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Celebrity chef shares passion for health and food with Dover Airmen

Chef Robert Irvine (center), demonstrates how to shred iceberg lettuce to Dorm to Gourm students, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine taught Team Dover members how to make Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Tacos. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine (center), demonstrates how to shred iceberg lettuce to Dorm to Gourm students, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine taught Team Dover members how to make Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Tacos. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

From left to right, John Walters, 436th Force Support Squadron fitness program manager; Airman 1st Class Rodney Kerley, 436th Communications Squadron cybersystems operator; chef Robert Irvine and Tech. Sgt. Heath Hackwell, 436th Maintenance Group maintenance qualification training program noncommissioned officer in charge of instructors, flex their biceps, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fitness Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine talked with Airmen during his tour of the facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

From left to right, John Walters, 436th Force Support Squadron fitness program manager; Airman 1st Class Rodney Kerley, 436th Communications Squadron cybersystems operator; chef Robert Irvine and Tech. Sgt. Heath Hackwell, 436th Maintenance Group maintenance qualification training program noncommissioned officer in charge of instructors, flex their biceps, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fitness Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine talked with Airmen during his tour of the facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

John Walters (left), 436th Force Support Squadron fitness program manager, speaks with chef Robert Irvine about the equipment and programs offered at the Fitness Center, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. After a brief tour, Irvine taught Team Dover members about healthy eating and cooking during a Dorm to Gourm session. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

John Walters (left), 436th Force Support Squadron fitness program manager, speaks with chef Robert Irvine about the equipment and programs offered at the Fitness Center, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. After a brief tour, Irvine taught Team Dover members about healthy eating and cooking during a Dorm to Gourm session. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Shane Cash (left), corporate chef for chef Robert Irvine, watches Irvine make a sauce during Dorm to Gourm, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine taught Team Dover members how to make Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Tacos and Rad Na Thai Chicken Salad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Shane Cash (left), corporate chef for chef Robert Irvine, watches Irvine make a sauce during Dorm to Gourm, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine taught Team Dover members how to make Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Tacos and Rad Na Thai Chicken Salad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

A Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Taco made by chef Robert Irvine, sits on a plate during Dorm to Gourm, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The taco consisted of Cuban-style stewed chicken, lime crema fresca, guacamole, queso fresco, shredded iceberg lettuce and breakfast radish on a white corn tortilla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

A Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Taco made by chef Robert Irvine, sits on a plate during Dorm to Gourm, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The taco consisted of Cuban-style stewed chicken, lime crema fresca, guacamole, queso fresco, shredded iceberg lettuce and breakfast radish on a white corn tortilla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine talks with Airmen at the end of Dorm to Gourm, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine gave his views about career and life choices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine talks with Airmen at the end of Dorm to Gourm, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine gave his views about career and life choices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine and his corporate chef, Shane Cash, along with Dorm to Gourm students pose for a photo, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fitness Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine taught Team Dover members how to make Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Tacos and Rad Na Thai Chicken Salad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine and his corporate chef, Shane Cash, along with Dorm to Gourm students pose for a photo, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fitness Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine taught Team Dover members how to make Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Tacos and Rad Na Thai Chicken Salad. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Senior Master Sgt. Kristen Bamberger, 436th Force Support Squadron sustainment services flight superintendent, talks with chef Robert Irvine, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Patterson Dining Facility on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine was briefed on the operation of the facility and its menu selections. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Senior Master Sgt. Kristen Bamberger, 436th Force Support Squadron sustainment services flight superintendent, talks with chef Robert Irvine, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Patterson Dining Facility on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine was briefed on the operation of the facility and its menu selections. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Christin Michaud, Air Force Mortuary Operations Affairs public affairs officer, briefs chef Robert Irvine and his wife, Gail Kim, about the AFMAO memorial wall, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Memorial Wall represents many of the fallen service members and civilians throughout the years of the mortuary’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Christin Michaud, Air Force Mortuary Operations Affairs public affairs officer, briefs chef Robert Irvine and his wife, Gail Kim, about the AFMAO memorial wall, Aug. 27, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Memorial Wall represents many of the fallen service members and civilians throughout the years of the mortuary’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine listens to a briefing from Senior Airman Gerrard Perera, Fisher House manager on duty, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fisher House on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine toured the facility and was briefed on the history of Dover’s Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)
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Chef Robert Irvine listens to a briefing from Senior Airman Gerrard Perera, Fisher House manager on duty, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fisher House on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine toured the facility and was briefed on the history of Dover’s Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine and Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations personnel pose for a photo, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fisher House on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine toured the Fisher House and was briefed on its history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)
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Chef Robert Irvine and Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations personnel pose for a photo, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Fisher House on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Irvine toured the Fisher House and was briefed on its history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chef Robert Irvine grasps a 65-pound bar to test his grip endurance during a tour of the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight, Aug. 27, 2019, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Senior Airman Rachel Zirkle, EOD journeyman; Staff Sgt. Luke Herdade and Tech. Sgt. Carl Dill, both EOD craftsmen, watch Irvine perform the mandatory test for all EOD personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)
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Chef Robert Irvine grasps a 65-pound bar to test his grip endurance during a tour of the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight, Aug. 27, 2019, on Dover Air Force Base, Del. Senior Airman Rachel Zirkle, EOD journeyman; Staff Sgt. Luke Herdade and Tech. Sgt. Carl Dill, both EOD craftsmen, watch Irvine perform the mandatory test for all EOD personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine facilitated a Dorm to Gourm class for 10 Dover Airmen at the Fitness Center, Aug. 27, 2019.

