In the Washington, DC area, the trees have started their yearly metamorphosis as they change into the coat of many colors, this fall season. The yearly fluctuating of temperatures, football games and delicious change to more hearty foods. I can almost feel Thanksgiving approaching.
This month I am almost pinching myself that I have the opportunity to share with you the featured story of a wife (and mother) whose chef husband helped me believe that there are chefs out there who are aware of how challenging this industry can be on the family. Before I launch into her answers, I have to tell you how I knew I had to feature her as one part of a thriving restaurant relationship. I happened to catch the show, Chefography on The Cooking Channel, where they were featuring Roger Mooking, Celebrity Chef and Cooking Channel/Food Network Host of Everyday Exotic, Man Fire Food and Heat Seekers. As I watched his amazing story unfold of this passionate man, not just with food, but of his families culture as well as the music he so loved, launch to success in his culinary career, he mentioned how he realized that the more restaurants he opened, how challenging it was to spend time with his family. He shifted his culinary trajectory to include making sure he was balancing his career and family life.
As you can imagine, I was so impressed with his clear intention to make sure both sides of his life were met with satisfaction, that I knew I wanted to connect with the woman in his life who gets to watch with delight and support him on his quest to educate and inspire so many with his many passionate endeavors. I had a feeling that this woman was both strong and independent and I am so glad my hunch was correct. I am grateful Rogers wife, Leslie, who also is a creative by trade and driven by nature, is a reminder that a balanced life is always worth the work we put into it.
A little more about Leslie Mooking in her own words…
‘I was born in Edmonton, Alberta and lived there until I moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson Polytechnic University. I graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and after a few chance jobs, I started working in the fashion industry as a wardrobe stylist. After about ten years in the industry, I decided to accept a position with an advertising agency as a Photography producer. I stayed at this position for five years, until Roger and I started our family. We currently live with our three beautiful children and two Tibetan Spaniels.’
Thank you Leslie for your wisdom!
What were your first impressions when you first realized that by being with your restaurant man/woman, that you have become a part of the restaurant world?
I was excited to join Roger in the culinary world because it was unfamiliar territory to me. I grew up in a strictly meat and potatoes family, so the exposure to new foods was like an adventure.
When did you know that you had what it took, within the parameters of his/her career, to find success in your relationship?
When Roger and I met, I was a wardrobe stylist. I have always been a very independent person and I was used to crazy hours and a constantly changing schedule. Our irregular schedules worked for us, so initially I was not concerned with his schedule.
What is the BEST part of being married to someone in the restaurant industry?
Is this a trick question? The Food!
How do you handle the holidays knowing he/she is going to be busy at work?
Roger has always made a strong effort to be around for the holidays. When he absolutely cannot be around, we surround ourselves with loving family and friends.
How has achieving acclaim and success, within the restaurant industry, changed your relationship?
Roger was already successful when we met. I think his continued and growing success requires more travel and hands on time for him. The biggest change in our relationship is adjusting to the amount of time he is away. In our home, we focus on quality rather than quantity. Ultimately he is an amazing husband and father and I wouldn’t change a thing!
Follow Roger on Twitter - @RogerMooking
Find more on Roger and his family at http://rogermooking.com