Washington May 1, 2015 - Celebrity chef Robert Irvine was named an honorary chief petty officer by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens during a ceremony at the United States Navy Memorial, May 1.
MCPON spoke about the example Irvine has set, and his dedication to the troops demonstrated through his volunteer work and many visits to service members both overseas and stateside.
"I often share with my Chiefs what it means to be a true leader, and I believe it means you are a quiet, humble, servant leader," said Stevens. "By quiet, I mean we let our actions speak for themselves, humble means we think less of ourselves, and think more of others, and to be a servant leader, means it is others we serve, not ourselves."
"And Chef Irvine, it is evident you exemplify all of these qualities... I want you to know that your unbelievable dedication to our service men and women, and our wounded warriors is inspiring and has not gone unnoticed," said Stevens. "It takes a special person with a big heart to commit the personal time and resources that you have committed in a most humble way."
After the pinning ceremony and gift presentation, Chef Irvine thanked Stevens and spoke about what this event meant to him.
"You know I come from the British Royal Navy and after spending ten years there and then coming here, I see what the men and women [of the U.S. military] do every day of their lives and it is humbling," said Irvine. "I'm an American citizen now and I do what I do with the troops because I love them and what they do - for the sacrifices they make every day."
When asked how he felt about being named an Honorary Chief Petty Officer, Irvine was almost at a loss for words.
"This is something very special, and words don't express that," said Irvine. "It's hard to express my feelings right now - ecstatic, humble, and excited to be in one of the best clubs in the world. You can't just buy into this club."
Chef Robert Irvine joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 15, and spent the next ten years cooking his way through Europe, the Far East, the Caribbean and the Americas. Over the past 25 years, Chef Irvine has become a successful chef and been a long-standing supporter of the armed forces. He recently kicked off the United Services Organization's Entertainment Tour of 2015, traveling to Japan where he spent a week visiting, thanking and creating moments for our troops and their families stationed in the Pacific. Additionally, Mr. Irvine has traveled the world with the USO and the Gary Sinise Foundation, visiting with service members and their families while dishing up fine cuisine and providing cooking classes.