Food Network drops 'Dinner: Impossible' chef Robert Irvine for lying
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/03/2008
Food Network has decided to kick Robert Irvine out of the kitchen after the Dinner: Impossible star cooked-up several lies about everything from his culinary education and experience to the identities of some of his more famous clientele.
"We will continue airing both old shows and the new season currently in production. We have not renewed Robert's contract for future seasons but will fulfill our contractual obligations," Food Network president Brooke Johnson said in a Friday statement obtained by the St. Petersburg Times.
"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."
An investigation by the Times last month found the author and television chef embellished several of the facts presented in separate biographical profiles posted on both his own corporate website and the network's foodnetwork.com website.
The Food Network launched its own investigation and subsequently found "embellishments and inaccuracies" in Irvine's resume, the Times reported.
As a result, Food Network has since removed the biographical embellishments and inaccuracies from its website as well as completed episodes of Dinner: Impossible, the Times reported.
While the chef is currently filming new episodes of Dinner: Impossible's 13-episode fourth season, Food Network has yet to decide whether an installment of its Chefography biographical series focused on Irvine will still air as scheduled this month, according to the Times.
"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," said Irvine in a Friday statement obtained by the Times. "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."
"I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences regarding the royal family," he continued. "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."
Irvine's "Mission: Cook!" cookbook and autobiography, which was published by HarperCollins in 2007, has also been removed from Home Shopping Network's website. A HarperCollins spokesperson told the Times "if there are any inaccuracies [in the book], we will make a correction."
In addition to his Dinner: Impossible gig, Irvine's "embellishments and inaccuracies" also seem to have jeopardized the status of Ooze and Schmooze, two new still-unopened side-by-side St. Petersburg restaurants Irvine was supposed to have opened more than three months ago.
"With the restaurant opportunities, a lot of elements have been happening over the past two weeks and it's a very different environment," Irvine's business partner, J. Randall Williams, told the Times. "We've invested a lot of money, but there's a lot more money needed still to have it go forward."
Needless to say, Irvine has become the butt of jokes by other celebrity chefs.
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At the South Beach Wine & Food Festival last weekend, Anthony Bourdain -- who stars in Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations reality series -- and fellow television chef Michael Ruhlman awarded Irvine a mock "Golden Clog Award" for "most fame based on least actual culinary achievement," the Times reported.