Food Network chef Robert Irvine comes to Philadelphia for the roast chicken and mashed potatoes at Parc.
“I like that I can eat in a different place three times a day and never go back to the same place within six months,” the former Restaurant: Impossible and Dinner: Impossible host says of Philly’s dining scene. “But there are some old favorites.”
Making trips to Philly has been a part of the chef’s routine since he started working in Atlantic City in the 1990s. He’s back again on Monday, May 21, for Beats ’n Eats, a fundraiser for his nonprofit Robert Irvine Foundation, which supports military personnel and first responders. This is the second time Irvine is hosting the food and music event; the first, in 2016, was at the Fillmore Philadelphia (29 E. Allen Street) in Fishtown, and he’s returning to that venue for the second incarnation.
The music part will be provided by rappers Schoolly D and Chill Moody, along with other artists with local ties. As for the food, Irvine tapped a crew of Philly chefs including Marcie Turney of Bud & Marilyn’s, Barbuzzo, Lolita, and others, Brad Spence of Amis, Jason Cichonski of Ela, and Jennifer Carroll, who is in the process of opening Spice Finch in Rittenhouse. Food Network’s Elizabeth Falkner and Beau MacMillan will be joining them.
“All these chefs are creative and innovative,” Irvine says. “We wanted to make sure they resonate — who is hot right now, who is into philanthropy, and who has completely different personalities and foods.”
He’s giving the chefs control over what they’ll cook for Beats ’n Eats, with each assigned to a course for the family-style meal. Beyond the food, Irvine says he wants to make sure the event is “jumping.”
“When people go out and spend money, even on charity, they want to have a good time,” he says. “The more we can highlight and utilize the chefs is a winning formula.”
For one highlight, Irvine told a Philly chef to think bigger. And wider. Matt Fein of Federal Donuts is creating a doughnut wall for the event — he’s going with a wall because the stack of 350 doughnuts he brought to Beats ’n Eats in 2016 disappeared in approximately five minutes.
“I managed to get one bite and I had to steal it from someone,” Irvine says with a laugh. “This year, we’re putting a velvet rope around them. I said to [Fein], ‘Whatever you touch turns to gold.’”
Fein and his team are frying up 600 doughnuts for Beats ‘n Eats this year.
Tickets are $150, or $300 for VIP, which gets you in earlier and a meet and greet with Irvine. General admission starts at 7 p.m.