Mission: Cook!: From the Royal Family to the White House to Television: My Life and Favorite Recipes


Robert Irvine has led a one–of–a–kind life. He joined the merchant marine as a teenager, and would go on to become a cook in the Royal Navy where he happened to befriend a man named Prince Charles. Since then, Chef Robert has gone on to cook for presidents, prime ministers, royalty and celebrities.

It's been a remarkable life and career, ranging from cooking on the beaches of Yemen for thousands of refugees to making a seven–course meal for ...

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Mission: Cook!

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Robert Irvine has led a one–of–a–kind life. He joined the merchant marine as a teenager, and would go on to become a cook in the Royal Navy where he happened to befriend a man named Prince Charles. Since then, Chef Robert has gone on to cook for presidents, prime ministers, royalty and celebrities.

It's been a remarkable life and career, ranging from cooking on the beaches of Yemen for thousands of refugees to making a seven–course meal for First Lady Laura Bush and her friends on an aircraft carrier.

Trained by the best European chefs, Robert also shares his cooking philosophy, his best recipes and tips on how to add that special twist to any dish.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Have kitchen whites; will travel. Rising Food Network star Robert Irvine has made a career of being a master chef on short notice. His skill as a Royal Navy cook earned him plaudits from his shipmates and, ultimately, employment by England's Prince Charles. He served ten years as a chef to the Royal Household, a rigorous post that helped prepare him for later high-stress assignments, which included cooking for four U.S. presidents and countless celebrities at post-Academy Award parties. The personable Brit has also hosted outdoor beach barbecues for 3,000 refugees in South Yemen and dished up food for double that number of servicemen and -women aboard an aircraft carrier. In Mission: Cook! he unfurls the entire exciting story, but just as significantly, he also shares delectable recipes and kitchen-tested cooking tips. Great read; great meals.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061237898
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/18/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 314,771
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

The host and co-creator of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible and the author of Mission: Cook!, Robert Irvine has been featured on NBC, CBS, CNN, and the Discovery Channel.

Brian O'Reilly executive-produced and co-created Dinner: Impossible. He is a television producer, screenwriter, and the coauthor of Mission: Cook!

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Read an Excerpt

Mission: Cook!
My Life, My Recipes, and Making the Impossible Easy

Maryland Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa

Makes 4 crab cakes

Attention crab cake aficionados! You can make your own, and they will be as good or better than those you've eaten in your search for the perfect crab cake. The finish on this mango salsa is a treat for your taste buds.


For the Mango Salsa

1 mango, diced small
2 teaspoons diced red onion
2 teaspoons diced red bell pepper
2 teaspoons diced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon chopped chives (save 8 strands or so for plating)
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Crab Cakes

2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
2 egg yolks
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (no crust)
Canola oil, for browning
4 lemon wedges


In a mixing bowl, combine all the salsa ingredients and let the salsa sit in the refrigerator to chill.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together all the crab cake ingredients except the crabmeat and bread crumbs, then add the crabmeat and the crumbs. Try not to break down the lump crabmeat; leave it in chunks. Form the crab mixture into 3½- to 4-ounce cakes. Place a sauté pan on the stove to get hot and pour 2 to 3 ounces canola oil in the pan. Placethe crab cakes into the pan; brown on both sides, turning carefully. Transfer the crab cakes to a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.


Place a crab cake in the center of each plate. Top with a lemon wedge. The mango salsa should be spooned to one side of the plate, with two strands of whole chives on the other side.

Pan-Roasted Wild Striped Bass with Roasted Tomato and Broccoli Rabe Medley

Serves 8

Bitter, salty, sour, and sweet tastes are all well represented here by the harmonic blending of broccoli rabe, fish, tomatoes roasted again in the oven, and honey.


4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed separately)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons honey
¼ stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
8 Roma plum tomatoes
4 bunches broccoli rabe
2 carrots, cut into julienne strips
2 yellow squash, cut into julienne strips
Eight 5- to 6-ounce striped bass fillets, skin on


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the olive oil, the juice of one of the lemons, the salt, white pepper, honey, and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a bowl, and add the tomatoes, broccoli rabe, carrots, and yellow squash, coating them well with the oil mixture.

Roast the vegetables on a baking sheet until tender.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan and sear the fish, beginning with skin side down, leaving undisturbed for 2 or 3 minutes, until crispy brown. Turn over and sear the other side of the fish the same way. Cook completely, but do not overcook. (The fish is done when the flesh springs back.) Remove the fish, and let it rest.

Place the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the juice of the other lemon into the pan, and swirl together to create a butter sauce.


Place the vegetable medley on a platter. Arrange the fish on top. Spoon the butter sauce on the fish and medley and serve.

