Chef Roger Mooking returns to Cooking Channel with the hottest season yet of Man Fire Food, premiering Tuesday, July 14th at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT. The smoke signals take Roger across the country as he continues to discover the most inventive ways cooking with fire adds flavor and whole lot of heat to delicious dishes. Whether it’s cooking over an open fire, grilling over charcoal, barbecuing low and slow, or smoking in the pit, the heat is on!
Trinidadian-born Roger Mooking is no stranger to combining various influences to new and exciting culinary adventures. He is the host and co-creator of his internationally broadcast television series Everyday Exotic. His award-winning cookbook, based on the show, explores pairing ingredients from all corners of the globe with everyday meals. Mooking is also the co-host of the hit show Heat Seekers on Food Network, as well as a recurring judge on Chopped Canada. He recently opened Twist By Roger Mooking, a restaurant that incorporates global flavors into locally sourced, North American comfort food, making him a third generation restaurateur. Taking his talents outside of the kitchen, Roger released his most recent album, “Feedback Acoustic”. For this Juno award-winning recording artist, the music and epicurean world are seamless. One feeds the body, the other the soul; it is all food in all its various forms.
Premiering Tuesday, July 14th at 8:00pmET/5:00pmPT – “Pigging Out on Pork” – SEASON PREMIERE!
One of the great wonders of the barbecue world is smoked pork shoulder. First, Roger Mooking heads to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit the Pit Stop, a barbecue take-out famous for their unconventional, yet scrumptious, sandwich called the Green Menace Wrap, filled with pork chili and pulled pork, cilantro cream and barbecue sauce. Then, it is over to the barbecue institution, Top Hat Barbecue in Blount Springs, Alabama for a classic Southern-style pork sandwich that has been served the same exact way for 50 years. Low and slow and on a bun is the best way to devour this succulent cut of meat!
Premiering Tuesday, July 21st at 8:00pmET/5:00pmPT – “Alabama BBQ”
Roger heads to the heart of The American Barbecue Belt – Alabama. He stops by the family-run restaurant serving Alabama-style ‘cue for four generations, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur. The award-winning Pit Master Chris Lilly shows Rogers how to make their legendary smoked chicken, dunked in a unique white sauce. Next up is The Brick Pit in Mobile, where Roger meets the owner, Bill Ambrecht, who has been serving old school, Alabama-style ‘cue for 20 years. Locals and visitors from across the country stop in for the chicken and ribs, but the thing everyone talks about is the pulled pork which cooks for almost 30 hours in a smoker called “The Big Red.”
Premiering Tuesday, July 28th at 8:00pmET/5:00pmPT – “Low Country Cookouts”
Roger is in South Carolina for two spectacular low country cookouts – a traditional backyard pig pickin’, and a classic oyster roast. In the seaside town of Beaufort, Roger meets Jim Gibson who has been doing pig pickin’s for family and friends for the last 40 years. Together they build the outdoor pit, smoke a whole pig and then serve it with the traditional side of hash and rice. Then it is over to Bowen’s Island, where the only thing on the 14-acre peninsula is a restaurant that specializes in low country cooking. Roger meets the owner Robert Barber, and together they build an impressive fire to cook a massive pile of local cluster oysters.
Premiering Tuesday, August 4th at 8:00pmET/5:00pmPT – “Lone Star Load-Up”
Roger is loading up on the best brisket, pork steaks and sausages the Lone Star state has to offer. Ronnie’s BBQ in Johnson City houses an open outdoor kitchen with two barbecue pits, two pipe smokers and one giant burn barrel. Roger helps Pit Master Ronnie Weiershausen smoke brisket, pork steaks and sausages. Ronnie’s wife, Cindy, teaches Roger how they combine all three meats for a one-of-a-kind breakfast treat. Then, it is over to the Pecan Lodge restaurant in Dallas, where dynamic duo Justin and Diane Fourton smoke some of the best barbecue in town. They show Roger how to make their popular sandwich, the Pit Master, packed with brisket, pulled pork, sausages and then topped with coleslaw, jalapenos and barbecue sauce.
