Anything’s ‘Impossible’

Lei Chic

There’s nothing better than a three-day weekend.

Except a four-day work week. That ends in a night of thrilling interactive epicurean challenges with a Food Network star.

Oh, yours doesn’t? Allow us to change that…

Presenting Robert Irvine Live, a high-energy theatrical experience featuring Chef Robert Irvine of Food Network fame. Take the crazy challenges of Dinner: Impossible, throw in a stage, add some high-tech video production and mix in a ton of audience participation. Then hand it off to Chef Irvine, who will have absolutely no prior knowledge of the night’s lineup.

Of course, this is gravy for a man who has prepared meals for the British Royal Family, high-ranking dignitaries at the White House and Hollywood celebrities. And since he’s in town, naturally, we picked his brain for some culinary insight. Below, find out Irvine’s favorite tips in the kitchen, his secrets to a great meal and his most successful mission of all.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for food?

Watch any episode of Dinner: Impossible and you can tell me, but probably unloading shipping containers for one episode. In our live show, our crew has me do a lot of crazy things, but I don’t want to spoil that for you. You have to see it in person for yourself!

What should every home chef have in his or her kitchen?

Honestly, it’s a pretty basic arsenal on the tool side. Having a good sharp knife is the best tool in your kitchen. Just like a carpenter needs a good hammer, a chef needs a good knife. For ingredients, fresh herbs and some sort of heat do the trick for me. For searing or pan cooking, I prefer to preserve the natural flavor of great proteins with grapeseed oil. I find these items will make the basis of a great kitchen for any cook.

How do I prepare a great meal?

Keep it simple and have a plan. If you are preparing a multicourse meal, think about the stacking of flavors and textures; you want to build them throughout the meal. Also, the weight of the courses need to progress. Lighter, brighter, more acidic courses at the beginning, progressing to the focal point of the meal, the entrée. Texturally, I prefer different ingredients that create a unique finish on the palate – crunchy, silky, crisp and smooth, all can build an incredible dish with proper cooking and seasoning. Most importantly though, have fun!

Lei Chic

I just found out I have company coming over in 30 minutes. What do I do?

Seafood or pasta (or seafood pasta!) are your best bets. You can cook up a pot of pasta in 10-12 minutes and make a white wine sauce from scratch using good stock, fresh herbs and white wine. Fresh seafood is always a good bet when you are in a hurry, because it cooks fast and is so healthy. You can sauté a good-sized fillet with salt and pepper in grapeseed oil in less than 10 minutes.

What restaurants do you like to eat at when you’re here in Hawaii?

Hawaii has such a great culinary perspective and a fusion of so many cultures, it would be hard to pick a single restaurant. But [show me] any great chef using simple flavors and quality ingredients and I am there.

What’s always in your fridge?

Coffee, fruits, good cheeses, eggs and hot sauce. Sriracha is my go-to premade sauce of choice, but any local or regional pepper that I can use to make a great sauce or purée would be my first choice.

Who cooks in your house?

It’s a team effort. [My wife] Gail is a really good cook, and I love getting my daughters involved. To me, there is nothing more fun than being able to cook at home with family.

What was it like planning your own wedding?

I learned if this cooking thing doesn’t work out, I could start a wedding planning business! Seriously though, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. I set out with a goal to give Gail my interpretation of a fairy-tale wedding. If you have seen the episode Wedding: Impossible, I think you would agree that I succeeded in that mission.

Robert Irvine Live, Friday at 8 p.m., Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall. Tickets cost $35 or $55 and are available at Blaisdell Box Office and Irvine will also be at this weekend’s Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. Click here for more information.