Inqlings | There will be 26 more servings of 'Dinner Impossible'

Posted: April 17, 2007

Food Network has ordered 26 more episodes of Dinner Impossible, the wacky show in which chef Robert Irvine and his two partners whip up meals in odd situations.

DI, which premiered in January, is homemade - from the creator (Cinnaminson's Brian O'Reilly) to the chef (Irvine lives in Absecon and is executive chef at Resorts in Atlantic City) to the producers (Ray Carballada at Shooters Post & Transfer near Independence Hall, as well as Marc Summers, now working out of Philly). Even DI's legal work is done locally (Justin Wineburgh of Cozen O'Connor).

On tomorrow's episode (10:30 p.m., Food Network), Irvine has nine hours to do a cocktail reception and five-course meal for Penn president Amy Gutmann and 65 guests. The further rub: The venue is the Psi Upsilon frat house and the brothers "help." (See an Inquirer article on the meal at


Great stories came out of this year's Set in Philadelphia screenwriting contest. All you had to do was talk to the winning screenwriters who were feted Saturday.

Grand-prize winner Joe Nienalt, 31, who took home $10,000 for his drama Smile, was born in Kensington, had a child at age 15, left Philly at 19, globetrotted, and joined the Army, from which he was discharged just before Sept. 11, 2001. "My past kind of took me away," says Nienalt, a self-taught screenwriter who now works a desk job for the city of Tacoma, Wash., where he lives with his wife and three younger kids. "I'm hoping for some traction from this win." In Smile, a paraplegic woman falls in love with a thug who is secretly aligned with the hit-and-run driver who injured her.

A $2,500 prize went to West Philly native Salih Abdul-Qawi, who moved to West Oak Lane at age 12 in 1992 after his mother was murdered. He studied acting at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City but had to leave because of financial hardship. He taught himself screenwriting while landing roles in Hack and In Her Shoes. His script is Beat a Bully, about a boxer who is suspended from the ring.

Philly-bred screenwriter Stephen J. Rivele (Nixon, Ali), who gives an annual prize for young screenwriters, was so inspired by this year's crop he doubled the award jackpot and picked four winners.

University of the Arts grad Derek Dressler won $1,000 for the comedy Incidental Contact; Philly's Robert X. Golphin won $500 for the drama Between Midnight & Mourning; West Chester-born Matt Taylor won $300 for the western The Four Men From Abernacle; and Drexel U undergrad Corey Stephens won $200 for the drama Seeking Paradise.

Rivele was so moved that he also offered his guest room in L.A. to winners who might need a place to crash, said Joan Bressler of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, a sponsor.

Cinematically related

The Philadelphia Film Festival brought in Dermot Mulroney to receive the American Independents' Artistic Achievement Award and talk up his new movie, Dante's Inferno. Mulroney's father, Michael, is a law professor at Villanova, and his sister, Moira, is director of grants at the Philadelphia Zoo. During the nor'easter Sunday, Moira Mulroney gave her brother and his 7-year-old son, Clyde, a zoo tour. They saw a baby camel and watched crocodiles and vampire bats feed.

Now, Philly is healthy

April's Cooking Light mag names Philly the ninth-healthiest U.S. city, praising its number of restaurants, farmers markets, walkability and the overall health of the locals. (Seattle is No. 1, followed by Portland, Ore., and Washington.) The mag also said Philly has a high number of people consuming five or more fruits and vegetables a day. Sure, if you count Tastykake cherry pies and crab fries from Chickie's & Pete's as fruits and vegetables.

The circuit

Roy's in Center City initially declined a reservation request for 10:30 on a Tuesday night, as the restaurant closes at 10. Then it was learned that the prospective diner was Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. (She's from Hawaii, home base of Roy's.) Scherzinger and the other Dolls got their table after their April 3 Wachovia Center show.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund has Awards of Excellence in store tomorrow night for entertainer Patti LaBelle, plus Walter P. Lomax of the Lomax Co., lawyer Nelson L. Diaz, and Romona Riscoe Benson, head of the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The gala will be at the National Constitution Center.

The Mike & the Mad Dog show, heard in the afternoon on New York's WFAN, is pulling a double this week and next by also filling the morning spot once occupied by Don Imus. No permanent replacement has been named for Imus, whose local outlet (6 to 9 a.m.) is WWDB (860).

Actor/comedian Taylor Negron, in for the screening of the film Judy Toll: The Funniest Woman You've Never Heard Of, chatted up his server at Mission Grill (19th and Arch Streets) Saturday night. "Chatted up" isn't entirely accurate. Posed for photos and bummed a couple smokes for later. Good tipper, too.

Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or Read his recent work at

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