A Special Holiday Mission: Robert Irvine Transforms Double H Ranch

In the spirit of the season, Robert gave back to Double H, a camp welcoming children with life-threatening illnesses.

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Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

The Season of Giving

"Inspiration beyond your wildest dreams," Robert said of the scene at Double H Ranch, a camp in upstate New York for children with life-threatening illnesses. In the spirit of the holidays, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team gave back to the campers and staff at Double H in an extra-special mission.

A Mission of Hope

In talking with director of operations Jacqui Royael and CEO/executive director Max Yurenda, Robert quickly learned that Double H is a camp like few others; Jacqui said the staff maintains a "how can we make it possible for each child" attitude at all times as they offer the children many traditional camp activities.

Oversize Overhaul

While the opportunities for children at Double H are unparalleled, the camp's dining hall was in need of an update, as Max noted, "It's a very dark building." With more than 4,000 square feet of space spread out among four separate areas, this overhaul was the largest the team had ever attempted, and thanks to the generosity of Lexus, there was an increased budget of $50,000 and three days to work.

A Spicy Sip

Not one to shy away from a mission, in true Irvine fashion Robert rose to the occasion when campers challenged him to drink a glass of hot sauce. Much to their amusement, he drowned the drink with a smile.

A Welcome Challenge 

"Positive energy," Robert said of the overall look and feel he hoped the transformed dining hall would offer. "This has got to say, 'You come here, this is Camp You-Can-Do-You-Anything-You-Want.'" The team got to work on updating the interior with bright colors and warm designs, including hand-crafted artwork made by the campers.

Unforgettable Experience

"Courage, strength, resilience and happiness is what this place gives to all these kids," Robert reflected on Double H. He readily participated in camp activities and spent time talking with the campers. "The spirit of this place is so powerful," Max explained. "And I get the feeling that Robert is catching the essence of Double H."

Personalized Design

For the ultimate DIY activity, designer Cheryl Torrenueva enlisted the campers' help to create design elements in the dining hall. They crafted inspirational words with wire, then decorated them with colorful yarn for a personal element in the space. 

Friendly Flying

The ropes course at Double H may have been one the most-daunting activities at camp, but that didn't stop many of the campers — or Robert — from partaking.

Space Constraints

Jeremy Carner, the kitchen and catering manager, explained the camp's need to separate the prep and serving areas for fear of allergen cross-contamination, but the kitchen setup provided limited space to do so efficiently.

Fully Equipped

Because Double H struggled to serve family-style meals while the food was still hot, Robert solved the problem with a quick fix: a warmer box designated for each cabin. "It's the fastest way to feed a lot of people," he told Jeremy before introducing the kitchen's new ovens, warmer and steamer.

Smart Prep

The secret to the kitchen transformation was establishing designated allergen areas for gluten-free, special diet and peanut butter prep. "Clean, organized, efficient and safe," Robert said of the all-new setup.

Cooking with a Purpose

It's up to Robert to prepare dinner for 300 people at camp, and to help him with the task, he looked to Chef Michelle Bernstein. Together they planned a kid-friendly menu of tacos, wild rice and pork sliders, plus snacks and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

Transformation Complete

"Our kids, they're going to love it so much," Jacqui said after seeing the updated space, complete with bright walls, inviting seating, camp accents and children's artwork. "It really took what camp is and what it embodies, and it just brought it to life in the dining hall." 

Meaningful Renovation

“It looks so campy and so us," Kate Walsh, the camp director, revealed of the renovated dining hall. She was especially proud of how the design married the new, contemporary features with the camp's long-standing history.

Mealtime Success

It didn't take long for the staff to utilize the all-new equipment. Thanks to the box warmers at every table, the campers enjoyed a warm meal together.

Holiday Giving

"Surprise!" Robert told the campers and staff at Double H as the group saw for the first time the rows of brand-new equipment, including backpacks, tents and paddle boats. Michelle revealed that with generosity from Lexus, the camp would also receive $10,000 for investment in the future. 

Find Out More

Hear from Max and Jacqui in an exclusive update to learn the latest dish on how Double H Ranch is doing today.

Want More Restaurant: Impossible?

Visit Food Network's Restaurant: Impossible headquarters to browse more photos, watch top videos and hear from eatery owners to see how their businesses are faring since their Impossible transformations.

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