Chip Miller, executive chef at Hartford’s Society Room was under a little pressure Monday night. He and his staff were not only cooking for members of the CT Restaurant Association but also a special and discriminating guest as well, celebrity chef Robert Irvine.
Star of the Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible,” Irvine was in town for the “Robert Irvine Culinary Event” presented by Comcast Business and the association. Irvine was just in the area a few weeks ago when he did a tv makeover of The Windsor 75 Diner and Restaurant but was more than happy to come back to Connecticut, and this time, its capital city.
“Very nice, this is a beautiful place,” he said as general manager Sean Zier gave him a quick tour of the former bank-turned-banquet facility. “I know they put millions of dollars into this and it shows,” said Irvine. “I don’t see a restaurant makeover necessary here.”
But what a restaurant needs in this day and age was part of the reason Irvine was in town. Besides his cookbook “Impossible to Easy: 111 Delicious Recipes to Recipes to Help You Put Great Meals On The Table Every Day,” Irvine was talking technology, specifically social media, a mandate not an option any more for even the most reluctant restaurateurs.
“If you don’t get into using the social media to promote your business you will be out of business,” he emphasized. “That’s the way business is being done today. Social media is huge.”
Interestingly, while really good smells were coming from the kitchen, Irving was emanating his own.
“I call it “Black and Blue,” it’s my own blend,” said Irvine explaining the couldn’t-be-ignored men’s cologne he was sporting as he patiently posed for picture after picture with fans during the cocktail hour. ‘Smells good, doesn’t it?”