Everyday Exotic

Review: Everyday Exotic, the Cookbook

I’ve said more than once that in my opinion Everyday Exotic is the best stand-and-stir show on TV.  It’s entertaining and educational; most food shows today are neither.  Host Roger Mooking is a charming and (dare I say?) hip guide on this culinary voyage.  So you have to know I was pumped when Roger told me about his first cookbook, Everyday Exotic, the Cookbook.

EECB Review: Everyday Exotic, the CookbookFollowing the success of the hit television series Everyday Exotic, Mooking and his producer Allan Magee bring together the most delicious of his 52 inspiring episodes. Using the concept of one main exotic ingredient, Roger demystifies the ingredient through its flavour and aroma, empowering the reader to embrace them in their cooking. Mix in your standard midweek recipes and you have new classics that your entire family will love.

He calls this his obedient ingredient.  In fact, obedient ingredient was one of the names considered when the show was still in it’s planning stages.  The first time I watched the show I noticed Roger saying that phrase and I thought, “It’s catchy I wonder what it means.”  Immediately afterwards I thought, “It’s a rhyme; he’s a rapper.”

Then I turned to the section of the book entitled obedient ingredient and read this, “The notion behind the Obedient Ingredient is that the ingredient that was once out of reach becomes obedient once you learn to master it.”  A light bulb came on.  I finally got it.  Then I read on, “And it rhymes.  And I’m a rapper.  And sometimes it’s just that simple.”  You can see why I’m such a fan.

The book itself is an easily accessible reference that acts as a greatest hits of Mooking’s best recipes from his popular Cooking Channel series.  The formatting makes the recipes easy to follow and each includes a thorough explanation of the obedient ingredient.  There are twelve chapters that run the gamut from comfort classics to drinks and desserts.  Additionally there are instructions for building your own exotic pantry.  It’s great food porn, too.  Everyday Exotic, the Cookbook is perfect for the advanced home cook who is looking to up their game.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Roger Mooking HERE.

Cooking Channel’s Big September Premieres

Cooking Channel September Highlights:
Series Premiere of Easy Chinese: San Francisco
Plus: Three Specials and an On-Air/Online Theme Week

Ching He HuangNEW YORK – August 18, 2011 –This September, Cooking Channel heads to the West Coast to get a taste of authentic Chinese cuisine in its original series Easy Chinese: San Francisco hosted by popular Cooking Channel face, Ching He-Huang. Ching shares tips on how to prepare tongue-tantalizing Chinese dishes including at-home recipes for takeout favorites and traditional dishes with a modern twist.

Cooking Channel also serves up three specials including Cooking School Confidential, which takes viewers behind-the-scenes to see what it takes to survive real-life trials at Johnson and Wales Culinary School Sunday, September 4th at 8pmET/5pmPT, and A Culinary Coup: The Launch of Ku De Ta follows Chef Dan Segall in Singapore as he puts together a staff and a menu in only two weeks airing Sunday, September 18th at 8pmET/5pmPT.

Cooking Channel also dives into the lives of individuals that obsessively hoard food in its special Food Hoarders premiering Sunday, September 25th at 8pmET/5pmPT. Celebrating food from around the world, Cooking Channel offers “Go Global” week Sunday, September 18th – Saturday, September 24th from 8-11pmET/5-8pmPT, and CookingChannelTV.com complements with ‘World’s Fare’, an online package dedicated to showcasing authentic cuisine from around the world.

Cooking Channel gets back on the road in September for its cross-country frozen treat tour celebrating its first birthday, join the fun and track the truck to a city near you. Be a part of the Cooking Channel conversation on Twitter and Facebook, and share photos of your favorite frosty, frozen ice cream treats on CookingChannelTV.com.


