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Part 1: Dinner Impossible with Robert Irvine

Posted Jul 29 2012 6:10pm

Hi there friends! :)

I’m a bit behind on my posting this weekend – time seriously just flies by!

Since finishing class on Thursday, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself down in Ocean City. Beautiful beach weather and the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival !!

My mom and I attended the festival last year and went to several different events: Sweet and Stylish and Sunset Sliders with Sunny Anderson, Brunch with Guy Fieri, Sun Sand and Organic with Robert Irvine, Wine Tasting with Michael Green, and Restaurant Invasion with Robert Irvine. The Restaurant Invasion was, by far, the BEST event we attended. All the events were fabulous, but for some reason we just loved Robert Irvine’s. He really knows how to make a dinner fun and enjoyable – not to mention delicious too! :)

This year, we decided to just attend Robert Irvine’s event. With the prices of the tickets and all of our summer adventures, we didn’t want to go overboard. Robert Irvine events are well worth the money and we really had an awesome time last year, so we decided we wanted to relive it again this year :)


For those of you who don’t know who Robert Irvine is, he’s an awesome chef from the Food Network. He’s known as the host of the TV show Dinner Impossible (my fav), his “battle” with Anne Burrell on Worst Cooks in America, and the host of Restaurant Impossible, where he has 2 days and $10,000 to change the lives of struggling restaurant owners - 46 out of the 50 restaurants are succeeding – seriously amazing work! Click here to learn more about this awesome man!

This year, his event was called … Dinner Impossible with Chef Robert Irvine

We arrived right at 6pm and hopped on line – the event didn’t start until 7pm, but I wanted to make sure we could get good seats! ;)

Once it came time to enter, we received our wrist bands and headed in to find some seats. We sat at the end of table where we were able to see the entire restaurant and had a pretty view of the outside.

The table was set-up beautifully with wine glasses for each course (along with a fabulous dinner from Robert Irvine, Michael Green also pairs wine with each meal).

Once we sat down, the first course was ready for us. A sweet and sour like butternut squash with fried garlic chips – DELICIOUS!

While enjoying this yummy veggie, Robert Irvine came out and started off the night by getting us out of our seats and having us go crazy and scream to start off the fun :) He really knows how to get a party started!

He then continued to tell us about the meal for tonight – a six course dinner consisting of unique techniques and twists on typical dishes.

Shortly after, our second course – octopus salad with farro (I think?) and fennel – came out.

The octopus was very spicy, but Robert toned it down with the fennel which was served directly underneath it – a great way to have some with every bite. Nana and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish – we love our spicy things :) This salad may have been my favorite dish of the night!

After finishing, to our surprise, Robert came right up to Nana (just like last year! – she’s one popular woman). He started a conversation with her and complimented her on her fabulous hairdo (just like last year!) – I’m convinced he recognized her ;)

He even smelled it too!!

He then asked Nana if she was winning tonight – as in money at the casino ;)

When she replied “No”, he began to go wild asking “WHY NOT!?” – Nana loved it …

He then whipped out his wallet and slapped down a $20 bill and told her to go win some money ..

Afterwards, he walked away and we snapped a great picture of Nana with her precious $20 bill.

(Later on, Robert signed it for her and she claims she is going to frame it ;)

And now the story gets better ….

Robert returns, to our surprise, with the director of PR for Caesars. He then starts to pressure her with what she was going to do to make sure this very nice lady starts winning.

And then came the greatest proposal of all time …

IMG_2722  (click to watch – she gets invited to his privately hosted dinner Saturday night!)

Nana quickly accepted and the nice woman took down our information. Nana could not believe it and was beaming the rest of the night. I’ve quickly made her into an even bigger Robert Irvine fan like me over these past two years :)

This honestly made her night. She couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the night and couldnt wait to tell the rest of the family at home later that night. She was so excited! He even signed my cookbook to her since she handed it to him – he definitely loved her!


After all the excitement and a few more jokes and stories from Robert himself, we were served the third course – A duck and chicken meatball in a bechamel sauce with gnocchidon’t worry guys, I had an abundance of lactaid pills ;) – I’m not a fan of cream sauces and only had a little to taste, but the meatball itself was phenomenal – I ate the inside part that didn’t touch the sauce :)

Then, it was time for the intremezzo:

A black truffle and lemon sorbet - A M A Z I N G! This man is so creative and successful with odd flavor combinations – I can’t take it!

Such a yummy palate cleanser!

Next, it was time for the main course: Homemade pappardelle pasta with veal breast in a mushroom demi-glace – absolutely fabulous.

While we digested, Robert told more stories, talked about Restaurant Impossible, and joked around with the crowd. He spoke about his gorgeous wife, Gail, who was also present. He told us some stories about her body slamming him and also joked around with her when he was cleaning up his mess after giving every table their own bottle of wine.

My clearest picture of the night :)

Well besides the one mom took of me and him after he signed my book to my Nana…

Made my night :)

Someone had asked him how many black t-shirts he owned, and he told us that between black and blue, he owns 86 of them! So funny, but so smart – especially if its a shirt he really likes! He definitely looks good in them :)

Lastly, it was time for dessert. It was a trio on plate …

A goat cheese cannoli (how did he know that’s my favorite?! one of the only cheeses I can eat! yay!), a flourless chocolate tart (amazing), and another cakey thing that we couldn’t figure out what it was, but it was SO good! (I really want to try to re-create this – heck, I really want to try to re-create it all!)

This dessert was the perfect ending to a perfect night. So sad that it was over, but Robert Irvine was an AMAZING host.

When I was getting up to leave, Lee – his friend/chef from my favorite show Dinner Impossible (George wasn’t there unfortunately) – asked me if Robert signed my book, I immediately answered “yes!” and started to ask him for his signature but then remembered I didn’t have a pen :( – so sad .. maybe next year I’ll be luckier (and smarter)!

The night couldn’t have been any better. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I was just so happy to get the chance to see one of my cooking idols in person and learn some new things from the menu he put together. Also, it’s always nice to be entertained by people who do great things for others. His show Restaurant Impossible displays his big heart and thoughtfulness while he helps people get out of debt and improve their lives. If you’re ever thinking of attending the Atlantic City Food and Wine festival, definitely attend Robert Irvine’s events – they’re always the best.

On the way home, Nana kept saying how she couldn’t believe that he came up to her and invited her to dinner the following night. I haven’t seen her that excited in so long!

After telling everyone at home about the wonderful night, my head hit the pillow and I was out like a light (12 mile training run in the morning!).

Since this post is getting a bit long, stay tuned for Part 2 to see what this mysterious dinner event Robert got Nana invited to is ;)

~ L

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