Chef Cooks for the Stars

Juno Award nominees and winners will get to savour some mouth-watering Alberta fare at this year’s Gala Awards dinner.

Edmonton-raised celebrity chef Roger Mooking has put together a tempting three-course meal for guests attending the event at the TELUS Convention Centre on April 2.

The host of the Cooking Channel show, Man Fire Food, was in Calgary Thursday to give media and invited guests a sneak peek at (and taste of) the enticing menu.

“This isn’t like TV, this is better than TV, right?” asked a smiling Mooking as he waved smoke from a searing six-pound piece of bison tenderloin toward his audience.

Guests were treated to the same dishes that Juno nominees and winners will feast on, including the Tomato Surprise salad, consisting of a mix of earthy kale, spicy arugula, sweet basil and delicate tomato topped with roasted garlic Nuh Gana dressing and spiced croutes.

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The bison steak, supplied by Lacombe’s Canadian Rangeland Bison & Elk Inc., will be the main course for more than 1,200 gala guests. There is also a vegetarian option of herbed mushroom toast (featuring sourdough bread from Calgary’s Sidewalk Citizen Bakery) with Parmesan crushed fingerling potatoes, grilled lemon and chili oil baby bok choy.

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And for dessert? A dreamy gluten-free concoction made with chocolate brownie chunks, sautéed banana, cracked caramel and Phil & Sebastian espresso mousse.

“I wanted to bring big flavours and the global influence I’m known for to the menu,” said Mooking, who has also appeared several times on Food Network’s Top Chef Canada and Chopped: Canada.

“I think that it represents Calgary, too. Sometimes people from outside the city have a sense that Calgary is redneck-y. And Calgary isn’t that. Calgary is very diverse. You have the coolest mayor on the planet. It’s a very dynamic place and I wanted to showcase those dynamics on the plate, with the ingredients, the menu and the flavours.”

It’s not the first time Mooking has been involved with the Juno Awards. In 1994, Mooking won a Juno for Best R& B/Soul Recording with his former hip hop-acid jazz trio, Bass Is Base.

The group was signed by Allan Reid, an A& R rep with A&M Records, now the president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) and The Juno Awards.

A chance meeting between Reid and Mooking at the latter’s Pearson Airport restaurant, Twist, 14 months ago sparked the initial idea for the new-and-improved Juno Gala dishes.

“He sort of jokingly said, ‘Oh, you’re with the Junos? So when am I going to be your chef?’ ” Reid recalled.

“I really didn’t think much about it. But when I was sitting on the plane flying to Newfoundland I thought, ‘What a great idea.’

“I wanted to do something special for the 45th annual Juno Awards. I wanted to try something different. We challenge people with Canadian music all the time and I was like, ‘Can’t we challenge people with what we eat? Why do we have to have that same chicken dinner all the time?’ ”

Source: http://calgaryherald.com/entertainment/music/eat-like-a-rock-star-juno-awards-gala-menu-unveiled

In the Test Kitchen with Kiehl’s and Roger Mooking

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This beautiful partnership has borne great food—and help for some kids who need it most.

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Celebrity chef Roger Mooking and the Canadian Living Test Kitchen have teamed up to create these recipes inspired by the aromatic spices, fresh herbs and fruit found in Kiehl’s new nature-powered facial-care products: the Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque and the Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque.

Shop for Save the children! From Feb. 18 to 21, $1 from every purchase you make in a Kiehl’s store and online at kiehls.ca will be donated to help at-risk aboriginal youth through the charity Save the Children.

Click to access exclusive recipes by Roger Mooking and The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Mooking wins $10,000 for charity on Chopped

1617RMRoger Mooking appeared on the other side of the judges table on last night’s Chopped (US) hosted by Ted Allen. Competing in a special celebrity chef Holiday Cooking episode against fellow Cooking Channel chefs Gabriele Corcos, Kelsey Nixon and Jim Stacy, Chef Mooking was triumphant after three spectacularly heated rounds in the kitchen. As a judge on Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada hosted by Brad Smith, Roger Mooking is familiar with the show concept; take four chefs, three intense rounds, a mystery basket of ingredients and turn those ingredients into a dish that will be judged on creativity, presentation and taste, all while racing against the clock.

