George Brown Chef School Alumni Roger Mooking

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Food Network Celebrity chef Roger Mooking wins 2012 Premier’s Award for Outstanding College Graduates

Winning the 2012 Premier’s Award for Creative Arts and Design is Roger Mooking's latest achievement in a multi-faceted career. Born in Trinidad to a family of restaurateurs, Roger grew up in the business. When the family relocated to Edmonton, he used the money he earned from working in his parents’ restaurants to make music at a local recording studio. Roger’s musical talent eventually led him to Toronto where he became a member of the Juno award-winning R&B group Bass is Base. After a successful musical career, he decided to return to his first love – cooking. “I wanted to be a chef from the age of three,” Roger says. “But even though I had plenty of kitchen experience I knew I had to learn more about the restaurant business itself.”

Roger credits George Brown’s rigorous Culinary Management program, which included preparing a 250-page restaurant concept, for giving him the full set of skills he needed to open and run top-rated restaurants in Toronto. “My time at George Brown also instilled the discipline you’ve got to have for a successful culinary career. After many years as a musician it was hard getting up for six am classes,” he laughs.

After he graduated from George Brown in 2001, Roger found immediate success as chef and co-owner of two award-winning Toronto restaurants – Kultura and Nyood. Then, in 2008, he developed Everyday Exotic, his own cooking show. Building on Everyday Exotic’s international popularity, Roger sold his restaurants and is now host of two additional TV shows, Man Fire Food and Heat Seekers, has released an award winning cookbook entitled Everyday Exotic and is currently working on a second solo album, having reconnected with his passion for music. “My dual roles as chef and musician are a perfect combination,” explains Roger. “One feeds the body, the other feeds the soul!”

Despite his demanding schedule, Roger remains highly involved with George Brown – he is the current chair of the Program Advisory Committee for his program, a responsibility he takes seriously. “The committee plays a vital role in keeping the college up to date with what is going on in the industry,” he explains. “We're continually ramping up the program to create better students, who will be able to adapt and thrive as the market becomes more competitive.”

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