Premiering Tuesday, August 11th at 8:00pmET/5:00pmPT – “Meat on a Stick”
Roger visits two chefs in Texas who created the craziest cooking contraptions, and prove that everything’s bigger in Texas. Chef Johnny Hernandez designed a massive grill for his restaurant El Machito in San Antonio that takes fire and food to the extreme. Roger and Johnny skewer every meat imaginable — chickens, pork and beef sausages, racks of ribs and whole goats. Homemade salsas and warm corn tortillas complete this carnivorous spread. Next, Roger heads to Vintage Heart Farm in Stockdale to meet Chef John Russ who designed a 7-foot tree made out of stainless steel that can roast food over a wood fire. Roger and John fill the tree with quails and sausages for an outdoor feast.
Premiering Tuesday, August 18th at 8:00pmET/5:00pmPT – “Rib-A-Licious”
Roger is on the hunt for lip-smacking barbecue ribs and he found two places where the racks of meat stack up to perfection. The first is Leatha’s Bar-B-Cue Inn in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where Roger learns how to make these Southern-style ribs from Brian Jackson, a third generation pit master who continues the barbecue legacy that his grandmother Leatha created. Next, Roger heads to New York’s Hometown Bar-B-Que where Brooklyn native Billy Durney gives his ribs an ethnic spin. The Jerk Baby Back Ribs are seasoned with the earthy, spicy flavors of Jamaica, while the Sticky Korean ribs are glossed with a sweet and savory Asian glaze, and then topped with cashews and scallions. It’s a finger-licking mash-up of Texas low and slow, Jamaican Grilling and Korean-style barbecue.
Premiering Tuesday, August 25th at 8:00pmET/5:00pmPT – “Backyard Blowouts”
Roger is in Southern California for two unbelievable backyard blowouts. Roger meets Chef Ben Ford in Tarzana for a unique New England meets California-style clambake. Instead of burying their seafood feast in the ground, they use an old wine barrel as the cooking vessel for clams, mussels, crabs, artichokes, corn, potatoes and onions. Hot rocks provide the heat, while fresh seaweed helps creates steam. In Chula Vista, Roger meets Francisco “Paco” Perez for traditional Mexican barbacoa which is a whole lamb cooked in the ground, low and slow. Together they preheat an underground brick pit with a wood fire, and then season the lamb with a bright red chili marinade. The next day, they serve the barbacoa with fresh corn tortillas, and different salsas for family and friends.
Plus much more this season on Man Fire Food.
Man Fire Food is produced by IW Productions LLC.
Midnight Mass: The Blood of Life
The isolated island community of Crockett receives a mysterious new head priest, full of secrets and a brand new testament under a very unusual Messenger of God.
Meet poor Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), freshly released from prison and wracked with guilt over what got him there, a stupid drinking accident that caused the death of his ex-girlfriend. The last thing he wants to do is go back to Crockett and the judgment of the mostly religious community there, his disappointed family, and the nightmares of his ex’s death that plague him. But where else would have him? Resignedly on the ferry, he goes.
Riley’s dad Ed (Henry Thomas) isn’t the kind of man who talks very much at all, much less about his feelings, or his very real disappointment in his elder son. Riley’s teen brother Warren (Igby Rigney) has no idea what to say to him either, and just generally keeps mum. Riley’s mom Annie (Kristin Lehman) is accepting and loving, hesitant in how to help her eldest son but never wavering in her faith in the help of our lord Jesus. Mom seems to think a good heaping dose of the Church would set Riley right but is surprised to learn that the old priest of the Parish, Pruitt, has taken an extended leave of absence from the island, and his newcomer replacement Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) is young, charismatic, and bursting at the seams to tell the whole island about the gifts he brought them, most especially what he claims as a new testament under a messenger of God.
