Roger Mooking

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 9: roughin’ it

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 2 | Episode 9

Last night’s episode featured two guest judges (Spencer Rice, a.k.a. Spenny, and Roger Mooking, a.k.a. MC Mystic), one topless chef (David Chrystian) and a whack of inept camping from city folk stranded out in the country. In other words, it was one of the novelty episodes—and with only six chefs standing at the end, we hope it’s the last. Of course, it featured its share of hijinks, so we’re not complaining. A rundown of what happened, including the shocking revelation of which folksy instrument Mark McEwan plays in his spare time, below.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 8: later, caterer

(Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 2 | Episode 8

Last night’s episode started with some reflections from the chefs back at their, um, glamorous condo. Xavier Lacaze was amazed that he’d made it so far. Ryan Gallagher thought that Curtis Luk had been sent home too early. Carl Heinrich missed his girlfriend (it was her birthday). And Jimmy Stewart? He revealed that he still lived with his mom. “A lot of people might find that embarrassing,” he said. “Home will always be there. This will not.” Was that a sly forshadowing by the producers of things to come? Read on to find out.

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Restaurants

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We engage in a little armchair speculation about who’s behind Chef Grant Soto

Who is the real “Chef Grant Soto”? The rumors started almost as soon as the oft-offensive and always entertaining Twitter account debuted on January 9. Despite the fact that there’s little hard evidence to go on (he told Amy Pataki that he’s “been around in the industry,” whatever that might mean), we thought we’d engage in some afternoon baseless speculation, selecting five possible culprits from Toronto’s chefs and foodies-about-town.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada reveals the rather stacked list of guest judges for season two

Remember last year when Chris Cosentino, one of the pioneers of the offal revival, visited Toronto for undisclosed reasons and claimed he could smell Chinatown from three blocks away? Or when Richard Blais, the molecularly inclined winner of Top Chef All-Stars, tweeted about the interesting tasting menu he’d just lunched on in Toronto? Or when Italian food legend Lidia Bastianich dropped in at All the Best Fine Foods? Turns out they weren’t here just because they love us—they’re all guest judges on season two of Top Chef Canada. Other notable judges and tasters include—and let us be clear, this is a bit of a spoiler for those who really like to keep their Top Chef Canada viewing pure—east-coast chef Michael Smith, season one host Thea Andrews (no hard feelings, we guess!), chef-about-town Matty Matheson of Parts and Labour, Leafs assistant captain Colby Armstrong, Susur Lee and his soon-to-be restaurateur sons Kai and Jet Bent-Lee, Toca’s Tom Brodi, Roger Mooking, Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelson, last season’s winner Dale MacKay and his adorable son Ayden, Keisha Chante, Rick the Temp Campanelli, Lorenzo Loseto of George, Charlie’s Burgers mastermind Franco Stalteri, husband-and-wife dynamos Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, Odd Bits author Jennifer McLagan, Vancouver Indian restaurateur and chef Vikram Vij and assorted competitors from last season, not to mention the somewhat bizarro guests we already told you about, like Alan Thicke and Mike Holmes. (Whew!) Not bad.

The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Luminato, Toronto Taste and six other events on our to-do list

One Thousand and One Nights director Tim Supple; Scaramouche’s Keith Froggett at last year’s Toronto Taste; and Glee’s Lea Michele

1. LUMINATO
Luminato No. 5 kicks off this Friday with a free concert at Metro Square featuring Beast and the Joel Plaskett Emergency. Other offerings we’re dying to see? Malcolm Gladwell’s talk at the Bluma Appel theatre and One Thousand and One Nights, a multilingual, interdisciplinary retelling of Shahrazad’s tales, by British director Tim Supple and Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh. June 10 to 19. luminato.com.

2. TORONTO TASTE
Second Harvest’s annual fundraiser isn’t just about raising the cash to support the organization’s good work (over the last 21 years, it has provided on the order of eight million meals to the city’s hungry, and each ticket purchased for this event funds 250 meals). It’s also one of the most anticipated foodie events of the year. Toronto’s culinary boldface names—Marc Thuet, Mark McEwan, Roger Mooking, Teo Paul, Paul Boehmer and more—whip up some seriously gourmet eats at and around the ROM, while this year’s host, Food Network’s Bob Blumer, promises to be extra entertaining. Although tickets are usually available at the door, they’re going fast this year. June 12. $250. Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, torontotaste.ca.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 9: the prez

Odd couple Roger Mooking and Thea Andrews at the quickfire challenge (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

TOP CHEF CANADA
Season 1 | Episode 9

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For any viewers who found the Milestones sponsorship in episode seven of Top Chef Canada unbearable, it’s probably a good thing you were too busy watching the Canucks get trounced by the Bruins to witness last night’s episode, which sometimes felt a bit like a glorified, 42-minute President’s Choice ad. Still, seeing the contestants squirm around the constraints of the challenge made for far more entertaining viewing than watching the obliteration of Canada’s Stanley Cup hopefuls. Plus, the editing in the introductory scenes didn’t manage to give away who would be eliminated—a definite improvement over some previous episodes. After the jump, our recap of how it all went down.

