Get to Know Chef Roger Mooking
Who Is Roger Mooking?
Award-winning recording artist. Celebrity chef. Master of the California grape. Roger Mooking is a Trinidadian-born, Canadian-raised man of many talents. Born into a family of restauranteurs (his grandfather opened one of the first Chinese restaurants in Bonaire), Mooking couples his diverse background with his cross-platform creativity and brings a unique flavour to everything he does.
Celebrity Chef And TV Fixture
If Mooking looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen him sharing his best grilling tips on his Cooking Channel show Man Fire Food, or searching for the best meal on Man’s Greatest Food, or showing you how to spice up your routine meals on the Food Network’s Everyday Exotic (which he’s also written a cookbook about).
Restauranteur & Award Winning Musician
Between his TV gigs, his restaurant TwisT, and his personal life, he has a lot on his plate–but not so much that he can’t tend to his other passion: music. Mooking has been making music for 20 years and counting. He started his career in the Juno Award-winning soul trio Bass is Base, and now, he’s celebrating his fourth studio release and latest solo album Eat Your Words, which is inspired, in part, by his Trinidadian roots.
Scroll down to watch our full interview with chef Mooking, or get a taste of what he shared with us here!
Getting To Know Chef Mooking
- How have your passions for music and cooking inspired or influenced each other?
Well, it’s really interesting, you know, because the music and the food seem like they’re not related, but in my world, they’re very related. They’re all social environments. They’re all gateways to culture, and what better way to understand that tradition and other people than by sitting down having a meal with them or enjoying some music from the culture?
- If your new album Eat Your Words were a meal, what would we see on the plate?
You’d see a little bit of everything. You’d see some Argentinian Asado, you’d see some SoCal fresh light veggie products, you would see some curry goat from the West Indies. It’s a mix of a whole bunch of stuff.
- What’s your go-to meal to make at home?
I know my favourite meal, if I could eat it every single day of the year, would be Vietnamese pho, I could eat pho every single day.
I think my kids would get a little bit perturbed with me with rice and noodles all the time like that, but for me, I can eat it every day.
- Who are your favourite artists to listen to while you cook?
My music is on shuffle, and so I’ll go between like Andre 3000 and OutKast, to Dolly Parton on there, Duran Duran is on there, Public Enemy is on there, there’s like–Kidz Bop is on there!
- You’re working with your “secret summer ingredient”–fresh California Grapes –what inspired you to start cooking with them?
Well, I love grapes, you know. I love popping grapes, I love putting him in the freezer.
But then I realized that there’s a lot you can do with grapes. All over the world, people have been cooking with grapes for centuries, so why not kind of resurrect that tradition and bring it back around and incorporate it not only in sweet dishes but [also] savoury dishes?
- What’s your favourite recipe to include grapes in?
Right now I’m really hot on the grape and chicken skewers. We cube up some chicken a little bit larger than the red grapes, and I like those red grapes because they are succulent, juicy, add a nice texture, but there’s a depth of flavour to them that I’m looking for with the chicken.
That goes really well with the savouriness of the meat with some marjoram [and] a little bit of oregano mixed together some olive oil. Cook those all together [for] about seven minutes.
You pull those off and you make a classic Alabama white barbecue sauce with the unclassic twist of adding a little bit of green grapes to that as well for the sweetness and a little bit of tart there.
- What’s your dream brunch date?
My dream brunch date would be me and my wife somewhere in Paris or off of a cliff in Portugal. The phones have just died, perhaps it’s edging towards the apocalypse, and we’re just out there having fun and enjoying it, you know?
- What would people be surprised to find out about you?
Some may be surprised to find out that I am OCD when it comes to cleanliness. I’m that person on a plane with the wipes, wiping down my station, wiping down the buckles. But hey, at least you know when you come to my restaurant it’s clean!
- How close is your online life to your offline life?
My online life just kind of mirrors what my own life does. Maybe you see a lot less of what is actually happening in my life. I’m just very private and I don’t share my kids on there and stuff like that. So you’re going to miss out on that, but you can see what they ate!
- Face-to-face interactions are kind of on the decline as the world becomes more virtual. What would you do to ensure you’re having authentic face to face interactions regularly?
Call me old school but I just pick up the phone and call my friends.
Say to come over face to face, and before you know it they’re there! You put down the phone, and you’re talking, and that’s what’s up.
- What exciting projects do you have coming up?
There’s new episodes of Man’s Greatest Food and Man Fire Food cracking right now.
I have an album out now that’s called Eat Your Words. That’s just shortly been released and there’s one video out, another video coming out shortly.
See what else Chef Mooking had to say about his best tips for grilling; who he’d love to collaborate with in the kitchen or studio, and more, by watching the full interview here!
Watch The Whole Interview Here
Feel inspired to try something new? We have just the thing! See what exciting book club events we have coming to your area to discover a new book, experience a new restaurant, and meet new like-minded book lovers!
Shannon Hodgen is a lifelong writer, DIY enthusiast, and homebody. She satisfies her need to put pen to paper–or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard–as an agency copywriter, blog contributor, and freelance editor in Toronto.
Favourite Book: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Favourite Brunch Spot: Dirty Food Eatery in The Junction