Continued from Part 2…
Now, you're also a very big supporter of the Troops.
That's my number one.
And how do you think serving in the Royal Navy prepared you for life in the kitchen?
What's interesting, is I get asked that all the time. And I would say, first of all, the camaraderie and the leadership that I was taught in the navy was tantamount for me. If you look at Escoffier in the kitchen system, it's just like the military. There's a general, and then there's a lot of people that meet them and spread that. Well, the kitchen is exactly the same way.
The military told me everything I know today; and that's why I support it, 345 days a year. We've just come back off a big world-tour with the vice-chairman last week – a nine-day world-tour, on a C-17*, with some great folks, including an MMA fighter, and singer Craig Morgan and-- it's just, that's what we do. So the military is a huge influence. I could go on for days about the military: It's just something that I'm very passionate about – as are those families that we serve, who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our way of living... It's a very big deal.
And in fact, our first meal, our very first meal, we had Woody Williams**, the 95-year-old, WWII Medal of Honor recipient (the last one alive by the way). We landed our helicopter there, and our first meal in that restaurant, was all military.
Regarding Las Vegas buffets (because I know you have some experience doing very high-end celebrity buffets quickly) what do you think is the most overlooked item or station in Las Vegas buffets?
You'd laugh, because it's not even the food.
Okay, what is it?
It's the service. I think there are some amazing buffets in Vegas; and you know that as well as I do. I did a show called Restaurant Express, and we worked through the M Resort, a couple of years ago, and I found that to be the best buffet in Vegas. And they all have this similar thing. Great food, but—
You have to get it yourself.
Right! The service is lacking. Are we taking care of clearing the tables? Are we taking care of being nice to our guests? When we say “buffet,” it's like some self-service all-you-can-eat whatever; but there's still gotta be some service attached to that. Unfortunately, some of the buffets do not have service that lives-up to the food.
When it comes to entertaining at home, what is your go-to dessert?
I'm a cheesecake fanatic. I love cheesecake. I love making cheesecake.
Well, you're a talking to a Jewish guy who was raised in New York, so there is no shame in my cheesecake game.
Alright! So, we make cheesecake for the military, funnily enough, and then we mail; but it's less fat, it's 50% less fat, and it is amazing! And that wasn't a plug from me, I'm just a cheesecake freak! I love it wherever it is, as long as it's good. And I always ask the server, "Is it good cheesecake? Because if it's not, please don't sell it to me.”
If you were in prison, what would you request as your last meal?
Roasted chicken and mashed potatoes.
Conversely, if you were asked to prepare a meal, money no object, for some hifalutin’ federal prisonor, or whatever, what would you make?
That's a tough one, because I'd have to find out that the heritage of that person: How they grew up, and what they grew up eating; and make a menu based on that. Because everybody can say, "Oh, let's do steak and lobster." But, in actual fact, if you know history, lobster used to be poor man's food and it used to be three lobsters per man per day in prison. So, a prisoner would not probably find lobster a good last meal.
It might be a great burger, or it might be a great pizza; but it all depends on the person.
I know you don't want to delve into the new menu items, per se, that we'll be seeing at Public House, but is there any sort of vibe that we can look forward to or generalities as far as changes that are coming?
There's no generalities, but I will tell you we are putting in a few special items, like maybe three or four-- well, actually, more than that, four or five special items that have been requested by guests. And they're not English. That's cryptic, I know, but…
Okay. And finally, what is your-- oh, you already said, sorry. Fish and chips is your go-to, on your Public House menu.
And liver (which is not an American thing). People don't like liver, but I love it. We do that liver—
I was wondering about its inclusion on the menu. It's just not something you see, often.
I wish you would have tried the liver, because you would have went nuts for it.
Well, we tried all sorts of things, we tried the mussels and the fondue. We had desserts, we had starters, we had prosciutto and fig pizza, we had—
How about that pizza?
Oh yeah... And your Fork and Knife Burger was very aptly named, because I made a big ole mess, all over myself. And yeah, everything was just delicious. I almost lapsed into a diabetic coma, but it was—
There's nothing wrong with that, I can help you with that, don't worry. But the funny thing is the oven. The pizza oven in there? Its big-brother is in The Pentagon itself, in the Pentagon restaurant. And the interesting story behind that is because the pizza oven in the Pentagon is 5,800 pounds and the Pentagon floor is only weighted for 3,000 pounds. So, we had to strengthen the Pentagon floor to put that pizza oven into there.
That is fantastic!
Yeah. It’s pretty cool.
Well, Chef… That's everything I’ve got. I look forward to meeting you at the cookout.
And I look forward to having a tequila and beer with you, Michael.
Summer Cookout featuring Robert Irvine – a benefit for Three Square Food Bank
Robert Irvine’s Public House | Tropicana Las Vegas
Thursday, June 14th | 7-10pm
Click HERE for info and tickets
Get into it!
[Editor’s Notes: *The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large transport aircraft, originally developed for the USAF in the 1980s, that was produced until 2015 / **Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams is a retired USMC Warrant Officer (and later, a Veterans Service representative of the US Department of Veterans Affairs), who was awarded the Medal of Honor – for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, during the Battle of Iwo Jima, in World War II. Williams is the only surviving Marine to receive the MOH for service in WWII (along with three who served in the Army), and the only surviving MOH-recipient who served in the war’s Pacific theater.]