Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine Visits Troops at Fort Eustis

By Hunter Rhoades Center for Initial Military Training Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 23, 2022

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FORT EUSTIS, Va. – Celebrity Chef and television host Robert Irvine visited Fort Eustis February 7-8 to meet with Soldiers and get a better idea of what Fort Eustis does for the Army.

"I think Fort Eustis is the crown jewel of the Army,” said Irvine. “Everything happens here and then it kind of goes out to the rest of the world.”

During his visit, Irvine received an update on the Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness system from the Center for Initial Military Training.

“This is a long time coming to the Army,” state Irvine. “Typically the Army only thinks about fitness in the physical realm. It's about time we begin thinking about our Soldiers holistically.”

The chef also provided a cooking demonstration with culinary specialists from Fort Eustis and Fort Lee while talking about the importance of nutrition.

“If you put canola oil into a car, it's not going to go,” said Irvine. “What we put into our bodies is the same thing; if we feed our bodies nutritious foods, it will do the things we ask of it.”

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He also offered some advice for the culinary specialists.

“Culinary specialists are essential in ensuring that Soldiers can do complete the tasks ahead of them," said Irvine. “Be creative with your food, express yourself.”

One of the units he was able to see during his visit was the Advanced Individual Training Soldiers from the 128th Aviation Brigade who are training to become helicopter mechanics.

“I’ve never understood what it takes to keep one of these amazing Blackhawks in the air,” said Irvine after getting a demonstration of one of the simulators. “What Fortune 500 company would ever let a 19, 20, 21 year old male or female touch money? That’s what TRADOC does. They take young men and women from the street and make them professionals in what they do.”

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Having previously served in the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, Irvine was keen to visit the Army watercraft from the 7th Transportation Brigade stationed at Fort Eustis.

“I had no clue the Army had a quote, unquote Navy. I haven’t had sea legs for a long time so it will be kind of interesting,” said Irvine.

While onboard one of the vessels, he got the opportunity to talk to some of the crew’s culinary specialists, one of whom echoed Chef Irvine’s thoughts on the importance of nutrition.

"Food is fuel; you have to eat right to be able to fuel your body and be as ready as possible," said Culinary Specialist Pfc. Keanthony Bailey.

Overall, Chef Irvine left impressed with the diversity of missions and the impact the Soldiers at Fort Eustis are having on the Army.

“It’s exciting to be given a trade, work with a great team, and do things that are bigger than yourself,” said Irvine.