Chef Roger Mooking, returns to Cooking Channel for the second season of Man Fire Food. Roger’s fascination with flames continues as he travels across the country in search of the most inventive ways to cook with fire, and this season the heat is hotter and the flavours are bolder. From traditional Hawaiian grub smoked in an underground lava pit to whole ducks on Brazilian skewers cooked on top of an outdoor oven, each stop delivers sizzling recipes and out-of-this-world heat.
Where did you get your passion for cooking? Who was your inspiration?
My grandfather came from China and ended up in Trinidad in the Caribbean. After many years of working hard he opened his own bakery and restaurant, at one point my dad bought one of those restaurants off of him and ran the restaurant for 20 years. All my aunts and uncles on that side of the family owned restaurants and catering companies to this day in the Caribbean. So it was really in my blood and I wanted to be a chef from the time I was 3 years old. I don’t know if I could cite one individual. My grandmother on my mother’s side was an amazing cook and artist so I’ve just been surrounded by really creative people and food interested people my whole life so it’s kind of been a patchwork collective of people that have fed that interest. Then I went into professional kitchens and learned from other chefs. I saw how driven they were and interested and I was a sponge for all these people.
What can viewers expect from Season 2. What’s different from the first season?
From season 1 to season 2 we’ve really honed in on what the concept of the show is. Because we go into shooting the shows and we don’t get to see what the final edits are until we are halfway through shooting one of the seasons. So in the first season we didn’t get to see what the show feels like until we halfway shot it, and then we want to make little tweaks, but we’ve already shot it. So going into season 2, we had the kind of breadth of experience of knowing all the things that we feel are really powerful and meaningful from all of those captivating things from season 1 and now we get to take all of that artillery and build it into season 2. We just really refined the concept, honed in on it. Really made sure we got really captivating people who are building fantastic contraptions and who like to build big fires and make delicious food and we’ve been really strict about making sure we only adhere to that.
You get to meet some pretty interesting people while shooting the show. Who was the most colourful person that you’ve met?
There was a guy we met actually named Tink Pinkard in Texas. He’s just a big grizzly bear looking guy with a heart of gold. He has a great group of friends around him. He does some really delicious food, whole hog porchetta, and he was just a warm person and so inviting. Normally we do two locations in every episode but we were just so compelled by him and what he’s doing, and his passion and his whole lifestyle and we stayed with him for a whole episode. That’s the first time we’ve ever done that in a season.
What locations have you visited?
We went to Hawaii, we’ve been to the san francisco area. Right now we are in the Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts area. Next week we go to Jamaica. We are really focused on making sure we capture the best stories. The best contraptions. The best fires. The best food.
Which location has really stuck out for you?
One thing I realize about doing this show is everybody in every nook and cranny has a passion for cooking over a fire. I just think it’s something so primal that people are just drawn to a fire. If I light a fire in the middle of this grass right now somebody is gonna show up with some marshmallows, somebody is going to show up with a guitar. Somebody is gonna bring some lawn chairs, and someone is going to bring a cooler with some beer. And before you know it you have a little party going on. Just all these nooks and cranny’s and I’m always surprised by the most remote areas how inviting people are and receptive they are to sharing their stories with us.
What’s your favourite thing to throw on the grill?
With this show it’s not just about BBQ, although it’s impossible to do a show like this and not cover the traditional BBQ stuff. It goes way beyond that. We go into this area right now, we’re doing clam bakes and Salmon. We go to Napa Valley and people are cooking whole lambs Asado style on a cross. We go to Hawaii and they are doing Emu, traditional Emu, like how you see a Luau with lava rocks and the laulau. Everybody just has their own little thing to it man, and that’s the beauty of it. You think “Oh, it’s a BBQ show”, but it just goes so much deeper than BBQ.
What’s a tip you’d give about cooking with fire?