Easy Chinese: San Francisco– Saturday, September 10th at 1pmET/10amPT
Cooking Channel explores Chinese cuisine with a contemporary, regional spin in the new 13-episode, half-hour original series Easy Chinese: San Francisco Ching-He Huang. Armed with her friendly style and vast knowledge, Ching is on a mission to show viewers how to prepare mouth-watering Chinese dishes with local, readily-available ingredients – using San Francisco’s vibrant Chinese community as a backdrop for the myriad options available. From Bay area outdoor markets and traditional noodle houses to San Francisco’s colorful Mission District, Ching hunts for the best fresh ingredients in each episode and then provides how-to tips to help any home cook prepare delicious, traditional dishes with a modern twist.

·         Premiering Saturday, September 10th at 1pmET/10amPT – “Wok Skills & Simple Stir Fries”
Ching brings her skills to Chinatown’s Wok Shop where she picks out, seasons and cleans a wok. After sharing a meal with the shop’s legendary owner, she heads to the Berkeley Bowl grocery store to pick up Chinese ingredient basics and whip up more quick dishes in her brand new wok. Recipes: Ginger, Grated Carrot, Sesame Green Beans; Three Cup Chicken with Garlic Spinach; Vegetable Lettuce Wraps; Yangzhou Fried Rice
·         Premiering Saturday, September 17th at 1pmET/10amPT –“Fast Food and Street Food”
Ching takes fast and easy food to the streets with treats like Paper-Wrapped Crispy Salt-and-Pepper Chicken. She teams up with the Chairman Bao Bun food truck to serve up grub the heart of San Francisco. Then, she scouts a prime spot for a friend-filled picnic beside the breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge. Recipes: Paper Wrapped Crispy Salt and Black Pepper Chicken; Braised Pork Belly Bao with Peanuts; Golden Gate Chili Ribs; Jasmine-Lemon Iced Tea
·         Premiering Saturday, September 24th at 1pmET/10amPT – “Sichuan Spice”
Father and daughter restaurateurs, Kathy and Peter Fang, invite Ching to their restaurant for a Szechuan feast. Inspired by the duo, she brings the heat with her own Szechuan-Style Crispy Shrimp. Then, at the San Jose Farmer’s Market, she gets her hot chili on with Kung Pao Beef and a spicy chocolate pick-me-up. Recipes: Mapo Dofu; Szechuan-Style Crispy Shrimp; Kung Pao Beef; Spiced-Chocolate Covered Fresh Fruit.

“Go Global” – Sunday Sept 18th – Sept 24th from 8-11pmET/5-8pmPT
Cooking Channel celebrates global cuisines and exotic locations with a full week of premiere and returning specials and episodes of fan-favorite Cooking Channel shows.

To complement the on-air programming, CookingChannelTV.com launches “World’s Fare” in mid-September, a complete collection of the best recipes, menus, tips and videos from cuisines around the globe. Dive into Italian favorites, Vietnamese specialties, Indian spices and curries, Chinese wok dishes, easy French fare, and the very best from the Caribbean. It’s a global party, with the best, most authentic dishes from around the world.


Cooking School Confidential – Premiering Sunday, September 4th at 8pmET/5pmPT
Cooking School Confidential follows four students as they pursue their culinary dreams at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. The students include a mother of three with a full-time job, an Army veteran hoping to win an internship at the prestigious Alain Ducasse Culinary School in France, a forty-something chasing her passion for food and a professional cyclist attempting to juggle racing and school.

A Culinary Coup: The Launch of Ku De Ta – Premiering Sunday, September 18th at 8pmET/5pmPT
Singapore’s skyline has been transformed. The Marina Bay Sands resort now towers
over the city, and perched on top, Singapore’s most exciting new signature restaurant is slated to open. With only weeks to go, there’s no staff – just one man: Executive Chef Dan Segall, who will form a team and menu entirely from scratch. The clock is ticking, but Ku De Ta must open on time.

Stuffed: Food Hoarders – Premiering Sunday, September 25th at 8pmET/5pmPT
This special profiles the lives of three individuals that obsessively hoard food to debilitating degrees.


