Sheppard Airmen featured on Food Network's "Dinner: Impossible"
By John Ingle, 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 16, 2008
SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Television viewers nationwide will see a renowned chef attempt to feed 1,000 people at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, when the Food Network airs a new episode of "Dinner: Impossible" in the coming weeks.
Chef Robert Irvine and his culinary crew were given 10 hours to feed members of the base and visiting civic leaders Sept. 22 as part of Sheppard's celebration of the Air Force's 60th Anniversary.
"It's the 60th anniversary of the people -- men and women -- Airmen of the United States Air Force," Chef Irvine said in taking on the challenge. "If I can't give them a meal that they will remember for a lifetime, I won't do it."
Viewers can see how he did when the episode airs Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. CST with re-airings Jan. 24 at midnight CST and Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. CST.
During each episode of "Dinner: Impossible," Chef Irvine and his two sous-chefs take on a new culinary challenge and must figure out a way to serve their food in a set period of time, according to the Food Network show synopsis.
"This is a fantastic chance for the United States to see what happens when a world-class chef is tasked to prepare a meal for the Air Force's premier and most diverse training facility," said Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux, 82nd Training Wing commander. "This episode is one that won't disappoint anyone and will highlight what makes Sheppard successful - our Airmen."
Ten Airmen from Sheppard helped slice, dice and stir as Chef Irvine prepared the meal. Countless others worked behind the scenes before the chef and production crew arrived.
The main entrees consisted of salmon, brisket, chicken and sirloin tips.
One of the kitchen helpers, Staff Sgt. Mario Frank of the 360th Training Squadron, compared preparing 1,000 meals to his airlift missions as a C-130 crew chief.
"When we deploy, we have so many tons of cargo and people to move," he said. "If we don't get it done, we fail our mission."
Chef Irvine is no stranger to military dining. The native of England began his culinary training at the age of 15 when he entered the Royal Navy, according to his Food Network biography. He was eventually promoted to service aboard the Royal Yacht, Britannia, where he spent 10 years preparing cuisine for royalty, presidents and high-ranking dignitaries.
For more information about "Dinner: Impossible," visit the show's Web site at www.foodnetwork.com.