Celeb: Celebrity chef Robert Irvine, best known as the order-barking host of the Food Network show “Restaurant Impossible,” who showed his sweeter side on a Tuesday visit to Capitol Hill. He was there for a dessert reception hosted by the Walmart Foundation as it presented a $1 million grant to the nonprofit Hire Heroes USA. “See, I’m not always telling people, ‘the food sucks and you suck,'” he told the crowd.
Cause: Encouraging businesses to hire veterans and helping military members find civilian careers. Irvine might hail from England, but he became a U.S. citizen 10 years ago and has devoted himself to veterans and the military, including extensive tours with the USO.
Scene: The Hart Senate Office Building, where corporate lobbyists (nice suits), military liaison staffers (those buzz cuts), a few senators (dropping by on their way to a White House meeting), and staffers looking for a gratis afternoon snack gathered around sundae stations and trays of cheesecake. Irvine, in chefs’s whites, led a few cooking competitions, one of which involved blindfolded sundae-making with hot-fudge slinging that made the spendy suits a little nervous.
Sound bite: “There are a lot of employers who don’t understand the skills the military has, the leadership skills or even how to interview them,” Irvine told the crowd before picking volunteers for the games. “And now, let’s have a little fun…”