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Rob Rainford is host of Licence To Grill on the Food Network. Rainford is the youngest of five; he has a twin brother; his mother taught him that the kitchen was the heart of the home and dinner time meant family time, which he still believes as the father of three. In 1999, he worked with chef Ned Bell, at Senses. Rainford’s specialty is turning seasonal, fresh ingredients into mouthwatering dishes.
Q: What is your fondest memory from your family kitchen?
A: When I started cooking for my daughter’s birthday parties. It was a challenge to get out all of their favourites and still make the adults happy. But, we did it!
Q: What kitchen aromas bring back fond memories?
A: The smell of fried dumplings that my mother, grandmother and older brother would make throughout my childhood. After they came out of the hot oil, you would cut them in half, put some butter on them and they would melt-in-your mouth.
Q: What is your favourite food to cook?
A: Most braised dishes such as Ox Tail and Beef Short Ribs. The reason for this is any time you can allow a dish to cook for hours it adds a depth of character to the meat.
Q: How did the first meal you prepared turn out?
A: It was lasagna for the family. It was a hit! Just knowing it turned out made me want to become more ambitious.
Q: What kitchen gadget can you not live without?
A: My tongs. They are indispensible to any cook or chef in the kitchen.
Q: What rituals from your background involving food do you partake in?
A: My family came to Canada in 1970 from Jamaica. Once a month, we all get together for Ackee Night. It is the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee is a fruit that can be cooked with salt fish and other traditional ingredients. The dish we love to finish all family gatherings with is bread pudding.