Tag Archives: Robert Irvine

Food/Wine And The Grapevine At Mohegan Sun WineFest

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winefest5Oh yes, there was fine food ranging from cilantro Gremolata skirt steak and smoked lamb belly bacon  to fried chicken and lamb bourguignon,  and fine wines from Francis Coppola, J Lohr, Moet and Signorello at the 11th annual Mohegan Sun WineFest .

And there were celebrity chefs who were more like celebrity couples this year, with the well-known cooking personalities showing off their significant others at the three-day food and winefest1wine extravaganza.

Among the well-known peeps to see at Saturday’s sold-out Celebrity Chef Dine Around were Food Network’s Robert Irvine and wife Gail Kim (aka wrestler and fitness model La Felina), pastry chef and Sandra Bullock sis Gisine Bullock-Prado and husband, Ray Prado, and Terrance Brennan and girlfriend, Judy Lipton.

“This is a great event,” said Irvine. “It is one of my favorites and the people at Mohegan make it so easy for us,” said the “Restaurant: Impossible” host who was serving up Hudson Valley duck with preserved confit and py lentils.

Thewinefest2 (2) casino was more than hopping as crowds headed to ballroom and VIP areas for bourbon tastings, grand tastings, the dine around  and elite cru tastings, all providing the chance to break the dreaded winter cabin fever and get out of the frigid cold.

“It certainly is nicer in here,” said celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia, one of the event veterans who not only provided a cooking demonstration but also served up her signature meatballs at the dine around later in the day. “I think I have been part of this for eight or nine years and it’s one of the better ones I do participate in,” said Arpaia, one of several of the celebrity chefs who are veterans of the annual food and dining extravaganza.

Among the many celebrity chefs at the event were Kim Canteenwalla, who had a secret to share, He is planning a restaurant in West Hartford.

“We are still working on it but I have always wanted a place there,” said Cateenwalla, well-winefest3 (2)known for developing food and beverage venues at five-star resorts and co-founder of Blau & Associates.  His wife, Elizabeth Blau, hails from West Hartford, but that was all Cateenwalla wanted to share.

“It will be an American cuisine-themed restaurant but I can’t say anything else yet,” he grinned as he went back to preparing his charred octopus with roasted fingerling potatoes.

A not-so-secret secret making the grapevine was that very outgoing WFSB personality Scot Haney is turning 50 soon and is planning a very public celebration.

Haney is holding a birthday party on March 1 at Glastonbury Hills Country Club where he will turn twinefest12he landmark birthday into a fundraiser for the Chanel 3 kids Camp.

Among the special guests at the event will be WDRC radio personality Brad Davis who coincidentally, is also celebrating a landmark birthday around the same time. Davis will be in Florida celebrating his 80th birthday but plans to fly back for an overnighter to help Haney raise money for the good cause.

And speaking of radio personalities,  WTIC 96.5 FM radio personality Gary Craig was doing a bit of glowing at the dine around and it had nothing to do with the hundreds of wines being served.

It was apparently because he made the “pool.”

See Craig, who seriously dabbles in art and acting when not on the air, appears in the blockbuster “American Hustle” with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.

And while his spoken lines are on the editing room floor, his appearance as a mobster in a bar scene is intact and he found out he is eligible for residuals when the Oscar-nominated film goes DVD.

“Make sure you watch the bar scene when you see the movie,” he advised. “You can’t miss me.”



‘Restaurant Impossible’ Features CT Eatery Wednesday, A’Vert Opens Tuesday

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irvine (2)Remember the Windsor 75 Diner/ Restaurant and its star -studded makeover a few months ago courtesy of celebrity chef and Food Network’s ‘Restaurant Impossible’ host Robert Irvine?

Well, the restaurant is up and running with a new look and a new menu and on Nov. 6 there will be a bit of a party there at 10 p.m.

Owners George and Therese Calos are inviting fans to stop by, order up something to eat and watch the episode of the show together at their place at 35 Poquonock Ave.

Andavert speaking of food, West Hartford restaurateur, Treva owner/executive chef Dorjan Puka, has opened his new restaurant, A’Vert Brasserie, at 35 LaSalle Street. 

“We are just doing it quietly for now,” said the slightly harried Puka as he put the final touches on the authentic French brasserie Monday, just hours before the doors opened for its “soft” opening. “But after a few nights we will be ready.”

The space was formerly occupied by Thirty5 Bar & Grille, which closed seven months ago. 



Irvine Comes To Hartford to Talk Technology

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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?”


Irvine and ‘Restaurant Impossible’ Do Magic Makeover in Windsor

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Mary Ellen Fillo/Hartford Courant

It was big doings in downtown Windsor Thursday as celebrity chef Robert Irvine and his Food Network reality show “Restaurant Impossible” unveiled the two-day makeover of ailing Windsor 75 Diner/Restaurant.
“Apples, all I want are apples in those bowls,” barked out Irvine as show staff, restaurant employees and volunteers rushed to finish the makeover before the 7 p.m. opening and taping of the new and improved downtown eatery. 

“Color coordination, that’s what we want,” he said as he dumped the bowls full of oranges, lemons, limes and apples and redid them as part of the staging in the counter area of the family-owned restaurant.
It was a whirlwind week for restaurant owners George and Therese Calos who have been struggling with the business located in an old home that was once a funeral parlor and then a florist. The two handed the place over to Irvine and company on Tuesday and within two days, and $10,000 later, the facelift included a new look, a major clean-up and a new menu that inclurestaurantimp2des “The Windsor Burger.”
“I am just so happy for them,” said Kristin Hoffman, who with husband Bob Hoffman, were among the hundreds who scored precious dinner reservations and the potential to be part of the reveal for the show. “George and Therese do so much for the community,” she Hoffman. “Many of the community organizations hold their luncheon meetings here. They are so deserving.”

