Carlo Rota, actor. Plays Morris O’Brian in 24; also stars as Yasir in the comedy series Little Mosque On The Prairie. He hosted the cooking show The Great Canadian Food Show.
Q: What is your fondest memory from your family kitchen?
A: My father (Dante Rota), before he retired, was a world-renowned chef. The interesting thing was my mother would never let him cook in our kitchen. Their interaction was amusing.
Q: What kitchen aromas bring back fond memories?
A: Anything that starts with olive oil in a hot skillet, finely chopped onions and herbs and crushed garlic. That smell brings back the fondest memory because I knew something delicious was in the works.
Q: Who is your favourite cook?
A: My mom and dad. They are both amazing. If I choose one I’d end up in hot water with the other.
Q: What is your favourite food to cook?
A: I really enjoy the process every time I cook. Particularly being an actor I find it very therapeutic for my mental health. I put as much thought and energy into cooking as I possibly can.
Q: How did the first meal you prepared turn out?
A: With dad being a chef and my asking questions and watching my mom cook, cooking became part of my being. When was 16, I cooked risotto for friends. They found it miraculous that I had this knowledge.
Q: What kitchen gadget can’t you live without?
A: I use heat-resistant tongs whenever I cook. It is also important to have a decent knife and great cookware.
Q: What rituals from your background involving food do you partake in?
A: When my parents visit from Italy (where they live), they take over my kitchen. They love doing it, and resistance from me is futile. For Christmas, they choose something more exotic and more difficult to engineer, like a goose or duck.