Fans of chef Robert Irvine of Food Network fame will want to put the Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival on their calendars. On April 16, he will do a live cooking demonstration and book signing during the Grand Tasting. The following evening, April 17, he’s also doing a live show at The Grand 1894 Opera House.
Hotel Galvez & Spa has partnered with the producers of the Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival and The Grand 1894 Opera House for an inclusive weekend package that sounds like a whole lot of fun. The package deal includes two nights at the Hotel Galvez (including the hotel’s valet and parking), two tickets to Saturday's Grand Tasting at the Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival, Sunday brunch for two at the Hotel Galvez, two tickets to see Robert Irvine LIVE! at The Grand 1894 Opera House on Sunday and breakfast for two on Monday at Hotel Galvez.
The Grand Tasting will feature more than 100 samples of food and wine, and ends with Irvine’s demonstration and book signing. Sunday brunch on the following morning features a menu from Houston’s own Lance Fegen of Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar. Irvine’s show happens that afternoon. Following his show, he’ll mingle with attendees during a reception in Edna’s Room at The Grand.
The chef has bounced back remarkably after a 2006 exposé by the St. Petersberg Times (now named Tampa Bay Times) alleged, among other things, that Irvine had falsified his résumé. Food Network let the chef go, removed his bio from its web site, replaced him on the show Dinner: Impossible with Michael Symon and didn't work with Irvine again for two years.
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In July 2008, Irvine started a blog and addressed the controversy, including clarifying his original claim of working at the White House with some third-party documentation. He was not a "White House chef" as he had often been represented. Specifically, he trained chefs at Naval Mess at the White House under the Guest Chef program, and wrote that he had indeed served his food to U.S. Presidents.
Four months later, Food Network re-hired Irvine and he's been there in some capacity or other ever since. Irvine's current show, Restaurant: Impossible, started in 2011 and the restaurant makeovers and filming for its fifth year are already under way.
Speaking of makeovers, Houston restaurant Gratifi got the Restaurant: Impossible treatment in January 2014. The episode aired in April 2014. (It earned a middling review from Houston Press freelance restaurant critic Nick Hall in October 2014. Unfortunately, the restaurant seems to be floundering again if its most recent Yelp consumer reviews are accurate. )
Details and links to buy Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival event tickets separately or as the package deal (which starts at $389 a night) can be found on the Hotel Galvez & Spa web site.