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One-on-One with Chef Roary MacPherson

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Known as “Mr. Newfoundland Food,” chef Roary MacPherson earned this title by being a strong and longtime supporter of local food. His passion for cooking has led him on some amazing adventures and won him awards. Roary is a five-time presenter for the James Beard Foundation. He won gold, silver and bronze at the Gold Medal Plates competition in 2015 as well as Best Integration of Newfoundland Food, and he was the King of Cod champion in 2013 and 2015.

Now working at The Wilds in Holyrood, Roary has created a special menu for Food Day Canada where he celebrates local food and his parents’ delicious stews.

If you’re wondering why his face is familiar; Roary appeared on Chopped Canada and won a “redemption challenge!”

Do you have a lucky charm in the kitchen?

Yes, a picture of my wife and son.

What’s the last thing you burned?

A pot of corn lobster bisque!

Your favourite spice?

Cumin.

What makes you “kitchen angry”?

Indifference

Latest flavour combination you discovered?

Cumin and Mt. Scio savory in turkey soup.

What’s your most extravagant purchase?

An Ipad.

Favourite song in the kitchen?

Escape at hand for the travelling man from Tragically Hip.

What’s your comfort food?

Beef stew.

What’s your most essential tool?

The Vitamix blender.

If you could change anything in the food industry, what would it be?

A better pay for all chefs!

Favourite smell in the kitchen?

Roasted turkey.

What’s your bad habit?

Snacking!

What do you admire in other chefs?

Dedication and acceptance of others.

What or who is your greatest inspiration?

My parents – John and Molly MacPherson.

The dish you are the most proud of?

Those little toutoun bites – classic Newfoundland food. Simple and it tastes fantastic!

What’s your end of the world menu?

My mothers homemade mac and cheese, topped with croutons and bacon.

Your favoUrite advice or quote?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Things still need to happen and getting upset does not fix it.

What is the one ingredient that you would never buy if it is not produced locally?

Newfoundland cod fillet.

What is your favourite local drink?

Dominion Ale.

What is Canadian food to you?

Canadian food is food that is made with great ingredients and that is not over complicated, from the area you live in.

What makes you proud of the Canadian terroir?

Growing up in highlands Newfoundland, as the youngest of 14 children raised on a farm so that when we needed vegetables, meat or foraged fruits we would just go and get them from our garden and land. This was long before it was a trend, this was the way we lived every day and I would not have changed that for all the money in the world. But this is a similar story throughout the country, from B.C. to Newfoundland, all provinces and territories. It’s really what helped us become who we are.

Why do you participate in Food Day Canada?

I believe in my province and country and I am fiercely proud to live and create here, it’s the time when we all should form a  large community circle, everyone face inward, then turn right and give ourselves a collective pat on the back for what we do in this country every day.