By: Sue Borra, RD, Executive Director, FMI Foundation, Chief Health and Wellness Officer, Food Marketing Institute

Chef Robert Irvine It’s hard to imagine how the most exciting fundraising event in our industry could become even more sensational, but it is about to happen. Celebrated chef and culinary personality Robert Irvine will take the stage to emcee Stir It Up!. With this added star power, this fundraiser is sure to go from “stirring” to “sizzling!” The event will take place at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference on January 27 in Miami, Florida, and supports the FMI Foundation and its growing family meals movement.

“Chef Irvine may be best known for his Food Network television shows,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “But what most people may not yet know is how he is a tremendous champion for family meals which is the primary focus of this event and the FMI Foundation’s support of the national family meals movement. There has never been a more critical time for our industry to add some star power and muscle to the family meals movement. Clearly, Chef Irvine delivers on both – as emcee of this event and for the movement overall.”

Chef Irvine is about to become one of the most visible celebrity advocates of family meals. In January 2019, he will launch his new book titled,Family Table. In contrast to the names of his popular television shows –Dinner Impossible, Restaurant Impossible, and Worst Cooks in America– this new book will demonstrate how family meals are possible. Irvine agrees that he is the perfect ingredient to Stir It Up!“This event and its cause – encouraging more family meals – could not be more important to me,” Irvine commented. "This is exactly why I am publishing this new book. It represents my urgent call for families to refocus on what's most important, which is family, and in my experience, a strong family connection starts in the kitchen."

Stir It Up!celebrates the amazing work food retailers, manufacturers, and community collaborators are already doing to encourage more family meals. During the event, the food industry competes to demonstrate their culinary chops and to celebrate the importance of family meals. Throughout the night the event also highlights the groundbreaking programming that occurred this past September during National Family Meals Month™. In addition, Gold Plate Award winners will be announced to honor the companies that exhibited the best-in-class programming of National Family Meals Month.

Come join Robert Irvine, the FMI Foundation, and many food retail industry friends at the Stir It Up! family table this January. Stir It Up!has multiple levels of participation. Even if your company is not competing, it is easy to purchase a ticket to enjoy the fun evening while supporting a great cause.