Robert Irvine is a big, tall and sometimes slightly boisterous teddy bear that does more behind the scenes than most know about. With a huge heart rivaled only by the size of his biceps he embraces life with a sense of responsibility, awe and joy that make him one of The Food Networks favorites on his show Restaurant Impossible. He is also as a man I proudly call a friend. In a recent catch up session I was struck once again by the way in which Robert sees the world as full of opportunity rather than obstacles and in the shade of his triceps we talked about food, fans and everything in between.
Photo Credit: Robert Irvine
Joshua Estrin: If television is a reflection of reality... How might you identify with those who you help in the show?
Robert Irvine: I get close to the people we help on the show. They are real people, with real feelings and yes some real problems that often go beyond the restaurant and enter the realm of family dynamics. How could I not grow close to them and despite the rumors (he laughs) I am human too so I can identify with some of their issues as well.
JE: What is it about overcoming the impossible that you think still attracts viewers?
RI: Everyone likes a good love story. We all enjoy seeing people realize success and the underdog prevail. We are bombarded with hardship every day... our own and those across the street and across the planet so I believe success will always be trending.
JE: How real is your show? Is the clock really ticking the way it appears?
RI: It is 100% real. The viewer sees it all. In fact I am heading to New Hampshire today and as always I ask my staff to keep me 'in the dark'. You are watching real people, real struggle and at times you are also seeing me get really frustrated, pissed off, angry and genuinely moved too.
JE: You are just celebrated a milestone with the show. Has it changed?
RI: It has not changed very much. It is still about people, emotion, hard work and a desire to make a change. Some of us lose our way from time to time and that's ok I just step in and shine a light on the path both old and new.
JE: Finish this sentence is you would. A marriage is like an episode of Restaurant Impossible because....
RI: Hmmm - You never know what to expect and that is part of the excitement.
JE: Tell me about some of your other projects.
RI: I like to stay busy so I continue to work with the charity Wounded Warriors, fine-tune and promote my line of fitness products as well as my book Fit Fuel and look forward some new restaurant adventures in the Washington DC and Connecticut markets.
Restaurant Impossible can be seen Wednesdays 10|9c on The Food Network
NOTE: In the spirit of full disclosure I have no commercial connection to any of the entities mentioned in this post nor was I paid to write it.