One thing I’ve noticed, and the more expert pit masters will support this too. I think a lot of people think I want to cook dinner, I’m gonna turn on the BBQ on high, put my steak on there, keep it on high and it will be cooked faster. There’s a lot of benefit, especially when you’re using tougher cuts of meat and slow roasting, to go long and slow. With those kinds of cuts of meat. And even delicate cuts, like a rib eye, you can do it kind of quick and fast, but if you slow smoke that stuff, it’s great like that too. My number one thing is just don’t cook it on high, there’s a range of temperatures. A range of applications. A range of different types of woods. A range of what that heat source is. Proximity to the fire. Is it direct heat? Indirect heat? Are you smoking? You know there’s just so many variables, you gotta know what you want your end product to be and what your starting product is and how you want to get from A to B.
What do you want people to take away from the show?
At the heart of it, I think the show is about passion and community. At the end of every program there’s an eating scene with a feast of people and everybody is sharing this big thing that we just cooked and spent who know sometimes 12-24 hours, 48 hours if you include the marinating process and all that stuff. This process of cooking and preparing this meal that gets consumed for people. You don’t endeavour to do such a long winded project, unless you love it. I think that you are drawn to the passion of myself. The passion of the person that I’m cooking with who is my host for the day. And also the passion of the people who are coming to share this incredible feast. At the essence at the core of it, it’s all about love and community and fire is the conduit for all of those things.
How is this show different from the other shows you’ve done?
Everyday Exotic was an instructional show. That was basically me talking to the camera the whole time. And that’s a completely different animal than Heat Seekers, for instance, where that really is about me and Aarón Sanchez going out and trying to one up each other like frat boys. That’s a totally different dynamic, because not only am I talking to the person I’m cooking with in the kitchen, but it’s about me and Aarón having a rapport and a chemistry. We hit it off right away, so that was natural, but that is a completely different dynamic. With a show like this where I’m always meeting a new person every two days. We’re always doing a new type of contraption, new type of dish, new type of food, and new type of history that they bring to it. A lot of people are bringing their family traditions, whether they’re from Argentina or France or America, or Napa Valley specific. Everybody brings those things and I can’t treat every single person the same way. I can’t go and say we’re going to build this fire, we’re going to cook this steak and then we’re going to go home. Everybody is different. I gotta approach every interaction with all of these individuals in a completely different manner. Some people are more playful. Some people are more stoic. Some people are really conservative. With the playful people it’s easy, and sometimes you have to reel them back in. With the conservative people I have to be more playful to draw them out. So from host perspective it’s about adapting constantly, which is truthfully the essence of life.
What’s your favourite dish or comfort food when you relax at home?
An egg with soy sauce. Just a hardboiled egg with soy sauce. It’s magical!
What’s the importance of the connection of your love for food and music?
Well at the end of the day what I like to do is just make things. The things that I’m interested in making are what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about music and I’m passionate about food. At the end of the day they all fall under the umbrella of entertainment. I love to entertain. I love to see people have a great time. And what better way to do that than to share that entertainment through music or through food. I can’t think of a better way to entertain and have fun with people you don’t know. All of the sudden it’s like you’re friends, you’re down.
What music do you like to listen to while you cook?
It changes. Sometimes if I’m in the middle of working on an album I might be playing some of the music that I was working on in the studio the day before. So that I can formulate ideas for lyrics. Or sometimes I’ll have the lyrics in my head and I’m working on a piece of music, and it’s in my brain, so I don’t want any other music playing. Sometimes I just want to turn on some Cassandra Wilson, or Kanye West, or Simon and Garfunkel or Odd Future. My musical tastes run a fairly wide range.
Chef Gerry Garvin, aka ‘G.’, returns to Cooking Channel for the second season of Road Trip with G. Garvin, premiering tonight, Tuesday, May 7th at 9pm ET/6pm PT. An acclaimed cookbook author and larger-than-life personality, G. Garvin takes viewers on a culinary expedition through 13 episodes exploring the most delicious Southern-inspired cuisine the country has to offer. From Los Angeles to Nashville, Louisville to San Francisco and in his hometown of Atlanta, G. discovers the hidden gems behind some of the cities’ best Southern dishes.
