Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Marines Give "Iron Chef" Marching Orders

What can we say? An army fights on its stomach, or the old saying goes something like that. Anyway, this Food Network star is more like an Iron Chef than any out there...

WASHINGTON – When Chef Robert Irvine discovered his "mission" was to feed 850 Marines after they'd completed 30 days of desert warfare training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., his reaction was what one might expect.

"Shock and, gasp, horror," Irvine, host of Food Network's "Dinner Impossible," and a former chief petty officer cook in the British Royal Navy, said.

Part of the shock came from the fact that Irvine, who also spent 10 years cooking for the royal family, didn't really realize where he was or why he was there.

"The reason I don't know is because they don't tell me anything. The premise of this show is so secretive," he said. "I didn't even know what the challenge was until I literally met the master gunnery sergeant and then he actually gave me the mission, which was to cook the warrior dinner for 850 Marines."

Irvine accepted the challenge, which gave him seven hours to prepare a meal for the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, which was preparing to deploy to the Middle East. He was provided a field kitchen with an oven he was told had the power of a jet fighter's engine. He quickly discovered that Marines have a sense of humor.

"Let me tell you this, if any Marine or air service person is flying a jet with that on it, they're not going very far," Irvine said. "It took me 45 minutes to saute an onion!"

The meal he prepared required 104 pounds of onions.
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