Recently, I got the chance to interview Roger Mooking, a man who has inspired me on social media as well as television. He has a life filled with experiences and he was gracious enough to share with us, so we can share with you.
You have been making quite a name for yourself. Can you share some of your background with us?
I was born in Trinidad and came to Canada at 5 years old and have lived in Canada ever since. I currently live in Toronto. I’ve spent all of my life surrounded by entertainment through food and music, both personally and professionally. Through a myriad of twists and turns, I’ve been fortunate to be in the right place at the right times to have a very storied career filled with great leaps, many lessons, some recognition, all driven by a healthy curious nature that is ceaselessly evolving. Over the years, I’ve opened many restaurants, made many albums, and have been a part of hundreds of episodes of television shows and still have lots more to do.
When did you discover your passion for culinary arts?
I wanted to be a chef at 3 years old, I just knew. I also had a passion for music and entertaining from as early as I can remember. I liked to eat good food and discovered the best way to eat what you like is to make it yourself. One of my earliest memories is standing at the kitchen counter on a chair folding dumplings with my family.
How does your Canadian and Trinidadian background influence you and your dishes?
My family and my lineage are very diverse and that’s what I know. I grew up in a house that would eat meals from a different culture for every meal of the day and I thought everyone ate that way until I went to their house and learned otherwise. I don’t really think about it much, it ’s just the way I am naturally and the food I make is reflective of the way my brain fires. Every human is different and I embrace that, rather than trying to fit into anyone’s expectations of what I should be doing.
You have music, television and cooking experience, what’s next?
I also love reading and learning about history, anthropology, science, spirituality, health, business, architecture, art, and a myriad of things. I also have a very unusual appreciation for landscape design and design in general. Really, I just fill my brain with things and often those things seep into the music or the food. Making things is my passion, who knows what I may make next! I’m most excited about following the path and venturing off regularly, to test just how wide that path I’m on really is. My belief is the grass and the field next to the path is just as pivotal to the yellow brick road itself.
What inspires you when creating dishes?
On any given day, I may be inspired by any given thing. You may not think that I’m thinking of the Pyramids of Giza while I’m making any given thing, but that is often the case, and in some way that Giza thinking will end up in the finished product somehow. For example, I may draw the measures of a recipe around one-thirds, related to the triangulation of the pyramids or the structure itself when I go to plate a particular dish. I never know what will inform any thing, it’s about living in the moment and filling the space…or not.
Tell us about your entrance into the world of television.
I’d been doing television for many years appearing on music and award shows for many years before doing food and lifestyle TV. When the food stuff came along, I was the reluctant participant and made several attempts to sabotage that trajectory but it kept finding me and eventually I co-created a television series called Everyday Exotic that launched my food TV career. Since Everyday Exotic, I’ve been the part of and have hosted a variety of different great television series that I’m proud to have played a part in.
What do you feel you add to the world?
Hopefully, I can inspire other people to go after what they want in life. I think we all have a special skill or talent that we all have to discover and nourish that is necessary to the beautification of the world around us. Maybe people can see the spark in themselves through my experience and inspire them to spark someone else down the road. I just want to make things and spread