Mission: Cook!
My Life, My Recipes, and Making the Impossible Easy
. Copyright © by Robert Irvine. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Introduction     vii
Amuse-Gueule, Times Two     1
Sunday Roasts and the White Rabbit     49
A Course in Pleasure     77
The Altar of Flavor     109
Point and Counterpoint     161
The French Godfathers     187
I'm Passionate About Passion     219
Style and Substance     247
Coda: Is This Dinner...Impossible?     277
Afterword     289
Acknowledgments     291
Index     293
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2007

    So much more than another cook book

    If you've ever watched Chef Irvine create, you may, like I did, buy this book with a bit of trepidation. I was quite sure I would not be able to duplicate his cooking style, even with explicit instructions. Wrong. This book is chock full of wonderful recipies, along with detailed instructions, even as to plating. Every home cook can make delicious meals with wonderful eye appeal. Chef Irvine is also quite the story teller. This is the first cook book I've ever had which demanded reading from cover to cover, just like a novel.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2007

    Masterful and Tasteful!

    Chef Robert Irvine is simply brilliant! He never disappoints with every mouth watering recipe. This is a man who is ingenius when combining food with masterful flair-- and most importantly, succulent creations... Bon appetit, Sir Robert Irvine!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    This is the cookbook that changed my life!

    Have you ever read a cookbook from cover to cover? Neither had I, until I found this one. I read every word, from the introduction to the index, and I couldn't put it down! Not only does it describe some of the most amazing adventures and amusing anecdotes of Chef Irvine's life, it sets forth the "philosophy of cuisine" that has caused him to excel, and to become the brilliant, celebrated Master Chef that he is today. Some of the recipes in this book could easily be made by a beginning cook, but I think the majority of the recipes are better suited to passionate, and at least somewhat experienced, home cooks. Don't get me wrong, I've never spent a day in culinary school, and I've been able to follow and execute each of the 30-or-so recipes I've tried in this book, but it is not a quick-and-easy, semi-homemade, 5-ingredient fix type of cookbook. It is a book for people who seriously want to cook and eat well, and let me tell you, since I found this book, I have been cooking better, and my family has been eating well. Since I purchased this book, many people have told me that I should cook professionally. My husband has often said things like, "I would pay $15 for a bowl of this soup in the finest restaurant, and it wouldn't be half as good as yours." I have been getting compliments that would boost my culinary ego, if I could take any credit for the dishes, but really, I am not a talented chef, I am just following the clear directions of a talented chef. The recipes in "Mission: Cook" are the best recipes I have ever found anywhere, ever, period. The "Blackened Tenderloin of Beef with Roasted Sweet Corn and Potato Hash and a Merlot Reduction," for instance, sounds intimidating, but is perfectly doable, and is to die for! Tell me your guests wouldn't be impressed with that one. The "Chicken Roulade with Prosciutto, Spinach, and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffing" has become one of my signature dishes, a family favorite, that I can easily produce on an average Sunday. The soups are simply inspired: the Chicken Mushroom Barley, Provencal Vegetable, and Summer Tomato soups are culinary delights that I can't make often enough. I actually daydream about them! Chef Irvine works wonders with proteins (you must try the "Short Ribs Braised with Mushrooms, Pearl Onions and Bacon"), but his vegetarian dishes are nothing short of spectacular. The "Roasted Vegetable Crepes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce" may very well be the best and most comforting meal I have ever eaten. If you love food, buy this book. It changed my life, and I bet it will change yours too, if you read Chef Irvine's stories, take his advice to heart, and, above all, try his recipes!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Not Recommended

    I was disappointed. I thought there would be more recipes with pictures. A lot of good information and recipes but few pictures of the recipes. I returned it.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    I am experimenting

    Chef Irvine tells family tales to introduce the dishes which encouraged me to experiment. His banana bread pudding is so easy and delicious. His chicken Tikka Massala was wonderful. Yes I would have liked more illustrations but the recipes were simple, delicious and had plenty of variety. I intend to buy this book as gifts for a couple of friends I know.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Clear and informative

    I picked this book up because I wanted some fresh ideas in the kitchen. It did not disappoint. The "Oscar Night" dinner instructions were organized and easy to follow. It turned out to be a wonderfully successful meal. It probably would have cost me three or four times the amount I paid, had I purchased the same meal at a restaurant. This book gets my full recommendation.

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing recipes!

    I picked up this book while planning for Thanksgiving dinner. The recipes in here are all soooo good. A lot of them have timelines with the instructions - a big help on any day, but especially Turkey Day. I love the conversational style in the instructions - it puts me at ease. I can't wait to serve Rosti Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Wilted Arugula to my guests along with the big bird. For dessert: Chilled Gran Marnier Souffle with Macerated Fruits.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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