Celebrity Chef David Rocco shares what makes the ROM special to him...
Q: You travel a lot for your work. Do you get a chance to visit the ROM often?
A: My office overlooks the Museum, so I see it a lot. I also live close by, so the Museum has always been a part of our local neighbourhood. I try to visit fairly often. And it’s a great place to go with the kids.
Q: Can you tell me about your Share the Table project?
A: Share the Table (sharethetable.com) is a project that I partnered on with the pasta brand Barilla. It’s a project about getting families back to the table to share a meal together. It’s a time to put away technology and literally share a meal and share the table together. It’s something that’s right up my alley, especially because of my Italian heritage. The idea of cooking together, sharing a simple pasta, is very familiar to me. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s a true cliché.
And the whole family can get involved in preparing the meal. It doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, my kids will make a risotto that tastes like a pretty good chef made it. It’s good for them to be involved in the preparation. And because they’re making it, they’ll include things according to the recipe, and it’s sometimes things they may not otherwise like. It makes them feel good, and they are proud to have helped prepare the meal.
Q: Are there specific places in the Museum that you find yourself coming back to when you visit?
A: Yes, the dinosaurs are favourites of mine, especially the
T. Rex. The kids love the dinosaurs too. We find them really fascinating and fun. The kids also love the Bat Cave. They really enjoy the CIBC Discovery Gallery too, which is another place we find ourselves coming back to often—they seem to like the interactivity there, especially the area where they dig for dinosaur bones. Dinosaurs are obviously something my kids
and I really like!
Q: Are there other parts of the Museum that stand out to you?
A: Yes, I really love attending evening events there. I’ve been lucky enough to attend about 15 different events over the years. It’s a very special place for my wife and me. We attended a CANFAR (Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research) event there not long ago and had a great time, and I thought, the museum is really a special place for an event, and so different compared to attending an event at a restaurant or a conventional space.
Q: Are there other places in Toronto where you enjoy spending time?
A: To me Toronto Island is always a special place. We try to get there at least once a year. I love the view looking back at the city. It reminds me of being in Brooklyn and looking over at New York. And being on the island reminds me of the experience of being an Italian immigrant. You see so many other immigrants there having barbecues. You’re reminded of the ethnicity of the city. It’s such a fun escape. I love going there on a weekend, relaxing under a tree and taking it all in.
Q: Is there a favourite object at the Museum that stands out as something that you would like to have in your own home if the ROM were to lend you something?
A: Yes, a T. Rex! I would love to have one in the entrance to my home. It would scare people as soon as they walk in! I find its sheer size very awe-inspiring. Could you put in a good word? I’d promise to take really good care of it!