Irvine and Shane Cash, Irvine’s corporate chef, came to the base, cooked and visited with Airmen.

After his arrival and short introductions, Irvine divided up the class into five teams of two, which he and Cash guided through the recipe and prep for Cuban-Style Stewed Chicken Ropa Vieja Street Tacos and Rad Na Thai Chicken Salad.

“It was nice to meet him, work with him and [learn from] what he taught us,” said Airman 1st Class Marlen Solis, 436th Force Support Squadron food services apprentice and first-time Dorm to Gourm participant.

For dessert, the Airmen huddled around Chef Irvine to listen to his personal message.

“If you don’t like your job, change it,” said Irvine. “The skills you acquire while in the military – no matter what your job is – makes you more marketable than anyone in the civilian world. Stick with it. When you retire, you will be at the top of the hiring pool.”

Irvine’s connection to the military started with 12 years as a cook in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy and then three years as a reservist. He spends about 345 days a year on the road, including about 150 days visiting stateside and overseas military personnel and installations. He is actively involved with organizations that help support the men and women of our military and their families.

“I want the men and women who wear the cloth of our nation to know that people care … that we support them, their families and the mission,” said Irvine.

In addition to teaching the students how to slice, dice and cook, the chef also served up facts about the ingredients they used and educated them on making healthier food choices.

Irvine said, “For me, food, nutrition, exercise and readiness is the most important thing we have.”

Irvine also stopped by Patterson Dining Facility, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Fisher House, the Heavy Lifter Kiosk and the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight, encouraging Airmen and instilling pride in their everyday lives.

“He [Irvine] is doing great things with the USO for the military, and it was definitely an enjoyable experience hosting him at our shop,” said Staff Sgt. Johny Hargrove, 436th CES EOD team leader.

Irvine’s Dourm to Gourm visit was made possible when Dawne Nickerson-Banez, 436th Airlift Wing chief of community engagement, seized the opportunity to host Irvine.

“I started Dorm to Gourm for the Airmen over five years ago. Since then, we have had several guest chefs come in and teach Airmen cooking skills, life lessons and share words of wisdom,” said Nickerson-Banez. “For all of those years, it has been my goal to get Chef Irvine here to teach and interact with the Dorm to Gourm students – It finally happened!”

Reaffirming his commitment to those who serve, Irvine dished out a direct means to contact him for all Airmen in attendance.

“He literally gave the Dorm to Gourm students his personal email address so that if they ever needed someone to talk to, share with or just a boost of motivation, they can reach directly out to him,” said Nickerson-Banez.

As Irvine concluded his visit, he marveled, “From a standpoint of every operational duty that goes on here, [Dover AFB] is just amazing.”