Now here’s a creative (and tasty) innovation at the Juno Awards. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced yesterday that celebrity chef Roger Mooking will create the menu for the 2016 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards presented by SOCAN, to take place April 2 at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre.
The food presented at such industry (any industry) functions usually leaves a lot to be desired (the phrase ‘rubber chicken’ all too often applies). Not so here, for Mooking, the first-ever celebrity chef to curate the food for the event, will create an exclusive three-course meal for Canada’s music elite.
Details of the menu are a closely-guarded secret at present, but something spicy and Caribbean-flavoured is likely a safe bet.
As a Juno press release explains, “Roger Mooking has an insatiable passion for food, travel and music, and has earned an international reputation as one of North America’s premier chefs by developing a culinary philosophy built on the execution of globally inspired culinary dishes.The Trinidadian-born, Canadian-raised chef is no stranger to combining various cultural influences to new and exciting adventures. While Mooking’s earliest culinary influences are his family’s Chinese and Caribbean specialties, he has also trained under Japanese, French and Swiss German chefs over his 20-year culinary career.”
Mooking’s culinary chops have been featured in such internationally broadcast television series Everyday Exotic, Heat Seekers and Man Fire Food, and he has taken a seat at the judges table on the hit television show Chopped Canada. He currently operates a popular Toronto restaurant “Twist by Roger Mooking."
There is actually a very neat twist to Mooking’s participation in the 2016 Juno Awards. You see, he is actually a Juno Award winner. Music and cooking were his passions from an early age, and in the ‘90s he found a degree of Canadian music fame as a member of Toronto band Bass Is Base. Their eclectic r ‘n b meets funk meets acid jazz sound earned them a 1994 Juno for Best R&B/Soul Recording and radio hits “I Cry” and “Funkmobile.”
In that group, Mooking was known as MC Mystic, and he was also involved in such projects as The Maximum Definitive (Canadian Music Video Award-winners), MistaCronks, and Rogeraudio.
Bass Is Base didn’t have a long career, but members Chin Injeti and Ivana Santilli have gone on to solo success. Mooking’s career focus turned to cuisine, but he has continued to make music.
Back in 2008, he put out a debut solo album, aptly entitled Soul Food, and it showcased his vocal and songwriting chops. He followed that with 2013’s Feedback, an old school style hiphop album distributed by Warner Music. That record’s material was reprised in acoustic live off the floor style on 2014’s Feedback Acoustic.
A committed humanitarian, Mooking has worked extensively with World Vision Canada and Save the Children, and is a Second Harvest ambassador. A genuine good guy as well as a fine chef, his presence (and tasty presentations) at the Junos will be very welcome.