The story of a retired Fort Drum soldier who went from bungy jumping in Las Vegas to one of the military's top chefs is unbelievable. As YNN's Brian Dwyer reports, it's a story that Robbie Myers hopes is not yet finished.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- "Four amazing chefs are about to bravely march into the 'Chopped' kitchen. They all hail from the ranks of America's military. Let's meet 'em. First up there's Chef Robbie Myers," said Ted Allen. That is how the "Chopped" host opened the show's Military Salute episode.
Fifteen years ago, Robbie Myers had barely stepped foot in a kitchen, nevermind competing on one of the Food Network's most popular shows.
"No experience", Myers said from his home in Adams Center. "I actually was working as a jump operator at a bungy jumping site in Las Vegas before I joined the military."
When Myers did enlist, he was offered three jobs. He chose food service because he thought it offered him post military opportunities. But even then, he only got on the culinary arts team more for the arts than the culinary.
"The dining facility manager knew I could draw," Myers said. "He threw me a package of Craftsman chisels and told me to make something out of three 300 pound blocks of ice.
After his first competition, he took over leadership of the team. But with no idea how to really cook, he had to figure it out.
"I think it was because I was forced to know more, I plunged myself into books and self-teaching," Myers said.
But as his cooking was taking shape, his life away from the kitchen was getting harder.
Suffering from a case of post traumatic stress disorder, Myers had to leave the Army last summer. He's certain his condition kept him from getting jobs as a chef at restaurants.
His break came when a friend of his saw the Food Network was looking for military veterans for a special episode of that competition show, "Chopped".
"When he sent me the link," Myers said. "I just felt the urge, you know, might as well. I had just gotten out of medically retired, and I felt like, you know, might as well give it a shot."
And not only did he, he won, beating out three other veteran chefs. But as this story goes, even that has a sub-plot.
"I couldn't taste or smell a thing. I was sick as a dog the day of the show," Myers said. "They ask you, 'Are you all well?' I lied to them and was like 'Yes, I'm good to go. Lets do it.'"
A small fib and a win that led him to be picked to host a new show currently being created by veterans. He hopes to shoot the pilot in November.
"An exciting cooking show about highlighting Veteran owned businesses," He said. "Basically cooking with them and serving good food."
Myers says he's heard very good things about the possibility this kind of show being picked up by a network. But no matter what, he'll always be a star in the eyes of his family.
"Being able to say 'Hey everybody, come on up for a barbecue,' and they know that they're going to be wowed and, 'Hey, how about Thanksgiving this year, Robbie's fixing.' It's always really enjoyed by our family and friends," Myers' wife Jamie said.
If the show, called "Come and Get it!" gets picked up, Myers says some of the proceeds would go to veteran programs and help those suffering from PTSD.
Myers took home $10,000 for winning the Military Salute episode of "Chopped".