Chef and soulful musician Roger Mooking loves experimenting with exotic ingredients and discovering unique flavor combinations in his inventive cooking. Distinctive ingredients are the focus of his Cooking Channel show, Everyday Exotic, but they are also the inspiration behind many of the dishes served at his restaurants, Kultura Social Dining and Nywood, in downtown Toronto. This third-generation restaurateur and chef incorporates unusual flavors into everyday recipes, proving once and for all that variety truly is the spice of life.
Mooking began his formal training at the George Brown Culinary Management Program, where he earned a Top Student Honors diploma. Roger continued his training at Epic Dining Room in Toronto's renowned Royal York Hotel before consulting on several food and beverage openings. His acclaimed restaurants in Toronto have earned him a reputation as one of the city's premier chefs.
Mooking's culinary philosophy is built on the perfect execution of globally inspired culinary traditions. When he's not cooking, he is recording music: Mooking is the creator of Soul Food, a unique food and music project. For this chef, music and the epicurean world are seamless—one feeds the body; the other, the soul.
Q: How did you become interested in pursuing a culinary career? What was your inspiration?
A: I was inspired by my family and by the desire to create things. Also, the food world is one where I can never learn everything there is to know in one lifetime—being guaranteed to learn something new every single day is inspiring.
Q: How would you describe your food philosophy and cooking style?
A: My food philosophy is all about experimenting. I never cook the same thing twice unless it's for a restaurant set menu. I like to balance out the best of what is fresh and local with global ingredients and cooking techniques in a way that is approachable.