Chef Robert Irvine is making a stop at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on Wednesday.
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Food Network’s Robert Irvine brought his live cooking show to the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. We were told to expect the unexpected at this unscripted show that included culinary and physical challenges.
The show was not a biography of Irvine’s life, not a cooking demo and did not show clips from Irvine’s television show, “Restaurant: Impossible.” It did, however, promise to keep you on your toes and possibly bring you on stage. The producers of the show come up with challenges before the show that Irvine is not aware of until he walks on stage, making each show unique.
This show was part of the balanced blend of performances the PAC hosts each quarter.
“Although we offer an eclectic mix of music — classical, rock, bluegrass, jazz, world culture — Cal Poly Arts is much more than concerts,” Cal Poly Arts Director Steve Lerian said. “Our performing arts season is comprised of a myriad of diverse shows and genres: a wide range of dance, theatre and stage shows, speakers and screenings.”
All ages were welcome and encouraged to come out to watch Irvine complete culinary feats.
“The show is geared towards all ages,” Lerian said. “Anyone who has an interest in cooking on any level will enjoy the entertainment and expertise that Robert Irvine provides.”
Q&A with Robert Irvine
Mustang News (MN) : How did you first know that you wanted to cook for a living?
Robert Irvine (RI) : I used to help my mom prepare Sunday roasts as a kid, but my first real interest in cooking came when I took a home economics class. It didn’t hurt that I was the only boy in the class.
MN: What do you love most about cooking?
RI: I’ve always enjoyed preparing food, it’s fun. I enjoy how a good meal can bring people together, whether it’s a family cooking together or a couple of friends catching up over lunch. Food is the common ingredient. Doing the live show gives me an opportunity to interact with fans, but also shows that what we do with cooking can be an appreciated form of arts entertainment that anyone can do.
MN: What has been the proudest moment of your career?
RI: Being able to help people is what inspires me and makes me proud. From helping struggling families on “Restaurant: Impossible” to giving back to our servicemen and woman, being able to give back is what is most rewarding about my career.
MN: How is the show interactive?
RI: This isn’t a sit-back-in-your-seat kind of show. Nearly every aspect is out of my control and in the hands of my show producer and the audience. Everything from what ingredients I have to use to what challenges I will face. And I rarely cook alone on stage. I always have an audience member assist me. Every night it’s a different show and the audience helps me along the way. We have had some shows where as many as 30 people have been on stage throughout the evening, helping me get through this crazy two-hour show.
MN: How would you describe the show in your own words?
RI: No recipes. No script. No holds barred.
MN: How does it compare to “Dinner: Impossible” and “Restaurant: Impossible”?
RI: I deal with very difficult challenges on the TV shows. With “Restaurant: Impossible” I have to deal with very serious situations. These are real people with real problems, and I have to provide them real solutions or they risk losing everything. With the live show, we get to have a little bit of fun on my day off.
MN: Anything else you want to add?
RI: I hope we see lots of students out for the show. I don’t often get to come to a university to do a show, so I am excited for the opportunity. Be there!
If you weren’t able to make the show, there was a free Q&A session for students from 4 to 4:45 p.m. at the PAC Pavilion before the show.
Tickets for Cal Poly staff and faculty were $10. College and K-12 students could have purchased $10 best-available rush tickets at the door on Wednesday night at 6:30 with their ID. Tickets were $30 otherwise.