Secrets of success from celebrity chefs Robert Irvine and Cat Cora

We’ve marveled at their skill and drooled over their recipes. Now, these celebrity chefs are getting down to the grittier grub: the business of food.

Robert Irvine, celebrity chef and host of several Food Network shows, including "Restaurant: Impossible", and Cat Cora, "Iron Chef" star and multiple restaurant owner, share their tips on everything from the keys to on-screen success to how to avoid the worst rookie pitfalls. What has been the most challenging part of being a celebrity chef?

Robert Irvine: Trying to figure out how to best utilize my time. In addition to filming, I’m involved with multiple charities … I do a lot of traveling.

Cat Cora: The only downfall to being on TV is that I am away from my family a lot. Working has given me some of my best moments, like meeting fans. I just wish I could take [my family] with me. It’s the nature of the beast. How do you prioritize your personal life and professional life? Is it difficult?

CC: My partner and I have a great balance; it’s about finding the right person. In a lot of ways it’s also about finding balance within you. You have to know when it’s time to put the work down and pick your kids up. Life ebbs and flows. "Restaurant: Impossible" has a strong emotional component. How do you keep composure when restaurant owners and their families break down?

RI: Some of these families don’t know what to do. For them, I’m their last hope. I have to be the strong one. But I do take it very personally – I’ll throw cameras out of situations [on set] because it’s the families I care about. It’s their lives.

VIDEO: Robert Irvine discusses healthiest chain restaurant meals How would you advise young chefs go about getting their foot in the industry’s door?

CC: First, they’ve got to get some experience in a restaurant. They may not work in one later, but it’s a great way to find out if you like this industry, this energy. For me, it was great to go to culinary school. There a lot of options today for how to get started.

VIDEO: Cat Cora debunks olive oil myths What is your No. 1 tip for aspiring chefs?

RI: Respect the knowledge of others, no matter who they are or what position they hold. I had a dishwasher who worked for me. He’s now an executive chef at a top hotel. What are some common pitfalls new chefs make when getting into the business – how can they be avoided?

CC: When a lot of people get out of culinary school they think, ‘I’m going to be an executive chef.’ But you have to work your way up. Peel potatoes if you have to. Come in on your days off and work for free. You should also have a business education so you can decipher everything that’s going on with your restaurant, from food costs to insurance, employee health care, and legal. In this day and age, coming up with a personal brand is key to being successful. How would you advise young people go about discovering and implementing their own personal brand?

RI: You have to be true to who you are. Don’t change because someone wants you to. And don’t try to fake your brand because people will know the difference. Your actions will create your brand for you.