Chef Roger Mooking: Tasting and Creating a Canadian Mosaic — Kenzie Osborne

Picture via Roger Mooking

Story Previously Published on Kenzieosborne.com

Diversity. A word that’s been weaving its way in and out of every conversation lately — and it’s one that’s so important to appreciate and recognize in everything we do. Canada is a mosaic. A beautiful painting of seemingly endless identities, races, genders, and personalities. It’s sometimes difficult to immerse yourself in each culture and step into the shoes of your neighbour. That is, until you taste their food…

Tasting A Bit-Of-This And A-Bit-Of-That

Yes, he was learning how to make curry goat, pancakes, and wontons all at the same time… His family was diverse — and they were embracing each n’ every flavour they possibly could. They were no stranger to learning about cultures and traditions — and they were excited by the different experiences that came with each one.

“Food is such a natural gateway to share information, pass along traditions, and learn about family history. It’s the one constant that brings everyone from all walks of life together. Every country is passionate about the food they offer — and when you’re given a plate of food that has been handled with such care and love, you can gain an appreciation and understanding of the one who served you.”

Hopping Right Into Their Neighbours’ Shoes

Bottom Line: They wanted to step into the shoes of each n’ every person that they met. Oh… And to clarify.. by “stepping into the shoes”, of course, I mean “gobbling up each n’ every plate of goodness served to them with love”.

“My family was super adventurous — we were always looking to try a new type of food or experience a new culture through the dishes we ate. My mom would go to the store and strike up a conversation with a Ukrainian from our town… I’d come home from school and there’d be some Ukranian 90yr old woman teaching my mum how to make perogies in our kitchen. It was a way for us to bond with our community and understand and appreciate the diversity that was around us.”

The eagerness to learn about new cultures allowed Chef Roger to not only develop an incredible palate, but also become extremely creative and appreciative in the kitchen.

A Worldly Menu

  • Breakfast: Dim Sum
  • Lunch: Roti Curry
  • Dinner: Perogies

I guess you could say that Chef Roger Mooking took a trip around the world each and every day — and the flavours and experiences he was exposed to are makin’ me a lil jealous…. His family was able to embrace the diversity of our country — and they certainly weren’t afraid to branch out and try something completely out-of-the-ordinary.

No Filters in the Culinary World

You’ve probably heard a bit-of-this and a-bit-of-that about the kitchen life. Long hours, low pay, stressful environment, and all that fun stuff… But what you don’t hear about is the love and the passion that every chef in the industry has. “It’s almost impossible to find someone who’s extremely passionate about food but doesn’t like to socialize and contribute to their community. The hospitality and culinary industry is so loving towards the community — it’s just who we are.”

Priority Number One: Share a Smile

“A lot of people in this world suffer from extreme food insecurity on a daily basis. They don’t have healthy food to go to school and they can’t nourish their brains and bodies… Food can truly improve lives — it’s something so simple, yet we’re failing to provide everyone with the nutrients they need to live their life to the fullest. There’s enough food on the planet for everyone — we’re just doing a poor job of managing it.”

Changing Lives with a Fresh Piece of Fish

It’s so sad to hear that something we toss out without a care is the same thing that brings an entire community so much joy, love, and light. The food we have in our world is plenty enough to feed each and every soul — but our carelessness and tendency to toss this-and-that in the garbage is preventing us from reaching our potential.

Looking at the appreciation of food from country to country is kind of telling of North America’s somewhat gluttonous society… If you travel to less-fortunate countries, you’ll see tables and tables of food — with nothing wasted, and EVERYTHING tasted. You’ll see families sitting together and bonding over a meal. Dishes are appreciated, ingredients are cared for, and food is something that makes a day truly special.

Take A Taste, and Dive Right In

In general, I think North America takes a bit of a backseat when appreciating the significance of food. We scarf down food on the way to work, toss out this-and-that because it looks “ugly”, buy in excess and waste without care, and opt for processed food made from machines rather than embracing what our country, land, and people have to offer.

Embracing Our Roots

Inspiring Change with Every Bite

“Food is of paramount importance. It opens a gateway to innovation, problem solving, creativity, companionship, and comradery. It winds its way into all aspects of life. Food is love. It’s that simple. It’s everything.”

A HUGE Thanks to Chef Roger Mooking!!

Check out chef Roger Mooking on his social media by clicking the links below (uhmm y’all have GOTTA check out his social media — the globally-inspired food that he’s whipping up is looking jaw-droppingly delishhhh!)

Originally published at https://kenzieosborne.com on July 3, 2020.

Founder of kenzieosborne.com, sharing stories “behind the plate” from chefs and home cooks across the world. Instagram @chefkenzieosborne. Twitter @Chef_Kenzie