’t confirm that but you sure cry well…

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