Brunch @ Bobby’s
Premiering Saturday, September 3rd at 2pmET/11amPT – “A Royal Brunch”
Premiering Saturday, September 10th at 2pmET/11amPT – “Brunch on the Go”
Premiering Saturday, September 24th at 2pmET/11amPT – “Brunch Americana”

Everyday Exotic
Premiering Saturday, September 3rd at 12:30pmET/9:30amPT – “Jerusalem Artichoke”
Premiering Saturday, September 10th at 12:30pmET/9:30amPT – “Tahini”
Premiering Saturday, September 17th at 12:30pmET/9:30amPT – “Pistachio”
Premiering Saturday, September 24th at 12:30pmET/9:30amPT – “Salt Cod”

Premiering Tuesday, September 6th at 9pmET/6pmPT – “Bar Food”
Premiering Tuesday, September 13th at 9pmET/6pmPT – “Sugar”
Premiering Tuesday, September 20th at 9pmET/6pmPT – “Greek”
Premiering Tuesday, September 27th at 9pmET/6pmPT – “Las Vegas”

Kelsey’s Essentials
Premiering Saturday, September 3rd at 2:30pmET/11:30amPT – “Indoor BBQ”
Premiering Saturday, September 10th at 2:30pmET/11:30amPT – “Small Plate Party”

The Perfect 3
Premiering Saturday, September 3rd at 4pmET/1pmPT – “Chicken”
Premiering Saturday, September 10th at 4pmET/1pmPT – “Sandwiches”
Premiering Saturday, September 17th at 4pmET/1pmPT – “Potato”
Premiering Saturday, September 24th at 4pmET/1pmPT – “Exotic”

United Tastes of America
Premiering Tuesday, September 6th at 10pmET/7pmPT – “Chicken Wings”
Premiering Tuesday, September 13th at 10pmET/7pmPT – “Noodles”
Premiering Tuesday, September 27th at 10pmET/7pmPT – “Beer”

Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day
Premiering Saturday, September 3rd at 3pmET/12pmPT – “Mexican Make Ahead”
Premiering Saturday, September 10th at 3pmET/12pmPT – “Make it Work”
Premiering Saturday, September 17th at 3pmET/12pmPT – “Fresh Start”
Premiering Saturday, September 24th at 3pmET/12pmPT – “Dinner and Dessert”

7 Questions with Roger Mooking

7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.

The Cooking Channel (aka Food Network 2) debuted last year to a good deal of fanfare from parent company Scripps Networks.  From what I have seen so far, the new kid on the block is a force to be reckoned with.  Some familiar FN stars have found a place to truly shine.  Take for instance Aida Mollenkamp who’s stand-and-stir Ask Aida was at times awkward while her new food/travel show FoodCrafters is polished and sleek.

Several Food Network: Canada stars have also found an American home on the Cooking Channel as well.  Last year I was lucky enough to speak with David Roger Mooking of Everyday Exotic and Heat SeekersRocco host of David Rocco’s Dolce Vita.  I also got a little phone time with the gorgeous gastro-Guidette herself Nadia G. of Bitchin’ Kitchen.  Another FN: Canada arrival is Roger Mooking, host of Everyday Exotic (my vote for the best stand-and-stir on TV today) and co-host of the new Food Network hit Heat Seekers.

Heat Seekers is part food/travel series and part cop-buddy film.  Or as Food Network puts it, “For chefs Aarón Sanchez and Roger Mooking, Heat Seekers is a tongue-testing odyssey to discover the most deliciously spicy food across the country — and to figure out why these dishes are so fun to eat.”  I love this show.

Mooking is an anomaly within the cosmos of TV chefs; he’s an accomplished musician.  I don’t mean accomplished in the way that I gigged away the 90’s in Nashville’s underground rock scene.  I don’t even mean an accomplished musician as in Emril Legasse who is good enough on a trap-set to make a comfortable living.  I mean accomplished as in award winning.

Mooking won a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for his work with the R&B group Bass is Base and their album Memories of the Soul Shack Survivors.  He’s been apart of three Much Music Video Awards to boot.  I feel quite confident in saying that Roger Mooking is the only person in history to both jam with James Brown and battle Michael Symon in Kitchen Stadium.