In the season premiere, G. Garvin heads to his hometown of Atlanta, the place where his southern-inspired roots were born. He starts with shrimp and grits at Local Three, where a unique kitchen is giving brunch a makeover. G. then satisfies his sweet tooth with red velvet cake from A Piece of Cake, and tops off the day at JCT Kitchen with a true southern treat, fried chicken, along with some very inventive cocktails.
We recently spoke with Chef Garvin about the upcoming season of his show:
Where do you get your passion for cooking from? Who did you look up to when beginning to cook?
I think you’re born with it. Growing up in the late sixties and 70s there weren’t any celebrity chefs, so I got it from my family. Anytime we were celebrating something, you would get fed. We had things like red velvet cake. Red Velvet cake is so popular today, everybody is making it, but back then we used to make it only for special occasions.
What is your favorite dish/comfort food to make when you are able to relax at home?
I work out almost everyday, so when I cook at home I usually try to eat really healthy. I like grilling things. I usually end up making quinoa with grilled vegetables.
How does it feel to be nominated by the James Beard Foundation for “Outstanding Personality/Host” for “Road Trip with G. Garvin”?
I tell my friends it’s like being nominated for a Grammy. Of course I want to win, but it’s a great honor just to be nominated.
Does the new season of Road Trip differ from your first? Can we expect to see any differences in this new season?
The first season was set in the south, so this season we get to travel all over the country to new cities like San Francisco, Nashville and Las Vegas.
What has been your favorite city to visit so far? From city to city how different is the cooking as well as the people?
I really liked Nashville. And Philadelphia. The country is very different, but no matter where you go the people are amazing. Some cities do have their bad areas, but once you get involved with the people and the food you see how great it is.
You created the One Bite at a Time Foundation. How important is it for you to give back to your community? What are some of the goals of the foundation?
The One Bite at a Time Foundation is giving kids growing up in rough areas, the ones that don’t want to be a basketball player or rapper, an option to be a part of the culinary world. There are lots of great job opportunities including being a chef, a manager, etc. There are also opportunities to work for big companies like Kraft and have a great, well paying job.
What else are you working on?
I’m very excited about this new season of the show. I have some new restaurants I am opening. I’m also developing some products including olive oils, barbecue sauce, vinaigrettes, and spices.
Chef Garvin mentioned that he hopes to visit Toronto soon. Perhaps for an episode on the next season of Road Trip?
- “Best of Georgia” – Tuesday, May 14th at 9pm ET/6pm PT
- “San Francisco” – Premiering Tuesday, May 21st at 9pm ET/6pm PT
- “Nashville” – Tuesday, May 28th at 9pm ET/6pm PT
- “Oakland” – Tuesday, June 4th at 9pm ET/6pm PT
Season two of Road Trip with G. Garvin premieres tonight, Tuesday, May 7th at 6pm (PST) on the Cooking Channel.
Boulart produces a bread that combines traditional, artisan bread making with modern convenience. Boulart carefully selects its ingredients, specifically top-quality unbleached, untreated flour, filtered water, and sea salt. They then utilize a long fermentation time, which allows the dough to fully develop nuanced flavors and aromas. The result is a fabulous looking bread with a crisp, golden crust, a moist and tender honeycombed crumb, and a delicate, inviting taste.
Chef Rodney Bowers’, Hey Meatball, is located at 719 College St. Located at Crawford & College in the heart of Toronto’s little Italy, Hey Meatball! boasts all Farm-to-table ingredients, sourcing everything offered to customers within a 100 miles radius. Also try their natural sodas and soft serve ice-cream! Daily hand made pastas are also available as side dishes as well as vegan options. Make sure to check out his other restaurant Hey!, located at 89 Roncesvalles with a more of a sit down feel (think less meatball sandwiches, and more salads, pasta and meat).
Food on Film, the TIFF Bell Lightbox subscription series offers food-lovers an interactive platform to connect their culinary love with great cinema. The second season of Food on Film series has brought together chefs, food experts and film lovers to enjoy the best of culinary cinema and conversation. Each month series host Annabelle Waugh, Food Director of Canadian Living magazine, welcomes a celebrated guest from the culinary world to discuss the intersections of cinema, culture and gastronomy. Food on Film screenings take place Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. We recently spoke with Jason Bangerter, Executive Chef of Luma and the original host of TIFF’s Food on Film.
