Wheels on fire

Many people have Ted Reader to thank when they serve up perfectly barbecued fare for duly impressed guests.

Many people have Ted Reader to thank when they serve up perfectly barbecued fare for duly impressed guests. After all, it’s Reader, widely known as the King of the Q (as his former TV show was called), who’s showed them how.

From his various television shows including Grilling Maestros and Cottage Country, to the 14 cookbooks he’s penned, this barbecue guru loves nothing more than firing up the BBQ and watching people dig into his succulent creations.

In fact, the Paris, Ont.-native owns an astounding 75 barbecues, grills and smokers, so many, that he has a barbecue rig to haul them around.

But one thing this award-winning chef is as serious about as barbecuing is his dream car: a 1973 metallic blue convertible Mustang.

“It was a Christmas present to myself,” he explains of buying the car in 1994. “I drove it for the first time on Dec. 19 with the top down!”

And, although he owns two other cars, the onetime President’s Choice executive chef, who developed popular products like PC Real Jerk Wings and PC Thick and Cheesy Burgers, loves putting the pedal to the medal (with caution, of course) in his Mustang, which boasts a 351 Cleveland engine.

“I like the feeling of being able to really let loose,” he says. “Going fast with the top down is fun. And feeling the wind blow through your hair while listening to an eight-track tape of Supertramp’s Breakfast in America just take it to a new level.”

Over the 15 years he’s had his Mustang, Reader has taken many road trips, but one memory that really stands out occurred while he was on the 407 several years ago.

“I was doing 170 km an hour, and I got pulled over,” he recalls.

“I was asked why I was driving so fast, and I explained this old car just likes to run and it needed to be opened up and let loose. The officer agreed, then asked me if I was that barbecue guy, and I went on my way.”

As he’s quick to point out, every day in his Mustang is a memorable one.

– Heather Buchan is a Toronto-based journalist whohas worked at several magazines, including Hello! Canada, where she cut her teeth in the world of celebrities.

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