MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant
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?”
According to reports from audience members, comedian Dave Chappelle apparently thought he was somewhere else other than the stage doing a show at the Comcast Center in Hartford Thursday,
Chappelle, in Hartford headlining the ”Funny or Die Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Tour,” stopped performing and began smoking and reading from a book after being heckled by a noisy crowd, according to several audience members who reached out to Java about the debacle.
“The crowd was a little unruly but I think if he had just started the show it would have been alright,” one fan wrote to Java. “Instead he just sat up there and smoked and read for 25 minutes to fill his required time and that made the audience even louder. Not fair to the people who paid for tickets.”
And that of course has promoted a new controversy, will there be ticket refunds for the ”show?”
See the video here.
Lots of entertainers come to Connecticut for performances but not too many also take some time to do something that benefits the community in other ways.
Singer/songwriter Jason Mraz will be doing just that.
Mraz wants to leave a positive mark on the places he’s been to on his latest tour, and that includes Connecticut. So along with 96.5 TIC, Knox Parks and Billings Forge Community Works, Mraz will be planting a tree at every local school in Hartford before his concert at the Comcast Theater on Aug. 25.
“We hope that by planting these trees and cleaning up the landscaping at the schools’ entrances, it would send a message of positive change and opportunity to kids on their first day of school,” the release announcing Mraz’s planting plans states.
Mraz, who owns an avocado farm and lives a health-conscious lifestyle, will do the plantings with TIC listeners chosen to help. Go to http://bit.ly/NIPpm9 for information.