Serving up morale with Chef Irvine

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Nordheim
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

To celebrate America’s Independence Day, Tyndall Air Force Base hosted Freedom Fest, a free festival offered to Tyndall community members with music, water sports, a cooking demo, fireworks and free food.

Throughout the day, the 325th Force Support Squadron Airmen, who worked alongside celebrity chef Robert Irvine, and his executive chefs prepped and cooked food behind the scenes for the base event.

“I think the dining facility that I just visited here at Tyndall is my top base right now,” said Irvine. “I’m not saying that just for you, I’m telling you the truth. The food was good. The setting was good. But we need to modernize it just like we’re modernizing the rest of Tyndall.”

Irvine is no stranger to the military. At the age of 15 he began his cooking career by enlisting in the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy where he completed a 10-year tour of duty.

With the mindset and drive of honoring and giving back to the men and women who serve in the military, he founded The Robert Irvine Foundation in 2014. This non-profit foundation offers numerous programs, services, grants and events to military and first responder communities.

“The ultimate goal of this foundation is to help those that need help, whether it be in a mental or physical state,” said Irvine. “But my biggest goal for the last 14 years is to change food and feeding practices in the military across the whole Department of Defense.”

Whether home or abroad, food is needed to fuel the fight. Irvine travels globally to provide members of the military with quality food, guidance and wellness wherever he is able.

“Freedom Fest was a huge success for the [325th Fighter Wing] and the FSS,” said Maj. Jason Christie, 325th FSS commander. “This event was in the works for months and to be able to partner with and see Chef Irvine and the Robert Irvine Foundation help us deliver food and fun to about 1,750 members of Team Tyndall was huge for the community.”

Through events like Freedom Fest, Tyndall is able to boost the morale, welfare, recreation, as well as offer a sense of community and improve the quality of life for our Airmen, civilian counterparts and their families. A diverse crowd of Airmen, civilians, and families enjoying the day and the celebration gave Tyndall the boost they need to deliver more and bigger events stated Christie.

“I want to be surrounded by great people that love this country as much as I do,” said Irvine. “When people say, ‘well you’re English,’ I say no, I’ve been an American citizen for 20 years. I gave up my English citizenship for a reason, I care about every person that puts on the uniform.”