The star of Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” wanted a fun and memorable food event unlike any of the others that he had ever attended.
On May 21 Robert Irvine hosts the second annual Beats ‘n Eats Food + Music Event in one of his favorite cities.
While in Washington DC for a USO event, Irvine shared in a phone interview that Philadelphia was where he arrived when he emigrated to America from England in the ‘90s to take a chef position at the former Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City (which will soon reopen as a Hard Rock Casino). He became friends with notable chef Jose Garces, and said: “Philly’s been an excellent food town. There are so many up and coming chefs.”
Some of those critically acclaimed chefs will be preparing dishes as part of a seven-course, large-scale, communal sit-down dinner at the Fillmore Philadelphia: Jason Cichonski of Ela Restaurant and “Top Chef” Season 11; 2014 James Beard finalist Brad Spence of Amis; Marcie Turney of Lolita, Barbuzzo, Jamonera, Little Nonna’s, Verde, and Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates; and Matt Fein of Federal Donuts.
Celebrity chefs that will also be adding yum that night are Elizabeth Falkner, Beau MacMillan and Jennifer Carroll.
“I love the chefs and I love Philadelphia,” said Irvine, who has also appeared on the Food Network programs “Worst Cooks in America,” “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Dinner: Impossible, “Chopped: Impossible,” “Restaurant Express” and others.
“One of Robert’s directions for this year was to feature strong and dynamic female chefs,” said Justin Leonard, the chief operating officer of Irvine’s R. Mission Inc. in Philly.
The bill of fare will include two appetizers, two pasta dishes, a dessert by Turney and a tomahawk steak entree prepared by Irvine, Leonard said.
“These chefs are world renowned in their own way, so I told them: ‘Do what best represents you.’ It’s no good me telling them what to do,” Irvine said.
Punctuating the courses will be performances by Philly musical talents Schoolly D and Chill Moody, along with emerging rock and soul artist Zeek Burse, singer/songwriter Nina Rosen and singer/songwriter Eric Dash. “We wanted to make that a Philly-centric event,” Leonard commented.
Beats ‘n Eats will also feature cocktail bars presented by Philadelphia Distilling and Naked Grouse Whiskey, draft beer selections presented by Yards Brewing and wine selections provided by Barton & Guestier and Patriarche USA.
Produced in cooperation with My City Gives LLC and presented by Live Nation and Comcast Business, Beats ‘n Eats will be a fundraiser to assist and increase opportunities for active military, veterans and first responders through the non-profit Robert Irvine Foundation.
A British naval veteran, Irvine said that he’s met veterans that need help with health care issues “to fill in gaps the government can’t. We’re asking more of our military. They’re deployed longer, it’s more intense. We forget that we’re in a 17-year war, and not only are there visible signs (of injury), but invisible signs.”
According to Leonard, last year’s inaugural Beats ‘n Eats at the Fillmore sold out and benefitted Philabundance and the Philadelphia Music Alliance.
Irvine said that one of last year’s highlights was when he and celebrity guest Buddy Valastro spontaneously served the tables themselves. “I don’t want people to get bored. It’s about local folks getting to know the restaurants around them,” he said.
When asked if he had new TV projects in the works, Irvine said he’d be returning to “Worst Cooks in America,” that we’d see him on Travel Channel at some point, and also on network TV (Irvine had a daytime talk show on the CW). Stay tuned at www.chefirvine.com (which has links to his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram amd YouTube channels), www.robertirvinefoods.com and www.robertirvinefoundation.org.