Recently, AMY SCOTT-LUNDY, Contributing Blogger here on PeeDeeFoodie.com had an opportunity to interview The Cooking Channel’s Roger Mooking who visited the Carolinas to tape the “Fire Trucks” episode of his hit series, MAN FIRE FOOD.
Born in Trinidad and growing up in a family of restaurateurs, Roger started cooking as a teenager and worked in various restaurants, catering companies, and hotels before opening his first restaurant, Kultura Social Dining in Toronto. In 2010, Roger left Kultura to pursue a career as a TV-star chef, hosting Everyday Exotic on the Food Network before his latest venture, MAN FIRE FOOD, which focuses on open flame cooking.
Roger’s passion for open flame cooking comes from his sense of community and culture.
“Fires and open flames take us back to Neanderthal cooking. Our ancestors congregated around fires, not in the kitchen,” Roger said. “Every culture has a tradition of cooking over a fire, and all these cultures came to America to settle, so fire is the focal point, the most common denominator in cooking.”
While in Charleston, Roger visited The Big Red Rig, a bright red, double-decker thirty-foot trailer with two massive smokers. The Big Red Rig specializes in pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, and travels the country for large catered events and barbeque competitions. He also visited Bone-In Artisan Barbecue on Wheels, a Columbia-based food truck serving up smoked meats on house-baked focaccia buns, smoked beef brisket, and even peach and blueberry cobblers.
“The Big Red Rig served classic South Carolina barbeque, rubbed in sauce and cooked, very simple and classic” he said. “Bone-In Artisan Barbecue served more complicated recipes with multiple steps. I was taken aback by the regionality of Southern barbeque and cuisine.”
Along with delicious barbeque, Roger also enjoyed the experience of visiting food trucks rather than simple brick-and-mortar restaurants.
When asked about the food truck experience, Roger replied, “You couldn’t film a show like MAN FIRE FOOD, without covering food trucks. They’re always doing engaging, interesting, things while moving around on a truck. It’s a demanding gig with lots of repairs and maintenance.”
He also commented that the wear and tear of food preparation equipment from travel, small space, and summer heat were other challenges food trucks face and overcome to provide delicious food at a low price point. However, Roger believes food trucks are here to stay.
“People know food trucks are casual and laid back, not as prima donna as a restaurant. The customer expectation is lower, and so is the price, but the quality food expectation is the same,” he said.
Of course, I also asked Roger about foods he enjoyed aside from Southern style barbeque. He loves brisket and Indian-style tandoor barbeque, as well as Argentinian barbeques. As far as other foods go, he also loves Vietnamese cuisine and Pho and could eat it every day.
“I go by mood. I’m a day-to-day person and love all kinds of food from all over the world. I love to try different things and don’t have a favorite food. Maybe my favorite is something I haven’t tried yet.”
MAN FIRE FOOD airs on The Cooking Channel (DirecTV Channel 232, DISH Network Channel 113, Time Warner Cable Channel 353). The episode “Fire Trucks”, which was taped in Charleston and Columbia, airs on October 20 at 10:30 PM, October 28 at 9:30 PM, and November 4 at 2:00 PM.
Editor’s Note: To the city and county leaders who read our blog, isn’t it about time we encourage food trucks in Florence? Looks like the publicity that they can generate for a local food scene is noticeable in Charleston and Columbia. Let’s get cooking, y’all.
About the AuthorNow a professional writer in the technology industry, Amy is a 2007 graduate of Francis Marion University, where she worked for the Public Relations office, tutored English and Math, and met (and married!) her husband, Clay Lundy. A native of Williamsburg County, Amy grew up in an area famous for basketball and barbecue. As a very short vegetarian, she never really fit in, but it still feels like home to her and probably always will. She grew up around a mom and aunts who were avid bakers, and she loves to bake in her spare time, especially healthier versions of family recipes. When not writing, Amy also enjoys traveling, painting and running local races.
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@PeeDeeFoodie he spent a lot of time in SC. We were one the very first episode of Man Fire Food last month.
Food trucks are huge here in Charleston :). A couple visit my husband's job each week. It's definitely a big plus for areas with a lot of workers who don't want to fight traffic on their precious lunch hours.