“It was a real head spinner being on the other end of the judges table and especially so with the  particularly critical judges that I had to face.  The daunting reality that the competitors face every episode really renewed my respect for the Chopped empire even more.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was awesome being crowned a Chopped Champion though.” – Roger Mooking

Chef Mooking, a father of four daughters, has donated his winnings of $10,000 to Save the Children, a global organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. http://www.savethechildren.ca 

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Ateriet Chef Q&A with Roger Mooking

You may have heard of Roger Mooking from his restaurant Twist by Roger Mooking. Or maybe you’ve seen him as the host of the cooking show Man Fire Food or Everyday Exotic. Or you’ve listened to his music or cooked from one of his cookbooks. Either way I think we can agree that Roger Mooking is keeping himself busy. We got the chance to ask Roger Mooking a few questions about food memories, his style of cooking and how he combines his love of music and food. Keep reading.

Roger Mooking

Roger Mooking was born into a food and music loving family in Trinidad & Tobago and was raised in Edmonton, Canada. When Roger was 15 years old he got his first job in a kitchen. Around the same time Roger started to pursue his love of music and all of a sudden he was moving back and forth between a career as a Chef and a career in music. After trying to manage these two parallel careers for a while Roger figured out that music and restaurants are all just entertainment. There is no need to chose, I’m in the entertainment industry. Since then Roger Mooking have been going full speed in all his projects, no matter if it was music or food.

Continue reading

Chef Roger Mooking’s Back To School Tips

Chef Roger Mooking

Chef Roger Mooking breaks down his top 3 tips for parents to start the school year off right.

Parents, the summer blush has been lifted and it’s time to sharpen our focus again! As a father of 4 young girls aged 8 to 2, my household gets especially busy as we prepare for the madness of returning to a school schedule.

School pickups and drop offs, daycare schedules, extracurricular activities, and homework add a few crushing layers to the usual parental responsibilities. Quick meals become the best friend of every busy parent, but this doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice quality healthy foods to keep the rugrats well fed. Here are my own top 3 tips and tricks to get through the next 10 months:

1. Sunday Funday. 
I spend one day a week cooking for the entire week and load up the fridge and freezer with countless meals. Soups, stews, cooked meats, lasagna, biscuits, tomato sauce, potatoes, hummus, sauces, and rice are fully loaded on Sunday for the entire week. All I have to do is reheat and make a quick salad or add some fresh tomatoes and garlic to my already cooked pasta to make a super fast healthy pasta between school and swimming lessons. This may seem like a waste of a perfectly good weekend day but believe me, it saves you many headaches and an incredible amount of time during the week.
Back To School

2. Fresh produce.
Always have a lot of fresh fruit and veggies on hand. I like to hand the kids a couple mini cucumbers or One Sweet tomatoes with a container of hummus and torn bread so they can snack in the car in between activities. This is also great for that post homework snack when these bottomless pits of food seem to always be hungry…again!

3. Packing lunches. 

Kids like to play with food, so we pack lunches that they have to mix together and interact with. For instance – pack a container with bacon, tomato, and lettuce. Leave the sliced bread in a separate plastic baggie and have them assemble their own sandwich at lunchtime. If we, as parents, make food fun then hopefully they will see lunchtime as an opportunity to not only be nourished but feel great.

I’m no child psychologist but this stuff seems to work to keep things moving smoothly in my household…most of the time.

– Roger Mooking

For more recipes check http://www.sunsetgrown.com/recipe/roger-mooking/

Cook Like A Chef: 10 Tips To Cook Like A Pro In Your Kitchen

Food Network Chef Roger Mooking
Food Network Chef Roger Mooking

I treat my home kitchen like a restaurant.  After so many years working in and running kitchens it’s really the only way I know how to operate when put before the tools of my trade.  My wife and I operate quite differently in the kitchen, and after a lot of reflection I’ve deduced that these are what separates the pros from the home cook.  If you want to enter the pro category then here are a few suggestions to step your kitchen game up:

