Local celebrity chef Robert Irvine gets cooking with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"

January 11, 2011 

  • Dinner: Possible with Food Network host Robert Irvine starts at 7 p.m. Friday at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. Tickets are $100 a person. A VIP cocktail reception starts at 6 p.m. Tickets for the dinner and cocktail party are $150.

    Details: www.extrememakeoverbeaufortcounty.com

Robert Irvine's Food Network star has been rising.

"Dinner: Impossible," the pressure-packed reality show where he made his name, is in its eighth season. He's recently added two more shows to his hosting duties. "Restaurant: Impossible" challenges Irvine to turn around failing restaurants within two days. "Worst Cooks in America" brings together clueless chef wannabes in the hopes that co-hosts Irvine and Anne Burrell can whip them into shape.

He spends the majority of the year on the road, but when he's not, he's home on Hilton Head Island, tending to his restaurant, Robert Irvine's eat! in The Village at Wexford.

On top of all of this, Irvine now is involved in the upcoming production of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in Beaufort County, where the Dickinson family will have their home renovated while cameras roll.

He's hosting a fundraiser for the production called "Dinner: Possible" on Friday at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. Irvine promises that coming to the five-course meal will be like stepping into one of his shows.

Irvine spent some time last week discussing the fundraiser, his television projects and plans for a new restaurant on Hilton Head.

Question. What's the plan for "Dinner: Possible"?

Answer. It's going to be very unique. Can't let on too much yet. We're going to have guests in from Food Network. It's a five-course meal. The theme is "Knock on the Door." The whole evening will be like being on the set of "Dinner: Impossible." You'll never see anything like this again.

Q. When did you get involved in the fundraiser?

A. Found out a week ago. But that's not a problem. I live here; I have a restaurant here. It's a great thing for the community.

Q. You were also involved in the "Extreme Makeover" kick-off event. So, are you going to pick up a hammer?

A. Anything they want me to do. In "Restaurant: Impossible" we have 48 hours and $10,000 and we renovate a restaurant back from bankruptcy to bring it back to life. Last week I picked up a sledgehammer because someone told me I couldn't take down a wall. I took down the wall. Hit a pipe while I was doing it, but it's OK.

I had a great time at the ("Extreme Makeover") pep rally (Jan. 4). I just had two girls from Make-A-Wish foundation come here. We went to Fresh Market and went around quickly like "Dinner: Impossible." Then we went back to the restaurant and cooked. And then we went to the pep rally.

Q. How's business at the restaurant (eat!)?

A. It's been almost three years of getting established. We've started to get a great local following. Hilton Head and Bluffton are becoming culinary destinations, and we're doing our part to make that happen. There are 250-something restaurants, and they're all different. That's the fun part of being here. It's just getting people behind it and embracing the area.

Q. And you're starting a new place on Hilton Head?

A. Hope to open in mid-February in Park Plaza. Kind of a bistro feel. It'll have good wine, lots of beer on tap, small plate meals, light music. Lunch and dinner. I don't know the name yet.

Q. You're also hosting three Food Network shows. I get the feeling you kind of like the rush of it all.

A. I love it. My show and my life are the same way. I'm on the road 330 days a year. I've made ("Dinner: Possible") a priority. It's amazing to be a part of something like this that will be huge. I've got it all up here in my head -- the whole dinner.

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