Chef Jason Bangerter is carrying on the Luma tradition of a food & wine pairing for the TIFF Food on Film series. Chef Bangerter will be creating his own culinary interpretations inspired by the films in the series, and offering these creations for purchase exclusively at Luma. He shared with us his recipe for Blinis Demidoff inspired by last year’s screening of Babette’s Feast. View the full recipe on foodea.com, or download the recipe card here.
Upcoming guests and films include:
- April 24 — Aldo Sohm (chef sommelier at New York City’s Le Bernardin) on Sideways
- May 15 — Anita Stewart (food activist and first Canadian to earn a Master of Arts in gastronomy) on Food Inc.
- June 19 — Kent Kirshenbaum (NYU chemistry professor who uses science to experiment with cuisine) on El Bulli: Cooking in Progress
Single tickets are now available. $35 for adults, and $28 for students and seniors. To purchase, visit tiff.net/subscriptionseries.
Follow Chef Jason Bangerter on twitter @chefbangerter.
Jason’s drive for gastronomic excellence flourished, earning him a much sought-after position as assistant to John Higgins, the captain of Culinary Team Canada. This role also led him to a short stint at Paris’ Hotel Le Meridian Montparnasse.
He soon headed overseas permanently to join the brigade at Mosimann’s in London. Under Anton Mosimann, one of London’s leading chefs, Jason quickly rose through the ranks joining the opening teams for the Swissôtel Berlin in Germany and later Château Mosimann in Olten, Switzerland.
Upon returning to London, Jason often assisted at Mosimann Academy, where he taught alongside Chef Mosimann. Eager to continue his own learning, he spent free time as a stagiaire in the city’s top restaurants, such as Marco Pierre White’s Drones, Terence Conran’s the Orrery, Jean George’s Vong and Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire. Jason was next appointed Chef de Cuisine at the Kulm Hotel in the Swiss Italian Alps, where he was responsible for the hotel’s private dining club Dracula.
In February 2002, he returned to Toronto, joining the team at Auberge du Pommier. Long hailed as one of the city’s best restaurants, Bangerter committed to raising the bar even higher. His efforts paid off, earning the restaurant numerous awards and distinctions, including Restaurant of the Year by Post City Magazines, 5th place ranking by the Zagat Survey and Best Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year by Where Toronto Magazine.
In 2010 Jason’s success at Auberge du Pommier earned him the position of Executive Chef of Oliver & Bonacini’s two new restaurants at the TIFF Bell Lightbox: O&B Canteen, a casual street side market café, and Luma, a more upscale lounge and dining room on the second level. Since opening, Luma has been named one of North America’s Top Ten New Restaurants by Frommer’s Travel Guide, as well as one of Toronto’s top ten by local food reviewer James Chatto, and O&B Canteen has become one of the most frequented restaurants of the King West theatre district.
This Sunday April 14, 2013, Jason and the team at Luma will be hosting A Sustainable Evening with Ocean Wise and Mission Hill. The event will feature a multi-course tasting dinner by Chef Jason Bangerter, with wine pairings by Mission Hill as well as a pre-dinner reception. Sustainably harvested seafood will be provided by Steve Johansen of Organic Ocean (Ocean Wise certified). Tickets are $150 and are still available at lumaoceanwise.eventbrite.com.
Jason is passionate about food and aside from his duties at Luma, he loves getting people excited about great food. Frequently, he can be found participating in events like Death Row Meals Olde Hunters’ Feast, TIFF’s Food On Film Subscription Series, as well as giving back to the community through teaching, cooking demos, culinary tours and more.
Follow Chef Jason Bangerter on twitter @chefbangerter.
Luma, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 2nd Floor, 330 King Street West, 647.288.4715, oliverbonacini.com.
Hours: Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11:45am-3:00pm / Dinner, Monday-Saturday, 5:00pm-11:00pm