Chef Roger Mooking has spent three seasons on the Cooking Channel, and he’s yet to prep a single slab of hamburger meat.
Why settle for the ordinary when you can savor lamb barbacoa or fresh corn tortillas toasted on a clay griddle?
Mooking’s “Man Fire Food” returns this month for its third season on the Cooking Channel. He’ll travel the country anew to find fire-based meals you won’t see at your uncle’s barbecue this summer.
“One of the biggest testaments to what the show is about … is that you don’t have to limit yourself to the tried and true things,” Mooking says. An episode of “Man Fire Food” is a step out of our culinary comfort zones.
The 13-episode season has Mooking heading to San Antonio, Texas and near historic Jamestown, Virginia for pulled pork sandwiches and a visit with a third-generation “ham master.” Mooking, who also co-hosts “Heat Seekers” on Food Network, says the new episodes find him settling in to the show’s creative demands.
“We’re out there just having fun … we don’t have to worry about the logistical details. We know the feel of the show,” he says.
That means stuffy chefs and bland personalities aren’t on the menu. The show’s research team knows the kind of people who will respond to Mooking, and those who can’t let loose on camera. What viewers will see are episodes where Mooking hunkers down with an archaeologist to cook like our predecessors. He loves talking about a mussels dish prepared on a piece of coal covered with pine needles.
“I never would have thought of that,” he says.
Mooking isn’t just a world-class chef. He released his own album, “Feedback,” last summer and loves sharing his creativity with others.
“That’s what my duty is on earth … spread the information that comes through me. Some chefs horde recipes. Me, it’s all just communal,” he says.
He’s also a firm but loving cook in the kitchen, whipping up exotic fare for both his conservative father-in-law and his four daughters.
“I take a hard line with them,” he admits. He may cook four sides for his children, blending a more traditional item in with three challenging dishes.
“This is perfectly good food, and you have to appreciate it or they’ll be missing out a lot,” he says.
Mooking recently made an exotic saltfish meal for his children, and he he expected to meet resistance along the way. The recipe was one he ate as a child, but he feared its sophisticated blend of onions, garlic and pimento peppers, served with either fried or roasted bread, might intimidate his children.
His daughters surprised their famous father.
“They devoured it,” he says.
“Man Fire Food” airs at 8 p.m. EST Tuesday nights on the Cooking Channel.
Here’s Mooking sharing his cooking philosophy (and plugging a separate cooking show).