Wrestler Gail Kim Says She Can't Go Vegan Because of Her Husband Robert Irvine
Simply put, Gail Kim is one of the most popular female professional wrestlers of all time. She is a six-time Knockouts Champion for Impact Wrestling as was Women’s Champion while working for WWE. She was also the first female inductee into the Impact Hall Of Fame and will be challenging for the Knockouts Championship once more on November 5 as part of the Bound For Glory live event.
Outside of the ring – and more notably when it comes to The Daily Meal – Kim is married to celebrity chef Robert Irvine. As an athlete in peak physical condition, Kim knows plenty about food as both a foodie and a cook. I spoke to Kim by phone, and coincidentally Irvine was beside her to answer a question during the interview. More on Gail Kim and Impact can be found via following Kim on Twitter via @gailkimITSME.
The Daily Meal: When did you first become interested in what you ate in terms of its nutrition and content?
Gail Kim: I went through different phases in my life. I played sports in high school and when you’re young you have a fast metabolism. I kind of ate what I wanted, and I think it was my last year of high school, I started weightlifting and I noticed my muscles were growing. I was uncomfortable with the size I was, I guess, so I then went to extremes and ate just vegetables. When I got out of high school, I gained five to 10 pounds, not much. I really worked out hard. Throughout the years, I just taught myself how to eat through reading.
I really didn’t know how to eat until I studied nutrition in my second year of college. To this day, I’d say in the last year, I learned so much about how my body reacts to food. I am a believer of what I put in my body affecting my health. I’ve struggled with acne for 15 years of my life, which I always thought was genetic because of my mother. But in the last year, I’ve pretty much cut out all cow, which is red meat and dairy, and I’ve noticed such a difference in how my skin is, my energy level… I’ve tried to go vegan, but that didn’t work out because I’m married to a chef. (laughs)
Being married to a chef, were you a foodie before you met your husband?
Yes, I really enjoyed cooking. To this day I’m still very experimental in eating all types of food, except for red meat, for health reasons. I cooked all the time. I was the one who cooked for all my friends, even if it was 10-plus people. I was the go-to to cook for everyone.
Then I met my husband. I felt so intimidated because he’s of course one of the best. Even the things that you think you’re good at cooking, you start to question yourself. “Am I doing this right? What will he think?” We’ve been together for more than eight years, and I would honestly say it took until this past year where I just said, “Screw it, I’m going to cook for him and not care about that.” I think he enjoys it, I keep it pretty simple.
Do you have a signature dish in terms of your cooking?
I keep things pretty simple and healthy, but I would say there are two things I love to cook. Number one, I make a good salmon. For salmon or fish, I feel it’s all about the technique of how you cook it. He’s here actually right now. (to Robert Irvine) What would you say about my salmon, babe?
Robert Irvine: The salmon is good.
Gail Kim: (laughs) He said my salmon is good. But that day he said the salmon is better than his. (laughs)
Did you ever think of working on a cookbook or putting your recipes out publicly?
Oh, I don’t know if I have enough to make a cookbook. I leave that up to my husband. (laughs) He just shook his head “no.” (laughs) It’s just funny because now that I’m married to a chef, it’s kind of like someone who came into wrestling. They don’t know how to wrestle necessarily. They may know the business and what they perceive the business to be, but they can’t truly know what to do without years of experience and I truly respect that. I enjoy cooking, but I don’t know… I just don’t think I have enough skills to teach other people.
That kind of honesty is refreshing. What are some of your favorite restaurants in your hometown or cities where you often wrestle?
My hometown is Toronto, and I haven’t been back enough to be current on what’s good there. We go to Vegas a lot because my husband’s restaurant is there at The Tropicana. It’s called Robert Irvine’s Public House. I’m not just saying this because he’s my husband, it’s outstanding. I could eat there every day of the week and have something different and love it. I’m a big sushi fan.
Most people when they go to Vegas want to go to places on the Strip and experience the big names. Actually in Las Vegas, I find the best restaurants are off the Strip. We have a favorite breakfast place, BabyStacks. There are about five locations. They have all kinds of pancakes, of course, but they also do Asian-inspired, Hawaiian-inspired, Korean-inspired and Filipino-inspired breakfast dishes. Things that you would never expect like fried rice omelets. I’m not a huge rice eater, or a fried rice eater, but I will say that’s hands down the best breakfast I’ve ever had. My mouth is watering right now.
Do you find there to be a lot of crossover in people who recognize both you and your husband?
I’d say it’s a small percentage. A lot of people used to say when we were first together, “That’s weird, a wrestler and a chef…” Although those worlds seem like total opposites, there are also a lot of similarities in our lifestyle. I think that’s what makes it work. He’s in entertainment as well because he’s in food and television. We both travel a lot in our lifestyle. Our love of fitness and health, we like to work out together. We love to do everything together.
In terms of the fans, he has a wider range of ages. He’ll be in the airport and kids will recognize him. Kids will tell their parents, “Oh, look there’s Robert Irvine.” (laughs) With my fans, wrestling fans are more hardcore, loyal, and very very passionate. I’d say the age range is a little more 18 to 35, predominately male. It’s kind of different, but we get people who like to watch the Food Network and wrestling.