The British Celebrity Chef Opening a Restaurant in the Pentagon Has Quite a Past
Celebrity chef Robert Irvine is British, married to a Canadian pro wrestler, and has been accused of fabricating much of his resumé. He's also opening a new restaurant inside the Pentagon.
Irvine, who has jumped around on several Food Network shows, announced the venture on Monday via Twitter (with a smiley face emoticon no less).
The announcement prompted this intriguing look into how the roughly 30,000 Pentagon employees manage to eat throughout the course of their day. (Did you know the Pentagon Food Court has an outpost by a luxury chocolatier?) Turns out, they don't eat so well:
Surprisingly for an organization that places a priority on physical fitness, most of the Pentagon’s food offerings are not considered especially healthy, featuring fast food outlets like Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Burger King, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts. The line at eateries with relatively healthier offerings, like Subway, is often very long."
First of all, that doesn't sound so bad. Second of all, Subway is not healthy. Come on. Nevertheless, perception is perception.
Irvine, who happens to be totally jacked, has done some work to promote healthy eating and has also gone to Afghanistan with the USO and worked with the Wounded Warriors Project.
But even just a cursory look into the biography of Robert Irvine should raise all kinds of red flags, especially given that Irvine is going to be setting up shop in the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.
According to a 2008 Tampa Bay Times investigation of Irvine's credentials for a story about two restaurant ventures in South Florida of his that never came to fruition, it was more than suggested that Irvine had been untruthful or exaggeration the following biographical plot points:
Claim: He has a B.S. degree in food and nutrition from the University of Leeds.
Reality: Sarah Spiller, a press officer at the University of Leeds: "We cannot find any connection in our records between Robert and the university."
Claim: He worked on the wedding cake for Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Reality: "I was at the school when that was happening," Irvine said. "They made the cake at the school where I was."
Claim: He was a KCVO Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order and had been given a castle by the queen of England.
Reality: Jenn Stebbing, press officer at Buckingham Palace: "He is not a KCVO Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order and he wasn't given a castle by the queen of England."
Claim: He was a White House chef who served heads of state.
Reality: He worked in the Navy Mess of the West Wing.
Irvine fessed up to some of these things, including not being a KCVO Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, which are personally selected by the Queen.
In 2008, after pulling Irvine's bio from its website, the Food Network dumped him from its Dinner: Impossible series. The network hired him back six months later.
Apparently, America is willing to give him a second chance as well. FLOTUS Michelle Obama would later appear with Irvine on a White House edition of his show Restaurant: Impossible. And now he's heading to the Pentagon.