"You never know who is going to walk in........"
It was just Jesse and I working and business had already started to pick up. Three gentlemen came up the stairs from the street. I looked over and thought, “That guy sure looks like somebody I know.” The men came up to the restaurant front, signed in, took their temperature checks, and we got them seated. They were nice and kind, wore their masks, and Jesse then greeted them and took their order while I worked on a few other things. I delivered their food to the table and they asked for a side of blue cheese. It then dawned on me - wait a minute, I think I know him, wait a minute, oh yeah, he might be…”
I thought, oh well, I’ll drop off the blue cheese and let them enjoy their meal. And then as I was pre-bussing the table, he said those volcano wings are really good, “please put another order in” that sound like something someone in our industry would say...
I asked the guest that I thought I recognized, “Are you ever mistaken for somebody famous?” The two other gentlemen at the table then chuckled. He answers and says, “All the time.” And one of the other guests says, “Yep, that's him.” And all three of them and myself had a good laugh, because our guest was indeed, Chef Robert Irwin from the popular show, Restaurant Impossible.
I said, “You know I didn't want to bother you, but I wasn't sure if it was you because in my interactions with you, you’ve been so calm, quiet and polite, and in the show you’re a little bit more animated and louder when you want something.” He and the other guest started laughing as well, and he said, “Yeah, well I'm not here to fix anything in your restaurant.” We all laughed.
After refreshing the table, I brought back a big, organic Kaneohe lemon for him. I handed it to him and said it was for him to enjoy when he was ready for it, either to put in a drink or squeeze on some food. It was great to see his joy and excitement for something so simple. He smelled it, squeezed it in his hands and then passed it around the table for the other gentleman to appreciate. And he said, “This thing smells great, I can't wait to try it.” I let Jesse wrap up the table and moved on to deliver more food. On his way out he hunted me down and thanked me for the experience that he had and said “we will definitely be back.”
I asked if it would be appropriate and if he had time to get a picture. He said, “I was hoping you'd ask.” So we took a picture out in front of the Tikis and at first it was gonna be with the masks on and then he suggested that we just stand 6 feet apart and take the masks off so I could get a good picture. One of the guys took the picture. So that's my fun, memorable Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible story - a nice, genuine guy and it made my week.
Restaurant: Impossible is an American reality television series, featuring chef and restaurateur Robert Irvine, that originally aired on Food Network from 2011 to 2016. After a three-year hiatus, the show returned on April 20, 2019. The premise of the series is that within two days and on a budget of $10,000, Irvine renovates a failing American restaurant with the goal of helping to restore it to profitability and prominence. Irvine is assisted by an HGTV designer (usually Taniya Nayak, Cheryl Torrenueva, or Lynn Kegan, but sometimes Vanessa De Leon, Krista Watterworth, Yvette Irene, or Nicole Faccuito), along with general contractor Tom Bury, who sometimes does double duty as both general contractor and designer. After assessing the problems with the restaurant, Irvine typically creates a plan for the new decor, oversees the refurbishment of the restaurant, reduces the size of the menu and improves the quality of the entrees, develops a promotional activity, educates or resolves conflicts for the restaurant's owners, or trains the staff, as needed for each restaurant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restaurant:_Impossible