Chef Robert Irvine Meets Up With Fans in Disney World!

Star of Food Network’s Dinner:Impossible and owner of Eat! Restaurant in Hilton Head, Chef Robert Irvine agreed to meet with a few of his fans in a low-key gathering at the Crew’s Cup Lounge at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort Friday night. Chef is in town for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and the gathering was organized by a few of his facebook fan page fans! Our fearless columnist, Chef BigFatPanda, had a front-row seat for the shenanigans of the evening. Take it away, Chef!

Chef BigFatPanda and Chef Irvine

The Anticipation Part
A few Food Network fans on Facebook heard that Chef Robert Irvine was going to be in Walt Disney World this weekend. They thought it would be great to have an informal intimate gathering of less than 20 people to just sit down and enjoy a drink with the Chef — but this sounded impossible. Surely, Chef Irvine would be very busy and not really have time to casually meet up with a few select fans.

Au contraire!

I met up with a few friends at the Crew’s Cup Lounge for the scheduled 6 o’clock meeting (I was surprised word had not leaked out on Facebook resulting in hundreds showing up). We were asked not to turn it into a media event with never-ending picture flashes and interview questions.

The Scary Part
As we continued to wait for the Chef to arrive, one of the organizers was in touch with Randall, the Chef’s assistant, by phone. It seemed as though Chef Irvine would be unable to attend because some previous filming had gone into overtime.

We were saddened, but understood that our rendezvous was not exactly a Food Network/Disney priority. We were still having some fun amongst ourselves as we contemplated calling it a night and going home.

The Exciting Part
That’s when the phone call came in that the Chef was on his way! Despite prior warnings to keep it low key, there was quite a buzz when Chef Irvine finally did arrive, apologizing profusely for being late as though it were his fault. This apologizing, which was really not needed, immediately gave me a positive first impression.

We all thanked him and took turns posing for pictures. Some of the women begged Chef Irvine to “show his guns,” which he was more than happy to do. Disney staff stood sentinel, waiting on Chef Irvine for anything he might need, prepared to intervene if needed.

Chef Irvine Showing His Guns

Soon the Chef ordered us all a round of Tequila shots (wow, that was strong Tequila; it tasted like the good stuff!), and when I was able to get a word in edgewise, I informed the Chef that our very own AJ from the Disney Food Blog said “Hello,” as she has met Chef Irvine previously. After my short description, he remembered AJ and gave his good wishes back! (Editor’s Note: Wow!! Thanks Chef BigFatPanda!)

Wrapping Up…
This evening was definitely instrumental in shaping my opinion of Chef Irvine. Sometimes, you just don’t know how a celebrity will be in real life. I am happy to report that he was the genuine article. He was funny, engaging and appeared to truly care about his fans.


Thanks to Chef BigFatPanda for taking the time to head to the meet-up, and thanks to the Facebook fans (shout-out to Marc!) who organized it. What an incredible opportunity! Props to Chef Irvine for being so generous with what I’m sure is very limited free time.


  1. says

    Dana — I think it really says a lot about him that he’d take time out of a busy week to meet up with fans (especially when it could have gotten out of hand if too many folks had shown up!).

  2. Denise says

    It was mentioned numerous times on Twitter, but it would have never occurred to me to go over (or that hundreds would do so). Glad you had a good time.

  3. Vance says

    I saw Chef Irvine last year during F&W while walking world showcase…I was coming in from International Gateway and as I entered the UK he was going the opposite direction…I saw him and was like “That’s Robert Irvine”…he was surrounded by Disney people, but I still manged to say “Hi Chef” as we passed each other and he waved and smiled back

  4. Alan says

    It’s funny. Chef Irvine just wanted a small intimate group to meet and then he will go out and cook for 1,000 people using just a sterno stove. I think his show is the most fun on the Food Network.

  5. Dana (aka DragynAlly) says

    @AJ: So True! I love people who take time out for their fans and who are truly down to earth. He so didn’t have to do that.

    @Chef BigFatPanda: You’re hot too! ;-)

  6. says

    Hi there. First time to your blog though I follow your tweets.
    We are big Disney fans too.

    Sounds like you all had a great night!

  7. says

    Hey Mikki! Thanks for stopping by! Amazing that a celebrity like that could pull off such a small, intimate get-together, eh? Very cool.

  8. Jamie says

    My wife and I were at Epcot yesterday (10/24/10) and watched Chef Irvine in action at his culinary demo. He’s a cool cat! Looking forward to the next season of Dinner:Impossible!

  9. says

    Wow, nice job getting a shot with Chef Irvine!

    I still have yet to watch his show though.

    Still looks like a mighty nice guy.

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