Although chef Robert Irvine is best known for flexing his muscles all over Food Network Canada programming in shows such as Restaurant Impossible, Dinner Impossible, Worst Cooks in America and Next Iron Chef, there’s more to him than meets the eye. Read on to find out some little known facts about this gregarious celebrity chef and television personality.
Watch Restaurant Impossible, Thursdays at 9 PM ET/PT on Food Network Canada. Also Available on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.
Robert has British credentials
Robert has said in episodes of Restaurant Impossible that he grew up in a pub. He hails from Salisbury, Wiltshire, a county in southwest England. Both parents have a background in renovations. His father is painter and decorator who used to play professional football and his mother worked in a wallpaper shop. Robert also owns a massive, nearly 9,000 square foot pub concept in Las Vegas.
His wife is a wrestling star
Robert is married to a former professional wrestler, WWE’s Gail Kim — and she’s Canadian! The Toronto-born Korean-Canadian wrestler has won numerous awards and was also the first woman inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. The pair met when she guest-starred on Restaurant Impossible. They were married in 2012 and their nuptials were catered by, you guessed it, fellow Food Network personality Guy Fieri himself.
Related: Quiz: Guess the Guy Fieri Quote
He has visited over 350 restaurants for Restaurant Impossible
In an interview, Robert says that Restaurant Impossible has helped 352 restaurants over the years. His team reportedly checks on each of those restaurants weekly, except for one in Ohio where the owner didn’t listen to him.
Related: Restaurants From Restaurant Impossible That Are Still Open
He has a spirits line
Although Robert spends a lot of time at the gym, he also has a line of vodka and gin called Irvine’s Spirits, made with botanicals that he also uses to cook with as a chef. The brand is packaged in bottles using navy blue, a call out to Robert’s affiliation with the navy.
He makes protein bars
Robert puts his money where his mouth is, quite literally, with a line of protein bars. Called FitCrunch, the protein and cookie bars and powders are available on Robert’s website, along with his ready to eat meals. Proceeds from these sales go to his charitable foundation (more on that below).
He writes books
Robert doesn’t just play an entrepreneur on tv…he’s got the author credentials to prove it. From cookbooks to fitness coaching to guides for aspiring businesses, Robert has written three books and has a new one coming out shortly titled, appropriately, Overcoming Impossible.
“I made my name as a chef, but my ultimate legacy will be as an entrepreneur. Business is my greatest passion and the thing that makes me most excited to get out of bed each morning,” writes Robert on his website. “I’ve always wanted to write this book, and now I finally have enough hindsight to analyze the moves that transformed me from an aspiring entrepreneur to a successful one.”
He gives to charity
All of Robert’s businesses funnel some parts of their proceeds into the Robert Irvine Foundation, founded in 2014 to raise money to support veterans and active duty military members. The foundation funds the training of service dogs, providing meals to service members and their families, counselling for first responders and providing mobility devices to injured veterans.
He’s produced a movie
Robert also produced a movie called Hell or High Seas, due out in October. The documentary follows two U.S. Navy veterans as they sail around Cape Horn, and explores themes such as PTSD and the journey of veterans returning to civilian life.
He’s big in fitness magazines
Not only was Robert on the cover of Men’s Health (he reportedly works out six days a week), he also runs his own free magazine offering fitness tips and leadership advice.