Click Here to sign up for the SHAPE Newsletter!

Sysco renews relationship with Irvine

SHAPE October 2015

Sysco Corporation has renewed its partnership with celebrity chef and TV personality Robert Irvine in tandem with Food Network's popular cooking tournament show, “Chopped: Impossible.”

This marks the third consecutive year North America’s leading foodservice supplier has teamed up with Chef Irvine and Food Network. The first installment of the high-voltage, four-episode cooking series premieres at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central, Thursday, Oct. 22, featuring Food Network star Chef Robert Irvine.

In the first three episodes of “Chopped: Impossible,” the veteran chef will take his place on the judging panel, as 12 returning champions are expected to be confronted with some of the most challenging mystery baskets in the show's history.

For the grand finale, three chef finalists will compete for $15,000 and the chance to face off against Irvine in a classic culinary throw-down. If the champion bests Irvine in this epic confrontation, he or she gets to go home with an additional $25,000, for a total of $40,000.

As part of the ongoing relationship with Irvine and Food Network, Sysco will showcase its position as the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to the foodservice industry. The partnership will include TV commercials, custom vignettes, digital advertising, contests and product integrations.

Sysco has advertised and conducted marketing campaigns on Irvine's series “Restaurant: Impossible,” since 2013. In addition, Irvine — who has been a customer of the Houston-based food supplier since 1997 — serves as an ambassador for Sysco.

“As Sysco continuously strives to innovate and to provide the necessary ingredients for success to our restaurant customers, we are excited to continue our relationship with Chef Irvine,” says Bill Goetz, Sysco's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “One of the keys to success in 'Chopped: Impossible' is the chefs' ability to utilize a Sysco-provided pantry of fresh and local ingredients that will bring to life their culinary creations. At Sysco, these are the kinds of ingredients we can make available to our customers so that they can delight their diners.”

The British-born Irvine has spent more than 25 years in the foodservice industry, cooking around the globe in such places as Europe, the Far East, the Caribbean and North and South America. As host of “Restaurant: Impossible” — one of Food Network's highest ranking show — Irvine helps struggling restaurants succeed by addressing and correcting operational weaknesses. He also served as host of Food Network's “Dinner: Impossible” and “Worst Cook's in America.” He currently is on tour with a new interactive live show, “Robert Irvine Live.” In addition to penning several cookbooks, Irvine recently debuted Robert Irvine Foods, featuring great tasting food products that are also nutritionally sound.

As part of the relationship, Sysco and Food Network also kicked off a multifaceted promotional campaign Oct. 15 in conjunction with “Chopped: Impossible” that features an online contest geared toward restaurant professionals. Promoted on Food Network's broadcast and digital channels, the “Chopped: Impossible” Restaurant Challenge will solicit recipes from industry members, from which 10 will be selected by Food Network culinary staff. Next, the public will be asked to vote on them, narrowing the field to four. The finalists will fly with a guest to New York City, where they will demonstrate their cooking skills for Chef Irvine. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000.

For more information about the contest, visit

To help support the partnership, Sysco has developed a microsite,, to provide details about the fresh and local pantry ingredients used in both “Chopped: Impossible” and the Restaurant Challenge.

"We believe that the combination of the Food Network contest, a contest among Sysco customers and prospective customers, and our relationship with Chef Irvine can continue to differentiate and contemporize the Sysco brand," Goetz says. "While we want to create unique marketing and sales promotion opportunities to help us grow our business, we also want to create excitement and help build pride among our associates. Altogether, these activities further demonstrate Sysco's commitment to
being our customers' most valued and trusted business partner."

Food Network is a highly successful lifestyle network, website and magazine that reaches 100 million U.S. households and as many as 35 million unique web users monthly. Since being launched in 2009, the New York City-based Food Network has expanded its international presence to include programming in more than 150 countries.

Sysco distributes food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, hotels and motels, and other customers. The company operates 196 distribution facilities serving some 425,000 customers. For the fiscal year ended June 27, 2015, Sysco generated sales of more than $48 billion. For more information on the company visit or on Facebook at or Twitter at



Related Product and Features

Chopped Impossible


Related Recipes

Roasted Squash Bowl with Quinoa, Arugula and Apple Salad

Slow Braised and Tender Boneless Beef Short Rib

Fall Harvest Beet Salad

Sweet Potato Bisque


Related Articles

New York City mandates high sodium labels

Trendinista: Veggie-centric sandwiches gaining traction with diners

Build a Better: Next-gen pasta dish

The benefits of third-party gluten-free/ food allergy training programs