TV chef visits Suffolk
Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013
North Suffolk’s River Stone Chophouse had one tough critic in its midst Monday evening, when celebrity chef Robert Irvine and a group from Sysco dropped in for a meal.
“I got a call last week telling us he would be there,” said Ken Dodd, manager of the popular eatery.
The British chef from the Food Network’s “Dinner: Impossible,” “Worst Cooks in America” and “Restaurant: Impossible” dined with wife Gail Kim — a Canadian professional wrestler — and a delegation from Sysco, the foodservice products distributor with a large site near River Stone, Dodd reported.
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“They just all came over for dinner,” Dodd said. “There were about 20 people total. He wasn’t critiquing us.”
Irvine ordered a medium New York strip with sides of mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, following it up with crème brulee for dessert, according to Dodd.
The food was said to have impressed Irvine, who ventured into the kitchen to “give kudos” to those who prepared it.
“We took some pictures with them, and it was a fun little time,” Dodd said. “We didn’t want to intrude and ask for autographs, but he was gracious enough to sign some things.
“It was really low-key. We provide some banquet space upstairs. It was more of an intimate dinner.”
Irvine received no special treatment food-wise, Dodd said: He chose from the same menu items anyone else could order.
“We believe that everybody deserves a good dining experience,” and if the food didn’t “hold up” the restaurant wanted to know about it, Dodd said.
“Lucky for us, he was very complimentary,” he said, adding that the physically imposing Irvine is “not as tall as I expected him to be, but he’s pretty built.”
Service manager Terri Truett said she was a little star struck. “I was a little nervous, as you don’t want anything to go wrong,” she said.
“You want the food to come out perfectly, and you want the service to be seamless. I think we did a good job.”
River Stone has its own beef dry aging room, which Truett and Dodd both mentioned Irvine was interested in seeing.
“We took him downstairs, and a chef went over the process with him,” Truett said. “He told me, ‘That’s very, very cool,’ the way we do it.”
Irvine’s communications consultant Larry Goldman confirmed via email he was in town “doing culinary training with the Navy.” According to Irvine’s Twitter account, he cooked meals aboard the USS Scranton and USS Porter, two Norfolk-ported Navy vessels.