By Jackie Fender
Canadian chef, and super approachable Mooking is a man of many talents. Mooking is the co-owner and executive chef of several fine-dining establishments in Canada. He's authored a cookbook. Hell, the man even has an R&B album! Not to mention being host to several cooking shows, Everyday Exotic, Heat Seekers (with co-host Aaron Sanchez also on the popular Chopped series) and Man Fire Food. In each endeavor he seems to genuinely have a good time.
"I like to make things whether it's a dish, a cookbook or an album," Mooking told me over the phone. "Being able to do the two things I love so much is quite a blessing."
The Cooking Channel's Man Fire Food is exactly what it sounds like. Mooking visits locations throughout the nation discovering different ways that man (and woman) use fire to cook. Open flame, smokers, BBQing and other options use the primal element to infuse flavor into our feasts. While in Olympia, Mooking and crew visited with the Nisqually Tribe for a MFF episode centered on seafood feasts.
"It was really amazing to get a sense of what happens locally there," said Mooking. "The Nisqually Tribe has been cooking this certain way for centuries and generations and preparing these king salmon. They catch them from this body of water, skin them and smoke them over a fire. They let us in on that world, which was really special."
They also prepared clams, mussels and oysters underground--much like a clambake.
Celebrity chef Roger Mooking makes his living by giving cooking instructions and inspiration to millions of viewers through his three TV shows on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. But last summer, it was Mooking who got the cooking lesson when he spent a day with members of the Nisqually tribe as they cooked salmon and other local seafood.
By Craig Sailor
That visit will be broadcast on Tuesday as part of Mooking’s new show “Man Fire Food” on the Cooking Channel. In the show, Mooking travels the country discovering inventive ways to cook with fire.
What did you learn during your visit with Nisqually tribal members Reuben Wells Sr., Reuben Wells Jr., John H. Scott IV and Hweqwidi Hanford McCloud?
They really welcomed us and they showed us all the secrets they’ve been holding on to dearly for centuries and generations. I got a little insight into their tribal history and their food history: how they fish, their techniques, what it means to them as a culture and a people.
I understand they showed you how to roast king salmon on hazelnut branches over an open fire.
They put it in the ground over the fire and it gets kissed by the smoke. It’s really good. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that technique. It’s all stuff they harvest locally on their reserve land (oysters, mussels and clams). They brought it all in and cooked it up.