  1. Clean As You Cook.  No one, including me, loves to clean up a huge mess of dishes, pots, pans and spatulas after cooking and enjoying the dinner you spent so much time preparing.  So wash up and keep your work area clean as you cook, it will make your work more efficient and save the hassle of cleaning up a huge mess.
  2. Pregrind Your Pepper Before Starting To Cook.  I like to always use freshly ground pepper.   When I’m going to start cooking I make sure to grind a batch of pepper in a dedicated coffee grinder and put it in a container ready for seasoning right next to my salt well.   When you need that extra pinch of seasoning then it is always at hand and can adjust your flavours as they are building.
  3. Utensils At Hand.  Make sure you have a vessel with all your most commonly used utensils (spatulas, wooden spoons, whisks, slotted spoons, tongs, etc) at hand on your counter near your cooking area.
  4. Flavor Builders On Hand.  My fridge always has an array of herb purees, half made sauces, béchamel, marinating tomatoes, pickled this and that, and all other kinds of things that allow me to add that extra little something to that dish I’m currently working on.  Often these flavour builders are leftovers from a previous meal.  I’ll make a little extra just for this purpose.  Make sure these containers are labelled clearly and dated so you can keep track of their freshness.
  5. Saving Foods.  Before that fresh bunch of herbs you bought a few days ago goes bad, place them on a tray and put them on a shelf so that they dry out.  Usually drying fresh herbs like this only takes a couple of days but this way you always have vibrant flavours to add to your dishes just when you need it.
  6. Save Those Stems.  After picking herbs like Thyme and Rosemary, I will always place the stems on a tray to dry.  After I’ve collected a fistful of herb stems I will add them to a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and let it infuse over the next month or so in my pantry.   I’ll always buy a couple bottles of olive oil at a time so I can dedicate one whole bottle for infusing with herb stems.  Use the herb infused Olive Oil for finishing, salad dressings, drizzling on grilled bread and other similar last minute uses.
  7. Freeze Fruit.  Before the fruit on your counter goes bad (bananas, peaches, berries, etc) and hits your municipal compost heap, place them on a flat tray in the freezer.  Once they are frozen solid then transfer them to a freezer bag.  Use up the frozen fruit for smoothies, homemade ice cream, and baked goods.
  8. Cast Iron Cookware.  Use cast iron cookware to replace all of your non stick pan needs.  Not only will these pans become seasoned with flavour and repel stickiness over time, they will also survive generations.  Your grandkids can cook eggs in the same pan that you did when you were learning to cook in the kitchen as a teenager.  Memories like this are priceless.
  9. Buy Good Quality Knives.  Like good cast iron cookware, a good set of knives will not only last generations if maintained properly but they will also make cooking a joy and much less frustrating.  Also, using sharp knives are significantly safer to use than dull ones as food is less likely to slip and move around as you will exert less force to get the job done.
  10. Buy What’s Fresh.  Even the worst cooks will prepare a delicious meal if they use the best quality ingredients their money can buy.  This will usually be the freshest and best looking stuff in your local grocer.  Its easy to do good work with good tools, regardless of what your trade is; cooking is certainly no different.

I could go on for a very long time with this list but all things must come to an end…maybe this post will need to be continued.  Wait for it…
For recipes, contests and more head to http://www.sunsetgrown.com/rogermooking/

Summer Grilling with Chef Roger Mooking

Roger on set Man Fire FoodPersonally I grill year round, I host a show called Man Fire Food on Cooking Channel that is all about cooking anything imaginable over an open flame. We’ve cooked everything from whole cows over a fire pit to mussels with pine needles on a table top and it really never gets old.

Aside from our prehistoric affinity for fire, cooking with live flame adds another layer of flavor that most sane humans only reserve for months that don’t have snow or rain, I’m not sane but that’s another topic. The variety of woods change with regional availability and each region claims to have the best wood for cooking. In the southern states of America they favor post oak, live oak, hickory and pecan. In other regions it’s all about pine with that natural sap for accelerant or mesquite for its’ clean, hot burn and deep smoky flavor. In Jamaica the best Jerk spots use green Pimento wood, the green means it is freshly cut and still holding all its moisture so the food steams as the water and sap evaporates as it is heated, infusing the food with that distinct Pimento flavor along with the smoke.

Sunset Grilled Veggies

Cooking with fire is not reserved for carnivores. Veggies cooked on the grill bring their flavors to life in a new way, that little bit of char and smoke adds texture as well as accentuates the natural greatness intrinsic to all veggies. Great vegetables, a little bit of oil, salt and pepper are all you need to get cooking on your barbecue – whether gas or charcoal. Simplicity is (moo)-King but it always starts with quality. You cant, and shouldn’t, hide quality.

You may become so addicted to the greatness of grilling that you do it with a winter jacket on like me, if you aren’t already there.

Man Fire Food Season 4 Premiere – Tuesday, July 14 at 8pm ET

For recipes, contests and more, head to http://www.sunsetgrown.com/rogermooking/