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Mix food, fun and fitness with chef Irvine

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:55 p.m.
Food Network
Robert Irvine of Food Network's 'Restaurant: Impossible'

Food Network celebrity chef Robert Irvine is coming to Greensburg, but don't expect him to offer his fans a typical cooking demo at the Palace Theatre.

There will be cooking, he says, but there also will be food challenges, high-energy audience interaction and special effects in the stage show featuring the host of “Restaurant Impossible” and author of two cookbooks.

“Think of it as ‘Dinner Impossible' (his former Food Network show) and ‘Restaurant Impossible' meet ‘Survivor,' ” he says of his latest venture touring the United States.

Irvine — a British-born chef who has prepared meals on the Royal Yacht Britannia as part of his service for the Royal Navy and planned the menu for a star-studded after-party at the Academy Awards, among other high-profile culinary assignments — says “Robert Irvine Live” 2012 is his first theatrical tour and it's never the same production in every city.

The stage show was a year in the making and originated near Irvine's home base in Tampa. After successful performances in the Sunshine State, he decided to take the show on the road.

With an unscripted format, the presentation features Irvine's computer-generated host named Chad, who gives him food challenges and rallies audience enthusiasm. Behind the action is Irvine's producer, Joshua Lingenfelter, who keeps the show moving.

“We didn't want people to just sit and stare at a screen for two hours. We wanted them to get up on their feet and have something to cheer about. The computer host gave us a way to do that,” Lingenfelter says. “He can trigger video, songs, dance music, challenges, you name it, and it all feels organic and within the context of the show. Most people wouldn't buy into a person onstage telling Robert what to do, but having Chad makes that possible. “

The producer says the action is unpredictable.

“We've done everything from hang him upside down by his ankles, handcuffed him to audience members, taken away ingredients he is used to, you name it,” he says. “Sometimes, we make up the challenges on the spot while the show is running. That way, Robert has no way of knowing what's coming next.”

When he's not performing menu magic onstage, Irvine enjoys working out daily, even on the road. He's also working on a new book, “Fit Fuel,” that incorporates his healthy-eating plan that includes eating oatmeal and egg whites in the morning, as well as fish, chicken and salads.

“I don't do carbs after noon, and I eat every two hours” and says he feels great, adding that he was recently voted one of the “25 fittest guys in America” by Men's Fitness magazine.

Candy Williams is a contributing writer to Trib Total Media.

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