Food Network star serves up healthy cooking tips at Fort Belvoir


Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston chats with chef Robert Irvine at his healthy cooking demo at the Fort Belvoir USO on July 26, 2022.

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” and a big supporter of veteran causes, visited Fort Belvoir early this week to tour various facilities and meet with Soldiers. One of the highlights of his visit was a healthy cooking demonstration at the USO Warrior and Family Center.

“I’m going to teach you about healthy food in a fun environment that you’ve never seen before,” Irvine told an audience of around 20 service members. As he dove into preparing a luncheon of stuffed chicken breasts with creamed cauliflower and a warm vegetable salad, Irvine peppered the crowd with questions, asked them to smell or sample ingredients, and shared an abundance of cooking tips.

Chef Robert Irvine asks Soldiers to smell ingredients at his healthy cooking demo at Fort Belvoir.

To create great flavor in food, said Irvine, you just need oil, salt, pepper and citrus — but not just any old types. Sea salt, ground peppercorns, grapeseed oil and a lightly microwaved piece of citrus are preferred ingredients since they are healthy and provide great flavor. Citrus also speeds up the body’s metabolism and digestive processes, he added.

Irvine, a fitness buff who once served in the U.K.’s Royal Navy, explained the importance of eating at regular periods for peak performance and including proteins and a small amount of carbs at every meal.

“Feeding the body is more important for what you do, no matter what job you do,” he said.

Chef Irvine cooks a healthy lunch for service members at the Fort Belvoir USO.

As Irvine began plating his culinary creations, he showed Soldiers how to make the food look pretty without overwhelming it.

“Healthy food does not have to be boring,” he said. “I want you to enjoy food but be smart about it … The less you do to food, the better it is.”

Following lunch with Soldiers and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston, Irvine wrapped up his two-day visit to the garrison by meeting with patients and staff at the Intrepid Spirit Center at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

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