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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Monarch Dining Brings Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine to Broderick Dining Commons

By Christopher Sevilla

Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine was joined by about 700 students, family members, alumni and faculty/staff on Oct. 21 for a meet and greet and cooking demonstration at the Kate and John R. Broderick Dining Commons that was held as part of Monarch Family Weekend.

The weekend is an opportunity for Old Dominion University parents and family members to join students on campus for a weekend of spirited events and quality time.

To enhance the schedule of weekend activities, Monarch Dining brought celebrity Chef Robert Irvine to campus for the meet-and-greet and cooking demonstration on Saturday. With more than 27 years in the culinary profession, Chef Irvine has cooked his way through Europe, the Far East, the Caribbean and the Americas, in hotels and on the high seas.

Chef Irvine has been featured on multiple Food Network shows including "Restaurant: Impossible" and "Worst Cooks in America." He currently stars on "The Robert Irvine Show" on the CW network.

Chef Irvine engaged with the Family Weekend crowd at Broderick Dining Commons, the University's first stand-alone dining facility, for about an hour. Guests lined the dining room walkways for their opportunity to take individual pictures, receive a personalized autographed photo and converse with Chef Irvine. He asked students about their majors and future goals, offered tips for success and encouraged students to follow their passions.

"Meeting Robert Irvine was definitely the driving force for us coming to campus for family weekend as initially we planned to do off-campus activities. He took genuine interest in learning about each of us during the meet and greet," said attendee Dawn Knill. "His cooking demo went way beyond cooking. Thank you Monarch Dining for enhancing our experience this weekend. Thank you Chef Irvine for all your work and dedication to the nonprofit sector."

Following the Meet and Greet, Chef Irvine prepared two dishes: Chickpea Curry over Brown Rice and Shredded Chicken Lo Mein. He interacted with the crowd by randomly selecting people to join him on stage to participate. While preparing the meal, he reviewed the history and origins of the ingredients and shared cooking techniques.

His cooking demonstration was live-streamed to the two large-screen media walls on both sides of the seating areas so everyone dining in Broderick Dining Commons could see and hear the action. Samples of the prepared items were served at Rice Sticks, an Asian restaurant concept in Broderick Dining Commons that features a full-service Noodle Bar, Hibachi Bar and hot Wok entrées.

Chef Irvine began his culinary career while in the United Kingdom's Royal Navy at the age of 15. With his military background, Irvine strives to help support service members. Chef Irvine founded The Robert Irvine Foundation to honor the men and women of the military and visits bases all over the world. With the heavy military presence in the Hampton Roads area, Chef Irvine was able to personally connect with the military-affiliated guests who came to Broderick Dining Commons during Monarch Family Weekend.

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