Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chef Robert Irvine Cooking Demo At Florida International University

Chef Robert Irvine visited Florida International University (FIU) to celebrate the first annual Florida grown school lunch week. He is a British chef best known for his Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible TV shows. He has a refreshing and engaging comedic quality about him.

To warmed up the audience Irvine instructed the audience, "everyone stand-up, put down your cameras, and put your arms over your head and do this," he said waving his arms back-and-forth over his head. He walked the isles of the auditorium to make sure everyone participated.

He chose a volunteer cheerleader from Brooklyn to lead the audience in a screaming exercise. When everyone had screamed themselves horse, the warm-up ended.

Other audience members became cooking volunteers. Irvine hummed while people cooked, gave mini-lessons on how to cook, and took over when they struggled to cook. He educated with humor throughout.

Pictured below is Irvine giving the students a lesson on how not to cut off your fingers while chopping fruit: Tuck your five fingers under, and rest the knife against your knuckles.

Irvine asked who thought they were fit. Three men and three ladies came to the stage. The men had to prove they were fit by doing as many push-ups as they could. They did 32 reps. Irvine said, "let me tell you. You did more than anyone has ever done. Most just get to 15."

Irvine asked all of the volunteers what they had for breakfast. He was not surprised that some of the girls had nothing. Irvine suggested the best times to eat: first meal--20 min after waking, and last meal--30 min before bed.

Irvine wanted to know how many Italians were in the room. Of those who answered, he asked, what was the best oil to use for cooking and the reasons why. Two got the answered right with olive oil. They became oil tasting volunteers.

They were puzzled by the flavor; it did not taste like olives, they said. It was grape seed oil. Irvine said it was the best oil to cook with because it could be heated to 425 degrees without smoking, unlike olive oil. Then he added, "and no I'm not paid by a grape seed oil company or an olive oil company, but it is the one I use." Later, he added grape seed oil could be reused several times by cooling and straining it.

Irvine finished with a more interactive Q and A session. A woman commented on the overuse of salt in cooking and asked if there was an alternative. He suggested the she try different types of salt, like Himalayan. He said, "when the first miners went down into the ground they found salt. Who would have thought 400 years on we'd be eating rocks." He added, she could replace the salt with an acid or a spice or a fresh herb.

Irvine bewitched the audience with his humor, humility, and infectious personality. The last suggestion he gave to the audience was, "if you are in a check-out line, or somewhere else. And you notice someone struggling to find change, help them out."

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