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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 12:26 GMT
'Royal' chef axed by US network
Robert Irvine
Robert Irvine says it was "stupid" to invent his royal connections
A British chef who reportedly invented his knighthood, gifts from the Queen and stints in the White House has been dropped by his US TV employers.

Cable channel Food Network says it will not be renewing the contract of TV chef Robert Irvine, from Wiltshire, because of "inaccuracies" in his CV.

Mr Irvine told a Florida newspaper he was "truly sorry" for the errors.

He said he had made up parts of his work history because he had felt under pressure "to keep up with the Joneses."

Scottish castle

Mr Irvine, 42, is host of a popular US cooking show, Dinner: Impossible, where he and his team of chefs work against the clock to produce food in challenging circumstances.

He has also written an autobiography, Mission: Cook, published last year - as well as heading a company that sells his own-brand cookware.

He said there were five levels of knights, and KCVO is the highest level of knight you could be. The Queen handpicks you.
Wendy LaTorre, socialite

According to the St Petersburg Times a Florida socialite, Wendy LaTorre, recalled that when Mr Irvine arrived in Florida, he told her he had a castle in Scotland.

He reportedly also claimed to have cooked for US presidents in the White House, was a friend of Prince Charles and had been knighted by the Queen. He also apparently helped to make the cake for Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding.

English fruitcake

"It was an English fruitcake that weighed over 360 pounds," he told the Toronto Sun. "I worked on these elaborate side panels, which told the history of the royal Windsor and Spencer families - in icing!"

When asked by Ms LaTorre how he would like to be introduced, Mr Irvine said he would like be known as "Sir Robert Irvine, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order."

She told the St Petersburg Times: "He said there were five levels of knights, and KCVO is the highest level of knight you could be. The Queen handpicks you."

"Sir" Robert's impressive CV helped him secure wealthy backers for ambitious plans to open two upmarket restaurants in St Petersburg.

But, following his exposure in the local paper, the restaurants remain vacant and Mr Irvine's contract for a fifth season of his TV show has been cancelled.

Social pressure

Mr Irvine, originally from Salisbury in Wiltshire, admitted to the St Petersburg Times that he had had made up parts of his CV because of social pressure.

He said: "When I first came down there and I met people down there with all this money, it was like trying to keep up with the Joneses. I was sitting in a bar one night and that came out. It was stupid."

His apparent claims that he had cooked for US presidents were shown to be without foundation, as was his boast that he had helped construct the royal wedding cake in 1981.

Robert Irvine
The idea of Dinner: Impossible was to cook in trying circumstances.

Pressed on his actual role on the preparation of the cake he said: "They made the cake at the school where I was." Asked what he did, Mr Irving replied: "Picking fruit and things like that."

Buckingham Palace have no record either of Mr Irvin's knighthood, nor of the Queen's apparently generous gift of a Scottish Castle.

However, some of Mr Irvine embellishments do appear to have some basis in truth. No-one is disputing his time on the royal yacht Britannia after completing his culinary training in the Royal Navy.

'Errors in judgement'

And he has worked at the White House - although in the Navy Mess, rather than as personal chef to the US president.

Mr Irvine released a statement through the Food Network where he admitted he was "wrong" to exaggerate his experiences regarding the royal family.

He added: "I remain committed and enthusiastic about my work with Food Network and other future endeavours. I am truly sorry for the errors in my judgment."

A spokesman for the Food Network said it would continue airing both old shows of Dinner: Impossible and the new season currently in production.

But he added: "We appreciate Robert's remorse about his actions...but for now we will be looking for a replacement host."



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