By day, Roger Peroune is the Accounts Executive at King Advertising (and a hilarious Instagram commentator on the strength of his coffee), but by night, he’s a karate-doing, marathon-running, fine-clothes-wearing home chef.
Roger’s laugh is infectious and lounging around in his kitchen with his family while he makes dinner makes you feel like you’re having dinner with your family – and not an awkward, angst filled type of dinner, but a ‘warm lighting- home for the holidays- we’re in a Christmas TV ad’ kind of dinner. You hang out around the kitchen island, trade anecdotes about your day, your childhood, your food and travel experiences, and talk about what you’re wearing for New Year’s Eve.
Roger is the type of sensible and practical chef you want in your kitchen. He’s not basic, but he’s classic, depending on the simplicity of salt, red pepper flakes and freshly cracked peppercorns to elevate a meal to spectacular. Ask him about what food he’d want with him if he was stranded on a desert island, and he’ll tell you sushi. Why? You’ll get your protein and grain and vegetables, and because there’s such a variety of sushi, you’d never get tired. Plus, you’re on an island so you can easily replenish your stock. See? Practical! My brain quickly told my mouth to shut it because I was going to say Ice cream or French fries.
What makes him the chef he is today? Roger’s inspiration comes from a combination of his mom, his grandma, Food Network, magazines, and simply being hungry when he was home alone. Growing up in a house where his mom infuses her own Olive Oil and measurements consist of dashes and pinches, Roger relies more on instinct than measuring spoons to cook. Which made for a fun ‘how many teaspoons was that?’ type of guessing game.
As Roger rightly says, a meal tastes different when you actually want to cook versus when you force yourself to cook. He also had wisdom to share on other food related things:
Dream Food Experience: Go to Japan & eat Kobe Beef
Favourite Food: Sushi
Despises: Overcooked Steak
Best Appliance / Cooking tool: a high walled, 12 inch Skillet.
Random Food quote of the evening: “Salt is salt.” (when asked about whether he subscribes to the flavor differences in flavoured salts and fancy salts like Pink Himalayan)
Random Wisdom of the evening: Rub oil on your steak BEFORE you season it. The oil will act to seal in the juices and flavor when cooking and will keep the seasoning well anchored to the meat.
Steak & Florentine Mashed Potatoes
For the Mashed Potatoes
4-5 medium Potatoes
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 ½ tsp Salted Butter
¼ cup Heavy Cream
Black peppercorns / Black Pepper
¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
2 ½ cups (approx. 2 handfuls) Spinach
For the Compound Butter
6 tbsp Butter
4 cloves Garlic
1 stalk Fresh Rosemary
¼ - ½ tsp Black Pepper (freshly cracked if possible)
¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
For the Steak
1 14 oz. Sirloin Steak]
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper (freshly cracked if possible)
For the Potatoes: Chop potatoes (keep skin on) & add to boiling water. Cook until fork tender. In a separate pot, add spinach to boiling water and let cook for a 2-3 minutes until bright. Drain both spinach and potatoes, add remaining ingredients and mash until smooth and ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
For Compound Butter: Place butter in a bowl and let it cool until almost room temperature. Add ingredients and thoroughly combine, then place in fridge until butter hardens. Remove when ready to serve.
For Steak: Liberally rub Olive Oil on both sides of a room temperature steak. Season with salt & pepper. Heat a skillet until the pan is screaming hot (a drop of oil sizzles and almost dances on the pan). Add steak to pan and sear for 1 ½ minutes on each side if you prefer medium, less if you prefer rare. You can add a dollop of the compound butter on top of the steak and allow it to melt. Tilt the pan slightly and with a spoon, continuously drizzle the oil & juices that pool in the corner on top of the meat.
Remove from pan and let rest for a few minutes before cutting.
Serve with Florentine Mashed Potatoes & a dollop of Compound Butter.
I posted a picture on Instagram last week where I also mentioned that there’s one experience that Roger’s future wife has to have. Maybe you’re desperately in love with Roger and have been scanning through this post, dying to see what criteria you need to meet to become the next Mrs. Peroune. Sorry gals – you’d need to accidentally see his dad in his underwear. Yep, this has become a semi-tradition in the house purely by accident. And we’ve decided that if Roger ever goes on Jeopardy, this will be the story that he’ll tell Alex Trebek during the second segment interview. It ties with the time Roger was in primary school and cried bitterly after having been beaten in a race by a girl. But that’s another story.
Thanks to Roger and the Peroune family for a truly wonderful evening!