Jetsetting With Celebrity Chef Ted Reader
Ted Reader is his name, and barbecue is his game. The Canadian native got his start as the inaugural executive chef at the SkyDome Hotel (now known as the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel) before moving on to President’s Choice, Canada’s largest food retailer, and creating signature staples including PC Thick and Cheesy Burgers and PC Real Jerk Wings. Driven by his passion for an open flame, the owner of 100—yes, 100—barbecues has become one of the country’s most famous chefs and food entertainers, building an empire of cookbooks, sauces and seasonings, planks, and grills.
Q: What type of traveler are you? (i.e., adventurer, cultural explorer, free spirit, rejuvenator, spa aficionado, etc.)
A: I travel for a variety of reasons. Lots of business travel that takes me to many delicious locations for work, but when I am not working I love to travel with my family, explore new places, and show my children how wonderful the world is.
Q: What types of activities do you like to do on your travels? Do you look for a place where it’s quiet and you can relax or someplace that has great activities or nightlife?
A: When I am someplace warm I love to chill out on the beach and relax. I like it quiet and beautiful and warm. I love the beach, and the most I want to do besides play with my kids is to figure out where I am going to lie down next and relax!
Q: When thinking about where you will travel to next, what inspires you to make a decision? And what, if any, research do you do about that destination?
A: I love to travel to places where the food is exotic and delicious. I look at what is local and what tastiness can be consumed. I love to rent a home or villa and shop for local eats and prepare them for my family. To me the greatest way to enjoy a new location is to taste and cook the food.
Q: What is the most memorable trip you’ve taken and why?
A: Before kids, my wife (then girlfriend) and I rented a villa in Turks & Caicos. She looked at me across the pool and said, “Hey, do you want to get married?” I replied with, “sure, sounds like a plan,” so off we went to find someone to get us hitched. We made it happen two days later. For our wedding I caught my wife an octopus and grilled it up for our wedding dinner. A few bottles of Dom Perignon Rose, add a little fresh lobster and conch, and we had a spectacular wedding day.
Q: What is the best food you’ve ever found on a trip?
A: Oh there are so many flavors to choose from. Every trip provides me with great tasting food. Whether it’s something I picked up at a local market or even the grocery store or a juicy burger or something hot and spicy and a little exotic. It’s all wonderful.
Q: What, if anything, do you always take with you when you travel?
A: A chef’s knife and a pair of tongs, because you never know when the opportunity to cook comes along. I also like to have my pillow; I get the best night’s sleep when I have my pillow along. Other than that I keep it pretty simple.
Q: What’s your best piece of travel advice?
A: Pack smart, be patient, have fun, explore, taste, and smile. You’re travelling, so forget the work world and have some fun.
Q: Is there a destination to which you can’t imagine not returning?
A: Italy. It is a must, and every time I’ve been I yearn to go back. It be mighty tasty!
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: Chicago, New York, Boston, and Montreal are all an easy flight from my home in Toronto. They are great tasting cities, but for something a little closer and more fun for the whole family I like a trip to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. They are always special places for me.
Q: Where would you like to travel to next?
A: Argentina to grill it up big time in Patagonia.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming project(s)?
A: There are a few, but the biggest is getting my 1972 Ford Seagrave Pumper Fire Truck up and running. My business partners and I are turning this fire truck into a Beer and BBQ Extreme Machine. Its name is Hoptimus Prime, and it will have two draft taps with refrigeration to hold eight kegs of delicious beer, eight feet worth of propane-powered grills, a hardwood/charcoal-fired custom built barbecue smoker with full rotisserie capabilities, a kick-ass sound system, a VIP upper deck, and a few other bells and whistles to make this fire truck a delicious machine.
Ted Reader’s Bio:
The Guinness Book of Records holder for the largest burger ever grilled at 590 pounds, Ted Reader has never tasted an ingredient he wouldn’t like to set ablaze on his more than 65-piece grill. An award-winning chef and food entertainer, Ted is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks and the proprietor of a popular line of sauces and seasonings called “Ted’s World Famous BBQ” and the Ted Reader Signature Series Grills by Napoleon. He is the culinary consultant for some of the country’s largest food conglomerates and retailers, including Safeway, Costco, and TGI Friday’s, as well as the executive chef for Canadian company Blue Goose Organic Foods. He is a regular guest on television and radio programs and has been profiled in a variety of magazines, including GQ.