Cooking is a Mooking family tradition going back three generations and as a result Roger is first and foremost a chef.  By developing a culinary philosophy built on perfect execution of globally inspired culinary traditions, Chef Mooking has become one of the most respected chefs in the Great White North so now it’s time for America to get to know him.  To help, Roger answers 7 Questions:

Aarón Sanchez and Roger Mooking of Heat Seekers1.  You have an extremely diverse ancestry, how has it helped you as a chef?

It is who I am.  All of my creativity is framed by my background and family history.  As a chef it gave me a very broad jumping off point when it came time to create and develop new dishes.  Plus my family are very harsh culinary critics, if it’s good they will say so.  If it’s bad they look at you like “Get outta here with that ****.”

2. How does being a celebrity in Canada differ from being a celebrity in the States?

I don’t think about celebrity.  I create things that I love everyday and I realize that you’re hot and your not.  So it’s about touching people, which is the same all over the world.  Celebrity is a by product of touching many people.  I am blessed by being able to create things and share them.

3. Little is known in the States about the food scene in Toronto – can you describe what visitors should expect?

Toronto is a particularly culturally diverse city and although there are specific neighborhoods like India, Little Italy and such those areas are not exclusively populated by those people at all.  This I have discovered is very unique from having traveled a bit and I’ve come to appreciate this about the city.

There is also a great wine region and farming community in the Toronto area so the access to market fresh produce, meats and wines is also fantastic.  And because the demand from the immigrant communities is so great for their indigenous foods we also get a very wide variety of ingredients from all over the world in the most common of grocery stores not to mention specialty grocers.  I really feel that Everyday Exotic was born of this community and my cultural background.  The restaurant scene is as vibrant as New York but on a smaller scale.  People in Toronto are serious about their food.

4. You’re a very busy man, how does a show like Heat Seekers fit into your lifestyle?

I grew up eating hot sauce sandwiches with butter as a kid.  It was a favorite sandwich – bread, butter and hot sauce.  So it fits into my life very naturally.  The scheduling side of it is a challenge but I’m committed to it so we make it work.  My team is the best on the planet and they keep me in line and able to focus on what I’ve gotta do.

5. Were you and Aaron friends before shooting began on Heat Seekers?

Certainly in another lifetime.  The first time we met I felt he was my brother.  We get along very well and have a lot of respect for one another, not to mention a lot of jokes.

6.  Both of you strike me as pranksters, are there any practical jokes when you’re on the road?

Not ones that I can share here.  Hehehe.  But yes we have a lot of fun when we are shooting.

7. You’ve conquered Canada and you are taking the US by storm – what’s next for Roger Mooking?

I’ve only touched on about 10% of what is lying in my brain.  There is still a lot of stuff I would like to do and you will have to wait for it as it comes together.  We’ll save it for the next interview.  Deal???


Now that you know Roger Mooking the chef better, groove out to Roger Mooking the musician.  For more on Roger check out his web site HERE.

She is so beautiful. Wow.

WTVC Exclusive: Food Network Star Winner Jeff Mauro

Food Network Star 7castSome ten weeks ago the nation watched footage of 15 wannabe TV chefs meeting on the steps of world famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and each of us thought the same thing, which one is it?  Well, two and a half months later the mystery is solved, Jeff Mauro is the latest winner of Food Network Star.

Throughout the competition Jeff’s warm personality and quick wit were his calling card.  It was a gift that he rallied into a winning performance.  His POV, the Sandwich King is one that is long over due.  There are few things in life better than a well made sandwich.  This may be the perfect vehicle for Jeff’s particular skill set but will a show about sandwiches go over?

That’s exactly what Steve Cavendish of the Chicago Tribune asked Jeff just a few weeks ago.  His response?  “A lot of people’s sandwiches these days come from fast food chains,” Mauro said. “It’s bad meat. It’s bad bread. It’s questionable vegetables. Why not bring this stuff home and teach you the fundamentals? How to braise. How to roast. Fry. Grill. All while having a between-two-hands delicious meal.”

