Transcript for Chef Robert Irvine talks 'Restaurant Impossible'
- Well, he went from being a cook in the British Royal Navy to a celebrity chef superstar. His hit show Restaurant Impossible has now surpassed 300 episodes on the Food Network, helping failing entrepreneurs transform their businesses on the brink of collapse to successful enterprises. Well, after reading his new book, Overcoming Impossible, we pitched a new show to Robert, and he bought it. We have a special sneak peek now straight from our ABC News Washington Bureau, the very first and last episode of Breakroom Impossible.
- I'm at ABC Washington Bureau in your breakroom. And I got to tell you, first impressions? Not very good. This is what I call an episode of Breakroom Impossible.
This coffee smells like it's, like, 16 months old. Oh, yeah, look at this. Look. Look at that how dirty that is! Do I want to look in here or really not? Probably not, but I'm going to. Yep, just like I thought. If this is how you keep your breakroom, I don't want to come to your house. Whose lunch is this?
- I think I forgot it, though, so--
[GAGS] Oh, my god! You think you're going to eat that?
- Disgusting. Ah, don't touch me! Don't touch me! Here, throw it out. Who eats this stuff? So far, you're-- on a scale of 1 to 10, you're about 10. That's bad.
So where's this chili cookoff king guy? A 12-year-old could cook off a chili. That's easy. You look like a Ronald McDonald.
- Well, anyways, it was an honor.
- That-- I wish I could say the same. A chili cookoff king, talking to Robert Irvine, a real chef. Kira's office-- let's have a look in here. Of course, Overcoming Impossible, my new book. How about that. But why is it in the refrigerator? Is it too hot to handle?
- [LAUGHS] Yes. Yes. That new book, Overcoming Impossible, lighting a fire under all of us to be better leaders and team builders through Chef Irvine's success secrets that he has collected over decades of real-life experience. Joining me now, Chef Robert Irvine. Woo! You just have no mercy.
- That was so much fun. But I've never seen so-- so much bad food. How do you-- one of your producers said that they cleared the refrigerator out after 2020.
- [LAUGHS] All right. You know what? Then you can come, and you can give a few tips on how to make easy dishes for all of those that work overnight shift. You remember those days.
- All right.
- Food is simple, but it's got to be kept safe.
- OK. That's a deal. Look, whether it's a restaurant, a business, a news story that I'm trying to break, you put this book together, talking about how to convince all of us to wipe the word impossible just out of our vocabulary, out of our life. How?
- Well, I think first of all, the four successful things of successful business and people, number one is empathetic leadership, know the people you're working with, know about their families. Listen to them. There's no I in team. Number two is lose the egos. Number three is trust. And number four is authenticity.
And I think once you've got all four of those pillars-- and you read the book because it's almost like a blueprint for my failures and my wins. If you read it, you're not going to fall into the same pitfalls I did. And you'll be successful. It's a great book, 220 pages of just so much great information. It's not a book that's going to say, check this, check this, check this, and you're going to be successful. It's a real-life study in how to become successful and what to look for, the landmines and the pitfalls of failure.
- When it comes to our livelihood, is it all about the money?
- Nope. And you have known me long enough. It's about service above self and about giving those that are less fortunate a leg up and a hand, teaching those who are going to really replace you. You know, I traveled the globe 345 days a year, a lot with the military. I do a lot with TAPS, as you well know because we do it together. And it's such an amazing thing to give to other people, again, service above self.
- You do. I mean, if there is one thing that I do know about you-- and we've worked on so many events together, especially for our military vets and families. You are very generous, Robert. You do. You give so much of your time. And you invest in your people. Just talk about the value of empowering those around you when you want to start a business or you want to revitalize your business. Or your business is on the brink of collapse, and you just don't know what to do. The people around you can save you.
- I think, number one, Kira, we're always worried about-- our egos get in the way. And a show last night-- my show last night was all about that, a young man with brain cancer, who was throwing his marriage, his family, and his business away because he was afraid to ask for help. You know, when we're A-type personalities or we think we are, we're afraid to hire or ask-- hire somebody better than us, smarter than us. And we don't do that. And then we fail.
It's OK to ask somebody if you don't know something. My goodness, the amount of failures they've had, and they're all in this book, by the way-- the failures and the wins and what I've learned. And what I've learned is really to trust the people around you. Listen to them carefully. Because if you don't, you will fail.
People on the front line of any business talk to the consumer, talk to the guests. They know what's going on. And we have a lot of businesses, from mom and pop businesses to Fortune 500 companies, that where people sit-in an office and make decisions based on something they don't understand. So it's really about listening to your people and changing and being not afraid to change.
- And I see you doing that here in one of your episodes. And just looking that, you always tell folks, you need to know your "why" as you do your show Restaurant Impossible. Tell us what that means, know your why.
- I think it's understanding why are you doing something. Why are you in that business? And why do you make the decisions? And why is very different for everybody. Why do I choose to serve the military? Because I believe in the men and women that wear the [INAUDIBLE], the Gold Star families, our Medal of Honor recipients who stand behind them and all the DOD workers. I want to make sure that they know that I care.
And it's the same in business. When you own a restaurant, your job-- and somebody's paying their hard-earned money to go to your restaurant-- is to make sure they get the best service, the best food, and the best experience they can ever have. Otherwise why do they come there?
And I think that why is for everything in life. Why do we clean the floors in our house? Why do we make our beds? You know, there's always a question. And it's whether you ask yourself those questions or your staff or your people you work with to get the answers you need to be successful.
You know, you're successful on air because you're a dynamic personality that just tells the truth that comes your way. You do it every day.
It's the same with me. I cook good meals. I keep my house clean. I keep my refrigerators clean, by the way. And I think that's why we do this show is because we're helping so many people that have lost their way and don't know why they do what they do.
- Robert Irvine, thank you so much. Again, the new book Overcoming Impossible, it is out now. And of course, you can catch the latest and newest episode on the Food Network, Restaurant Impossible. Robert, thank you.
ROBERT IRVINE: You're so welcome.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.