Rob Rainford loves to barbeque. “Most Saturday’s you can find me in my backyard grilling or smoking something…on the barbeque that is ”, jokes Rob.
“I was born in Jamaica and there’s a whole amazing barbeque tradition there. As for Canada, I guess after being buried under snow for 6 months, we all just want to get outdoors and party”. Rob came to Canada at the tender age of 3 (he’s now 36), the youngest of 5 children (he has a twin brother who is a couple of minutes older than him).
“My interest in food, began with my mother & grandmother. They were both amazing cooks. My mom had 5 children and a full time job; so grand cuisine was not on the menu, but we always ate well. She cooked with love and taught me not only the importance of good food, but also that the kitchen is the heart of a home. Dinner time was always family time.”
In 1994, Rainford enrolled in culinary school at George Brown College and after completing his formal training, began his professional career at the Kensington Kitchen, then onto Accolade/Crown Plaza. In 1999, he left Accolade and went to Senses to work with Chef Ned Bell. Together they made magic and Robert honed his talent at turning fresh seasonal ingredients into mouthwatering dishes. "Working with Ned Bell was great, not only is he an amazing chef but he’s also a good bud. We really stretched our legs at Senses”.
Today Robert is a teacher and chef instructor at George Brown College Continuing Education Program and continues to entertain his frequent guests with delicious and creative barbecued meals.
At home, Rob was mastering the art of being a good husband and father. It was the latter that led Rob to becoming the barbecue-ologist that he is today. He combined his love for food and talent as a chef with the casual nature of cooking at home, for three children. Grilling has become his favorite way to prepare quick, flavourful, healthy meals.
Rob has a philosophy when it comes to the barbeque: “It’s pretty simple. Just start with the freshest ingredients you can find and then you’ve got two choices: long slow cooking over low indirect heat, or red hot and smokin’ for fast grilling. If you cook low and slow then you can use all sorts of rubs and smoking agents to infuse the food with a depth of flavour you just can’t get out of an oven. As for high heat grilling, your barbeque puts out way more heat than your stovetop so you can get that wonderful charring and searing, just like in a restaurant.”
So what does Chef Rainford think about the barbeque being a bastion of male machismo? “First of all, let’s drop that Chef thing. We’re backyard cooking so the name is Rob.” Says a self-deprecating Rainford. “And as for guys barbequing, my twin brother couldn’t boil water to save his life but put a couple of juicy steaks in front of him and fire up the barbeque and suddenly he’s master chef! It’s gotta be an open flame cavemen thing!”
For more information about Robert Rainford click here: http://www.chefrobertrainford.com/