"I wanted to be a chef from when I was three years old. I figured out that the best way to eat the food that I wanted was to learn how to make it. My grandfather used to own restaurants and bakeries, my dad had a restaurant in the Netherland Antilles and all my aunts and uncles on that side of the family ran catering companies and restaurants in Trinidad. This familial culinary history makes food a family legacy for me. It’s in my blood.
At Twist by Roger Mooking I’ve taken these authentic culinary experiences to create a menu of globally inspired comfort food. It’s fresh, healthy food that is made from scratch. We use North American comfort food as a fulcrum, adding in flavours from all the places I travel. Our buttermilk fried chicken, for example, is finished with a Japanese spice mix, crispy Chinese basil or a Southeast Asian lime mayo. These little tweaks use creativity to make food approachable, but international.
In the making the menu, I wanted the whole experience to feel comfortable and warm. I selected everything from the glassware and TV locations, down to how the napkins and cutlery are laid out. One of our driving philosophies is to treat everyone like your grandmother. Everyone loves their grandmother, so we treat every customer like we would our own grandmother. I want every part of the experience that we create to invoke emotions of comfort and feeling at home.
Making food has always been an emotional thing to me. If somebody was visiting, I would always find out what food they like, because that’s a way to show love. Even beyond food, creating things is so important to me because I think it’s a magical aspect of being human, using your creative power. Curiosity drives a creative person and you should indulge it. Making music, making food—I’m always indulging my creativity and trying to fulfill my own sense of curiosity."
- Roger Mooking, Executive Chef, Twist by Roger Mooking
Roger’s album Eat Your Words is out May 15.