Chef Robert Irvine hosts "warrior chef" contest at Malmstrom bas - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Chef Robert Irvine hosts "warrior chef" contest at Malmstrom base

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Celebrity chef Robert Irvine visited Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls Thursday. (MTN News) Celebrity chef Robert Irvine visited Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls Thursday. (MTN News)

GREAT FALLS - Chefs from Malmstrom Air Force Base and its two "sister bases" of Minot AFB in North Dakota and F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming came to Malmstrom Air Force Base this week to see who had the best cooking skills.

But before the the competition kicked off, celebrity chef Robert Irvine was changing things up, throwing a curve ball at the chefs.

Irvine is a well-known chef who has hosted several TV cooking shows and a daytime talk show, and is known for his occasional tough talk in the kitchen.

"They were expecting one plate between four people. I made four people do one plate each. And then I throw in a dessert and I took 15 minutes off them. So that was a lot of stress," Irvine said. 

Irvine wanted to level the playing field for all 12 chefs.

These missile chefs are not use to thinking on the fly; they use set menus while cooking for military personnel at the missile sites in their respective regions.

"They are unsung heroes because they sit behind walls and doors that we can not see. They are taking care of our missileers and police officers that take care of these nuclear sites," Irvine said. 

Irvine helped the young chefs and taught them how to perform different tasks in the kitchen.

They spent an hour going over flavors, textures, and tastes before they had to showcase their cooking skills. 

"It has been one of the toughest things to judge because normally there is a run away winner," noted Irvine.

Irvine, along with  Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly, 3D restaurant owner Mark Grassechi, Senior Airman Kaitlyn Callahan of the 341st Medical Group, had a hard time picking one winner, so Irvine decided there would be an overall winner and a winner from each base.

"And they all came out with flying colors, which shows it is a testament to their training," Irvine said. 

Irvine also saw these chefs in action while they pulled duty at a Missile Alert Facility: "I watched them do their service, then we critique the service and what could be better and what can be moved around to make it more efficient."

Irvine said he hopes to revisit and perhaps implement changes they talked about in the field.

Irvine served in the British Navy and often champions military service and personnel on his website. 

"I believe one of the greatest things I can do with my success is to give back to those in need of a little guidance or to those who make sacrifices for us to enjoy our freedom," he said.

Irvine added, "It is really important that we come here and say you do an awesome job. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The winners of the Warrior Chef Challenge were: Senior Airman Jessica Rugg from the Malmstrom team, Senior Airman Christian Acosta and Senior Airman Secilia Peraza from the F.E. Warren team, and 1st Place and overall winner Airman 1st Class Joya Lindsey from Minot.

This is not Irvine's first visit to Montana. He filmed two episodes of his "Restaurant: Impossible" TV show in the Treasure State several years ago, both at Heather’s Country Kitchen in Plains and the Rising Sun Bistro in Kalispell.

After the competition, Irvine and his team prepared a free meal for Team Malmstrom at the Grizzly Bend club.

Ever wondered where a celebrity chef might choose to dine when visiting the area? Chef Irvine ate dinner at the Beef N Bone restaurant in Ulm the night before the competition.

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