Robert Irvine
Source: Getty

Food Network Star Robert Irvine's Scandal Almost Ended His Career

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Mar. 18 2021, Updated 5:33 p.m. ET

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine is one of the most beloved fan favorites. He’s so beloved that when a scandal popped up regarding the credentials he lists on his resume, he came back into the public eye just a few months later as if nothing had happened. And now the Food Network staple is back to show us that anything is possible with a revival of the show that made him a star, Dinner: Impossible.

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On Dinner: Impossible, Robert and his team are tasked with cooking up extravagant meals with scant ingredients in seemingly impossible conditions. But nothing is more impossible than making a comeback from a scandal completely unscathed like he (mostly) did.

So, what exactly happened with Robert Irvine’s scandal?

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Chef Robert Irvine was the center of a 2008 scandal in which he embellished his resume.

We’ve heard of way worse scandals than embellishing a resume, but for Robert Irvine, he went a little too far. We often make jokes about lying on a resume, but many of us would never dare to actually do it. It’s like the Friends episode in which Joey’s resume says he can speak French, but he can actually only speak gibberish.

What Robert did, however, is exaggerate some of the experiences on his resume. He claimed to have been knighted and handpicked by Queen Elizabeth II herself, and that he was a close personal friend and chef to Prince Charles. Neither of those are true. Robert Irvine also said he cooked for four United States presidents, which is also untrue.

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robert irvine
Source: Getty

Robert Irvine apologized for his resume scandal, but fans felt betrayed.

When it came out that these “facts” of Robert’s past were actually fiction, his fans felt betrayed. In reality, no one really cared if he had done all those things, but it was disheartening that one of our favorite chefs had essentially lied to us. In Robert’s defense, he simply stretched the truth in a lot of those instances.

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Robert grew up in a very traditional British household, and was encouraged to join the Royal Navy, which he did in a cooking capacity. However, he told Hollywood Chicago, “For years – especially in England where I come from – cooking was a subservient job. When I told my Dad I was going to be a cook, he wouldn’t talk to me for two years. Even though it was associated with my military service, he thought cooking was beneath me.”

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Perhaps his father’s pressure also encouraged some of Robert’s tall tales? Robert did work on the royal yacht Britannia as related to his service in the Royal Navy, and he was involved in the guest chef program at the White House, but he did not cater personally to the presidents. 

Robert closed his apology by saying, “I should have stood on those accomplishments alone, without embellishment ... I am truly sorry for the errors in my judgment."

The Tampa Bay Times cleared up a lot of the muck around Robert Irvine's scandal. He told them, "When I first came down there and I met people down there with all this money, it was like trying to keep up with the Joneses. I was sitting in a bar one night and that came out. It was stupid." 

He had apparently tried to stop it from getting out of hand, but once the stories started, they were like a barrel rolling down a hill. 

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robert irvine
Source: Getty

Robert Irvine is back with ‘Dinner: Impossible’ after a long hiatus.

When the scandal of Robert’s embellished resume broke in 2008, Food Network took him off the air and replaced him with Michael Symon. Apparently, the network knew that they would bring Robert back once the whispers of scandals died down, and 10 episodes later, they stuck to that. 

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Robert’s continued success with Dinner: Impossible led to a new, even more popular show, Restaurant: Impossible, in which he helped failing restaurants get back on their feet. This motivated him to take on a talk show, The Robert Irvine Show, also inspired by Oprah, who Robert has pointed to as one of his biggest inspirations. 

robert irvine
Source: Getty

Now, over 10 years after Dinner: Impossible’s last episode, Robert Irvine is bringing back the will to face any challenge head-on, which is something we all need right now.

Watch new episodes of Dinner: Impossible every Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Food Network or stream them on Discovery+. 

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