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Restaurants

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Roger Mooking sells stake in Nyood to focus on family, new album and cookbook

Toronto chef and R&B singer Roger Mooking is streamlining his life—again. In 2010 he sold his first-born restaurant, Kultura Social Dining, to nightclub impresario and actor Frank Nyilas, and a few weeks back he parted with his beloved Nyood, selling his share to yet another Clubland fixture, Mary Filigno (BLVD Room, Blurr).

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Food TV

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Roger Mooking—of Kultura, Nyood and Bass is Base fame—to take on Michael Symon on Iron Chef America

It seems MC Mystic is back. No, Toronto chef Roger Mooking isn’t reprising his role as rapper and percussionist in Juno-winning, ’90s R&B group Bass is Base. Instead, he will be riding his funkmobile over to Kitchen Stadium to take on Michael Symon on Iron Chef America later this May. Mooking is no stranger to food television—he’s the host of Food Network Canada’s Everyday Exotic—but the executive chef at Queen West’s Nyood will be facing some pretty high expectations following Montreal’s Chuck Hughes’ recent victory against Bobby Flay (Hughes was only the second Canadian chef ever to win on the series, Rob Feenie being the first). Symon has battled against two Canadians in the past, beating Ame’s Guy Rubino in season 6 and earning a draw against David Adjey in season 7. We’ll be tuning in to watch Mooking compete—and hoping for a little beat boxing and fake rain.

Coming up on Iron Chef: Pasternack, Todd Stein, Mooking [Eater]

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People

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After Roger Mooking backs out of Kultura, new owner promises redesign and hot-shot NYC chef

Chef Roger Mooking is simplifying his life. He and business partner Hanif Harji (they also own Nyood) have sold the chef’s first digs, Kultura Social Dining, to nightclub impresario Frank Nyilas—the fellow who owns Mink Night Club and Lounge, Lot 332, Tryst—and John Cabral, Nyilas’s step-father.

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People

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Food Network’s answer to the demand for cheaper, edgier programming: Canadians

American kids don’t seem to connect with Paula Deen and Emeril, so the owners of the U.S. Food Network is getting hip with the young ’uns by launching an all-new cooking channel—creatively titled the Cooking Channel—on May 31. What’s interesting here is that in an effort to find “grittier” and more “low-key” programming, the Cooking Channel is importing a wok-load of Canadians.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Menus trick diners into spending more, $26.50 brownie mix, the manliest cooking magazine

corks

The brownie mix from Bouchon

Amy Pataki taste-tests a $26.50 brownie mix from the bastion of expensive cooking supplies, Williams-Sonoma. The mix, modelled on Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery chocolate “corks,” fared better than the Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker mixes she also baked, but the brownies were a pain to make, and so buttery they stained the photographer’s table, and overall were not worth the money. A $26.50 jar of powder rarely is. [Toronto Star]
Globe restaurant critic Alexandra Gill turns the tables, so to speak, when she takes up a waitress gig at one of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants, Cioppino’s. Spoiler alert: it’s harder than she thought. Gill struggles with the Saturday shift, incorrectly calls the chef by his name (in kitchens, the chef is always referred to as “chef”) and has trouble memorizing the daily specials. Perhaps after these new life lessons, Gill will have a few memorable posts for the myriad angry waiter blogs. [Globe and Mail]

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Features

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Kulture Vulture

News trickles in that chef Claudio Aprile’s business partner at Colborne Lane, due to open in November, is none other than the extremely busy Hanif Harji, whose most recent enterprise, Kultura, opened officially two weeks ago. Assisting with Colborne Lane’s debut will be manager Terry Hughes and sommelier Kim Cyr, both of whom are currently resident at Kultura, along with veteran front-of-house guy and sommelier Kevin Wallace. Hughes and Wallace were also involved with the birth of Doku 15 earlier this year—that project the brainchild of Zark Fatah, who combined with Hanif Harji on Blowfish. Are you following this? I guess the point is that Harji and Fatah seem to be involved with a good many very cool restaurant-lounges these days and that Hughes et alia are the go-to guys if you want your new place to hit the ground running.

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