The Wedding Planner: Robert Irvine Says “I Do”

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Magazine, August 16th, 2012

Robert Irvine, Bride, and Guy Fieri

It’s a sunny Thursday in May at the Charles Krug winery in St. Helena, Calif., and Guy Fieri is giving Robert Irvine a shoulder massage.

In a few minutes, Robert will be marrying his girlfriend of three years, professional wrestler Gail Kim, and Guy, one of Robert’s best men, is giving the usually unshakable Restaurant: Impossible host a rubdown to calm his nerves. Just a half hour earlier, Robert was singing a different tune: “I feel the calmest I’ve ever been. I haven’t screamed, not once,” he said as he looked over the grounds where the cocktail hour and reception would take place. This whole wedding is his brainchild — conceived, planned and executed with the same military efficiency Robert brings to the massive two-day restaurant overhauls on his show. But today it won’t be a restaurateur who is dazzled by his work; it will be Gail. Robert has kept her in the dark about the details of the party, including the main event: the food.

“No one goes in there until I say it’s OK!” Robert barks, pointing to the venue. (So much for not screaming.) Satisfied with how everything looks, he throws back a beer in five gulps and keeps moving; the ceremony is about to start.

With Guy at his side, Robert beams as his daughters, Annalise, 15, and Talia, 11, read poems to the crowd, then he lets out an audible sigh of relief when Guy produces the ring and he exchanges vows with Gail.

Finally, as the sun starts setting, it’s party time, and for that, Robert has a little help from his friends: Cooking Channel’s Easy Entertaining host Michael Chiarello, former Next Iron Chef contestants Beau MacMillan and Elizabeth Falkner, and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. “I’m so excited because I have true masters cooking,” Robert says.

During the cocktail hour, Chiarello roasts a whole pig over an open flame (it’ll be the main course at dinner), and stationed on each side of the pig are two tables — one manned by Chiarello and the other by Morimoto. In a scene that resembles an Iron Chef battle, both chefs start plating hors d’oeuvres for the 160 wedding guests. Sure, a few minutes ago two other people agreed to spend the rest of their lives together in holy matrimony, but these two chefs are suddenly the party’s biggest draw, surrounded by fans snapping photos while they wait for a bite.

Morimoto and Chiarello are the odd couple of the wedding: Morimoto, who flew in from New York, slices his sushi with superhuman speed and precision, while Chiarello, wine-country local and master of rustic Italian food, leisurely moves about his station, chatting with the guests. Suddenly, Morimoto isn’t happy. He’s concerned that Chiarello’s smoky, slow-roasted pig is tainting his sushi. “Pig is too close to fish!” he shouts. “Don’t smoke my fish!” Chiarello laughs, shrugs and keeps hand-pulling fresh mozzarella for his bruschetta.

The chefs serve the guests, one by one, then the happy eaters gather around cocktail tables in the field. Robert’s family is here from the United Kingdom and Abu Dhabi, Gail’s family is in from Toronto, and the bride’s fellow professional wrestlers, some with arm-length tattoos, mingle with the crew members from Robert’s show. But one guest stays lurking close to Morimoto, and he doesn’t seem to want to move along. It’s Guy, enjoying not his first and not his last plate of sushi. The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host is attacking the delicate fish with the same gusto we’ve all seen when he knocks down burgers on TV. “Robert owes me,” Guy says, explaining that being a best man has earned him unlimited sushi. Robert shows up, grabs his own plate of sushi, then moves on with Gail to admire Chiarello’s pig.

“In Italian tradition you suck out the pig’s eyeball,” Chiarello jokes. The couple declines the offer, so Chiarello shoves a whole mozzarella ball in Robert’s mouth, like it’s wedding cake. Everyone then files into a carriage house for a five-course sit-down dinner: avocado and hearts of palm salad by Morimoto; gnocchi, rigatoni and the roasted pig by Chiarello; and cupcakes by Falkner. Guy gives a toast, calling himself and Robert a “mixed bag of nuts,” and Morimoto regales the couple with a Japanese fishing song “because I don’t know any wedding songs,” he says. Marc Summers, host of Unwrapped and executive producer of Restaurant: Impossible (“Besides Gail, I’m the only person Robert listens to,” he says), sings “Makin’ Whoopee” as a duet with the director of the show.

For her part, Gail says she is thrilled with the wedding Robert planned, and she claims that she never had any doubts. “I trust his taste,” she says. “Plus, Robert is the sensitive one. I never wanted the fairy-tale wedding. He did.”

See this event unfold on Wedding: Impossible, August 18, at 10 p.m. ET. Until then, check out a gallery of wedding highlights.

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Comments (44)

  1. Mary says:

    Congrats, cant wait to watch tomorrow night

    • Arlene Soril says:

      Wish you, Robert & Kim, all the very best for a successful union. You are two lovely people who deserve each other. Am a avid fan of your Restaurant Impossible, Robert, as well as Guy Fieri's, 3 D's. More poer to you guys & Food Network. Can't wait to watch the whole wedding.

  2. Norma says:

    I wonder if Guy wore shoes or flip flops to the wedding?

  3. Lorraine K. says:

    I watch your show every Wednesday and I enjoy it so much. I want to wish you and your Bride a Very Happy and Long Life Together. May you always be as Happy as you are right now. The Best to the both of you always.

  4. Judy Martin says:

    Best Wishes!!!!! Robert and Gail. May your love continue to grow each and every day.

  5. V & J says:


  6. Marie Tan says:

    What a shocking news! But I am so happy for you both, Robert and Gail! :)

  7. Mary btlsfan says:

    I am and was looking forward to this show. i cannot believe that they completely told the entire show SPOILER ALERT/SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN THERE! If they would have done this after the show was over that would have made sense, but this is absolutely ridiculous! I dont blame the Irvine's but someone made that decision and it was insane!

    Aside from that, Congratulations to you both. I wish you all the happiness in the world.

  8. Anita Henry says:

    Best Wishes to y'all and hope y'all have an hundred more year together Being married to someone that long only gets better and better lots of love to y'all

  9. Kathy says:

    can't wait to see the wedding,Gail is so beautiful, many, many years of being blessed and happy

  10. Sharon Saxon says:

    Congratulation to BOTH of you. I know Robert will be a great husband/cook and Gail is so beautiful! Have a lifetime of happiness!!!

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