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No mission impossible for Irvine

Dubbed the "Indiana Jones" of chefs, Robert Irvine's culinary career has spanned the globe and included preparing meals for royalty, refugees, presidents and Hollywood stars.

by: Sharon Ho | 27 Sep 2007

The 42-year-old from a middle-class family in England started cooking while in the British Royal Navy, and honed his talents as chef to the British Royal Household for 10 years.

In his television show, "Dinner: Impossible," Irvine races against the clock as he cooks in challenging situations such as an ice hotel, on a desert island or in an 18th century kitchen.

In his new book, "Mission: Cook!", which is part cookbook and part memoir, Irvine shares recipes from his travels and his cooking techniques.

Here he speaks about his career and how to overcome a fear of cooking.

Q: How would you describe your cooking style?
A: "I would say it's classical and very innovative. I mix a lot of cuisines together without killing the major ingredients."

Q: Where do you get your ideas from?
A: "Well on the show, it's really what I can buy. I take ingredients and figure them out. I know what flavours and textures do and I know how well they react together. It's just what you do with them. I get a lot of inspiration from fashion and music."

Q: Do you have any tips or advice for people daunted by the idea of cooking?
A: "If you're a home cook and you don't like cooking, create a menu on a Friday, shop for it on Saturday, prep it on a Sunday and finish it on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. You can cook chicken in advance and you can prep the fish and marinade it. There are a lot of things you can do with a little bit of planning to de-stress your life."

Q: What do you consider to be essential cooking tools?
A: "You've always got to have a big pan whether that be a big sautè pan or a 12-inch pan. You need something you can use to cook for a lot of people and also just for one. I carry in my tool kit a mandoline, an immersion blender and a good knife. The food in your pantry should always consist of stone ground mustard or some type of mustard, rice wine vinegar and a good chicken stock. You can create anything from that."

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