So just what do we know about Jeff Mauro?  This is what the Food Network site has to say, “After pursuing a career as a comedian in Los Angeles, Jeff switched gears to spend time doing what he loves most: cooking. His down-to-earth personality coupled with his comic relief make a great combo in the kitchen.”

Mauro’s stardom is no overnight success story.  He’s been working towards this goal for seven years.  That’s when he pulled up stakes and headed to LA to try and forge a new cooking show in his own image.  He attended the Hollywood Kitchen Academy (which is now Le Cordon Bleu) and even came dangerously close to achieving his TV show after meetings with Spike, MTV and Comedy Central.  But every time it looked like the door was opening it would close in his face.

“It was like, ‘it’s happening!’ And then L.A. was like, ‘Nope. It’s not happening. I’m Los Angeles, I win every time, you lose,'” he told Cavendish.  Frustrated Mauro headed back to the Windy City where he became the private chef at a Chicago corporate headquarters of a large mortgage company.  Three years later he sent an audition tape to Food Network Star.

“Jeff has the perfect mixture of strong culinary chops, a breakout personality, and boundless food passion – a true triple threat we value in our stars,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Programming and Production, Food Network. “Jeff’s humor, warmth and smart ideas to make sandwiches into satisfying meals make him a perfect addition to join the Food Network family.”

After struggling in the beginning of the competition Jeff put it all together on episode five, the Fourth of July episode.  He says, ” I pretty much maxed out my abilities and personality and it went over well.  I felt like I can be big and huge but I don’t think I ever want to go bigger than this.”

Jeff credits Guy Fieri with pulling him aside and giving him great advice, “He was the only judge who was like I want to talk to you privately.”  Fieri just told him matter-of-factly how to handle different situations and gave, “very sincere advice.  Not only on camera.  Off camera he was kind of like a buddy.  That was helpful because there’s a separation between the the finalists and judges.  They are proven and we are proving.”

Since Star wrapped in early June Jeff says he’s been living dual lives.  One working his old job in Chicago and the other doing covert assignments as a celebrity chef.  “Going to the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival out there.  Going to shoot my show which was obviously top secret.  Shooting the finale which was top secret.  Going and doing all of these things, in my mind, very large things then coming home and making a hundred point sandwiches.”

Jeff plans to stay in Chicago where he can spend time with his family, “My goal is to stay here always.  That’s the beauty of it; I can go shoot a show every three or four weeks and not have to uproot my entire existence to New York or LA.”  He then added, “And eventually shoot here when I’ve got a little clout, a little bargaining power.”

Jeff Mauro Food Network Star

How closely does Sandwich King resemble the show you conceived seven years ago during your time in LA?

Chef Jeff and Ali?  Very different; that was more of a party-based barbecue show where we would go to barbecues and record the hijinks, the people.  I wanted to provide a younger, I don’t know a more irreverent, party-based ride to cooking on TV

As fun as that was it doesn’t have any legs.  So it’s really different.  I’m still myself.  I might not be ripping from a bottle of Jack any more but it’s still me minus my other half, Ali and minus the party and all that.

Can you describe the elements of the perfect sandwich?

Well handled fresh bread.  Not just a loaf of French bread that you get at the bakery that’s pretty.  That’s taking that and taking it to the next level with buttering and griddling to temperature.  You want to start with that.  You want to make sure when you take your bites out from top to bottom there’s not a lot of resistance.  If there is resistance it’s good resistance like crunch or a great chew or crispness.  You know it’s all about paying attention to not only flavors but textures; I think that’s often overlooked in a sandwich.


My predictions – Susie gets a show on the Cooking Channel, Vic on Food Network. Whitney becomes a judge on Iron Chef/Chopped.  The Sandwich King premieres this Sunday at 11:30AM on the Food Network and the King’s reign will like be a long one.

Drop back by the site tomorrow and check it out as another new Food Network star, Roger Mooking (Everyday Exotic on the Cooking Channel, Heat Seekers on the Food Network) answers 7 Questions.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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