We’ll get back to that whole ball of issues in a moment, the other interesting characters of Crockett Island. Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) is the nightmarish overly polite and gently, almost lovingly condescending neighbor Christian woman you’ve ever loathed, the kind of person who explains away every last thing her Church may do wrong or contradictory because, after all, God works in mysterious ways. Pfft. Of course, Bev immediately ingratiates herself as the second to the new Father Paul in their services and is the first to start covering up his transgressions as they become more rampant.
Newcomers to Crockett Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) and his son Ali (Rahul Abburi) present a burgeoning problem to the plans of Father Paul and his shadowy companion, for they are both practicing Muslims. The practical side of investigating these so-called ‘miracles’ and strange happenings falls on Hassan’s shoulders, as he already struggles with barely-concealed racism and suspicion from his fellow islanders, and of course his son is being wooed away from him by the promise of actual, tangible miracles, but from a different whole faith and God. Father Paul definitely does not practice a traditional Christian faith and relies far too much on making use of the eucharist, the ceremony of the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ turning into bread and wine and, well, consumed.
Wade (Michael Trucco) and his wife Dolly (Crystal Balint) are lifers of the island and both in general interested in one thing, the advancement of their own family, specifically their daughter Leeza (Annarah Cymone), who happens to be in a wheelchair. And that happens to be the canny Father Paul’s first real miracle-with-a-cost that he demonstrates to the astonishment of the parishioners, after a heartfelt and rousing sermon, Father Paul commands Leeza to rise, to stand, and to walk. And lo, she does. What parents wouldn’t wholly dedicate themselves to a cause after seeing this happen to their beloved precious daughter? The fringe benefits of healing, and power, the ones that come at a mighty, currently unnamed, cost, are simply a nice bonus.
Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet) is the town drunk, and while his reasons for drowning his sorrows in the sauce might be understandable, absolution wears a very different face when it comes from Father Paul. While Leeza might be willing to forgive Joe, and even as Joe begins attending the newly-formed Al-Anon meetings on the island of course hosted by Father Paul, redemption might’ve been better sought from medical professionals, and not this newfound method of religious worship.
Dr. Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish) is the islands’ kind of all-around medic, and this is how she and Riley’s old friend Erin (Kate Siegel), also newly returned to the island, a few months pregnant but traveling quietly alone, met when Erin comes to the Doc for obstetrics. Sarah’s older mother Mildred Gunning (Alexandra Essoe) has many medical and mental issues, and Sarah struggles in their shared home, to take care of her addled mom and balance her own life. Then Father Paul takes it upon himself to visit one of his oldest parishioners, bringing the sacred host and wine with him to give directly to Mildred, who starts looking and acting so much better under his loving care.
The show is very much a slow slow burn, with a lot of the actual action taking place in the last two episodes. Much of the beginning and middle episodes feature two people just sitting alone, having quiet and seriously in-depth conversations about heavy subjects – grief and repentance, what happens when we die, the disasters that come as a result of addictions, how our actions’ consequences reverberate to those we love around us, faith and the foibles of man, and of course, the giving of oneself over to a higher power, for strength, and guidance, and love.
Except, for the higher power that Father Paul brought back with him, to share with his beloved flock of Crockett Island, while it may be extremely powerful and full of what could be considered miraculous magic, everything comes at some kind of a cost. And when the Messenger of God is finally revealed to the shocked denizens of Crockett at Easter Mass, with Father Paul rapturing on about rebirth as the bloody massacre begins in earnest, it’s faith, not in any kind of God or religion, but faith in each other, that may save a few hardy souls.
Question the wisdom of your religious leaders along with the rest of us in a fine slow-burn addition to the Flanaverse, Midnight Mass is on Netflix now!
Saw X: It ain’t brain surgery!
Legendary executioner Jigsaw returns to exact revenge on a cadre of scam artists who promised him a bogus cure for his cancer!
First off, be aware, that this is what I call an interleaved sequel, a movie set between previous films in the franchise. In this case, Saw X occurs after the events of the very first Saw film, and before Saw II. Everybody got where we are? Good! Into the madness, we dive!