Irvine however, was less gentle.

“This was a tough one,” he said as he had crews scurrying around to finish last minute painting, wiping up wood floors, staging spanking new counters and shelves and getting food prep work ready for an anxious crowd that began lining up well before the 7 p.m. opening time.

Among those helping out was Irvine’s wife, pro wrestler Gail Kim.The two recently celebrated their first anniversary.
“I think it ended up just being another day,” laughed Kim as she helped with the last minute cleaning. “I don’t even think we exchanged gifts.”
While diners oohed and ahhed over the new look and the new menu at the place, the owners were sworn to secrecy and can’t talk about anything, lest they spoil the show.
But Irvine had a little bit more to say.

“Let’s put it this way,” said Irvine. “You have an old building and that in itself is a challenge. Put that in the mixing bowl along with a family that has to change when it comes to the way they run this business,” he said, turning more optimistic. “Add me and you can make restaurant impossible, possible, and that’s what we did.”

Air date for the show has not yet been set, according to producers.

Skip a Meal Today Hartford , It’s A Food-Filled Weekend Of Fun!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Food (and hopefully some sun, eventually) take center stage this summer weekend.

It begins Thursday when Food Network’s celebrity chef Robert Irvine shows off his best business side in Windsor at one of his “Restaurant Impossible” makeovers.

The big reality show unveil at Windsor 75 is taped Thursday evening. It includes a restaurant full of fans lucky enough to nab a reservation for the big night that will feature the done-over restaurant’s new look, new menu and new attitude.


Courtesy of Food Network

For those who are not familiar, Irvine’s show involves choosing a restaurant in need and with $10,000 and lot of staff and volunteers, does a makeover aimed at putting the place back on the right business track. No date yet on when the episode will air.

On Friday, Gifts of Love will hold its annual “Ready, Set, Cook” fundraiser featuring celebrity chefs who take mystery ingredients and do their best to turn them into contest-winning entrees.

Celebrity chefs include Matt Cormier from The Meat House in Avon, Michael Lee from Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford, Jordan Stein from the Pond House and Luis Vasquez from Cugino’s of Farmington.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

The event will be held at the Community Farm of Simsbury.

Information: giftsoflovect.org

There will also be some good food and some really good jazz at the Goshen Fairgrounds beginning Friday as part of the annual Litchfield Jazz Festival. The event opens with a reception and gala on Friday night, followed by the first night of performances including headliner, two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole. Tickets for the festival start at $30 .


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

Information: litchfieldjazzfest.com

On Saturday, it’s parade time in downtown Hartford beginning at 11 a.m. as the city celebrates West Indian Independence Day. Following the parade, head to Bushnell Park for live entertainment and West Indian food.

It’s summer so let’s extend the weekend out a bit. and for a good reason.

Remember the movie “Memphis Belle?” Well, that famed restored WWII B-17 “flying fortress” bomber will take to the skies over Hartford on Aug. 12.

The visit, sponsored by The Liberty Foundation as part of its 2013 “Salute to Veterans” tour, will be over Brainard Airport Monday but the public can get an up close and personal ground tour of the aircraft or take a flight on Aug. 17 and Aug. 18.


Courtesy of The Liberty Foundation

The public exhibit will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Memphis Belle’s historic last mission and its first visit to Hartford.

Information: libertyfoundation.org



Irvine and ‘Restaurant Impossible’ Coming Back To CT

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irvineGet ready Windsor. Celebrity chef and tv personality Robert Irvine is coming back to Connecticut to fix up an ailing restaurant in your area for an episode of his “Restaurant Impossible.”

The lucky place? The Windsor 75 Diner and Restaurant.

And the show is looking for diners who will be willing to be part of the restaurant’s grand reveal on Aug. 8.

In case you never saw the show, Irvine and a crew go around the country doing mega make-overs of restaurants in need, addressing everything from menu to decor with a $10,000 budget. Other Connecticut restaurants that have been featured on Irvine’s show on The Food Network include Pastori’s in Ellington.

Preparation for the makeover begins Aug. 6.

“Theirvine (2) Windsor 75 Diner and Restaurant offers Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with a variety of special items such as Eggs Benedict, Belgium Waffles, Yogurt & Fresh Fruit Parfait, Burgers, Veggie Burgers, Gyros, Reubens and Craisin Walnut Salad,” its website notes. “Besides our Daily Specials, we serve house made lasagna, seafood, pork chops and steaks. Enjoy a glass of beer, wine or martini with your meal. Tiramisu, chocolate cake, and carrot cake are among our specialty desserts to top off your dinner.”

Am guessing that will be changing once Irvine is done!

The restaurant is located at 35 Poquonock Ave.

Those Interested in reservations for the grand reopening should call 860-925-6256 by Monday.


It’s Mohegan Sun WineFest Time! Let The Eating/Drinking Begin!!

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rirvineThe chefs for Mohegan Sun WineFest are arriving!

Just finished interview with “Restaurant: Impossible”  and “Dinner:Impossible” star Robert Irvine, one very happy newlywed with a book and a protein bar coming soon!

The very cut Food Network reality show star, who recently wed pro wrestler Gail Kim, says the two are workout partners as well as partners in every other way, business and otherwise.

His new book, out later this year,  is a combination of his at-home fitness program and recipes all aimed at healthy but tasty meals.

And the snack bar? Robert Irvine’s Fit Crunch, a layered high protein bar with 15 or 30 grams of protein and intended for children and adults.

“It is so good,” he enthused. “You will be so surprised.”

Irvine is not only one of the featured chefs on the main stage at Saturday’s Grand Tasting, but will also be whipping up lamb ragout at the Celebrity Chef Dine Around Saturday evening.

For more pictures go here.