So, as we all know, John Kramer’s been diagnosed with cancer, very aggressive brain cancer, and likely doesn’t have much time left. And he’s tried everything under the sun, doing a ton of meticulous research, we’d expect nothing less from our master of the art of murder, and not one thing has worked. Yet one man from the support group for cancer sufferers, Henry (Michael Beach), offers an off-the-books supposed miracle cure, and John jumps at the chance.
Why does this nonsense always sound too good to be true? Because it is. Deleted scenes from the first Deadpool movie already told us why traveling to Mexico for any kind of medical cure is a sublimely stupid move, but Kramer is desperate. And while he might be sick and dying, John Kramer has never been what anyone could call stupid. So the villa out in the Mexican countryside, the affable cab driver Diego (Joshua Okamoto) professes surprise at Kramer being highjacked for his good, the nervous muttering from assistant Valentina (Paulette Hernandez), the side-eyeing from little housekeep Gabriela (Renata Vaca) and her tequila, and most especially the smooth and smarming reassurances of head “doctor” Cecilia Pederson (Synnove Macody Lund), all leave a kind of sour taste in John’s mouth.
The whole cluex4 scene is done in the style that the Saw films are known for, where we the audience are treated to cut-together explanatory scenes in a flip-flash fashion of usually about two minutes, for poor John when he realizes he’s been hoodwinked and just how badly, seems a little contrived. But then it’s entirely possible that we the audience truly expected our genius mastermind of the infamous Jigsaw murders to have realized what was happening sooner, and got enraged along with Kramer. And cheered as he prepared to take his bloody and ultra-violent revenge!
First up in our grand guignol of executions is the return of Jigsaw’s first protégé, Amanda (Shawnee Smith). And despite her avowed reverence for Jigsaw and his proven “therapy”, Amanda does waver a bit when the scammers are put through the paces of their specially-made Saw traps, and they shriek and blubber and bleed out. The appearance of the ringer of the bunch, Parker (Steven Brand), doesn’t even slow our beloved engineer of the damned down, because we knew Jigsaw would have his other apprentice waiting just off stage, the deliciously vicious Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). Even the monkeywrench of involving little-boy soccer fan Carlos (Jorge Briseno) in the traps, is just another cog in the machine that is the brilliantly plotting mind of John Kramer.
A fine addition to the Saw legends, showcasing a return to the beloved style and panache of the original Tobin Bell-starring Jigsaw films, Saw X is splashing gore and gallons of blood in theaters now!
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off,” Netflix’s latest series, is a rollicking journey through the world of video game culture, blending nostalgic references with a fresh narrative twist. Centered around Scott Pilgrim, portrayed with magnetic charisma by Michael Cera, the show skillfully integrates gaming elements into its storytelling, creating a delightful homage to the video game subculture.
The series cleverly employs pixelated graphics, power-up animations, and game-like sound effects to bring the virtual world to life. These visual cues, reminiscent of classic video games, enhance the storytelling and resonate with audiences familiar with the gaming landscape. The attention to detail in recreating iconic gaming moments is commendable, creating a visual and auditory treat for enthusiasts.
The exploration of video game culture goes beyond mere aesthetics; it becomes an integral part of the characters’ identities and interactions. The script intelligently weaves gaming terminology and tropes into the dialogue, effectively blending the real and virtual worlds. The series navigates the challenges and triumphs of the characters through the lens of gaming, making it a unique and engaging experience for both gamers and general audiences.
The ensemble cast, including standout performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Chris Evans embraces the gaming theme with infectious enthusiasm. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, adding emotional depth to the series.
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” successfully taps into the zeitgeist of video game culture, offering a nostalgic yet contemporary take on the gaming phenomenon. It’s a must-watch for those who cherish the pixelated roots of the gaming world while providing an accessible and entertaining narrative for a broader audience. The series takes off not only in its title but also in its ability to soar within the ever-expanding realm of Netflix originals.