11 May 2009

Canadian Chef Rob Rainford Serves up Grilled Pesto Peppers & Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breasts

If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know I have started a weekly feature to highlight Canadian Chefs. Through your TV networks, or perhaps on other blogs, or even just right here on More Than Burnt Toast you may have heard of some of our Canadian chefs. For those of you who haven't, I hope you will find it interesting to see what our chefs are up to, a little about their history and how they came to love what they do. For the next few months I will be featuring one of our Canadian chefs each week. As the sixth installment in my Canadian Chef series I introduce you to:
Rob Rainford

Robert Rainford is a Canadian chef and host of Licence to Grill on Food Network Canada, Discovery Home in the U.S. and Asian Food Channel across Asia. The format of the show involves Rainford hosting a get-together at his home for one reason or another, and preparing meals on his grills for the occasion. The different "occasions" provide the impetus for the food choices, and allow Rainford the opportunity to demonstrate different grilling techniques.
He was born in Jamaica and came to Canada at the tender of age of 3, the youngest of 5 children with a twin brother who is a few minutes older. He says, "His interest in food began with my mother and grandmother. They were both amazing cooks. My mom had 5 children and loved to cook. She taught me no only the importance of good food, but also that the kitchen was the heart of the home. Dinner time was family time." and there's a whole amazing barbecue tradition there. As for Canada, I guess after being buried under snow for six months we all just want to get outdoors and party."

According to his website throughout high school, Robert concentrated on playing basketball with dreams of becoming a pro player. In 1994 Robert 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. Today Robert is a teacher and chef instructor at the renowned George Brown College Continuing Education Program and continues to entertain his frequent guest with delicious and creative barbecued meals.

He has 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 favourite way to prepare quick, flavourful, healthy meals. Rob has a philosophy when it comes to the barbecue: "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 barbecue puts out way more heat than your stove top so you can get that wonderful charring and searing, just like in a restaurant."

Check out his new web site the Rainford Method here to learn how to make "those beautiful char marks". Even though he’s seen on television around the world on “Licence To Grill” and has cooked in some of the finest establishments, he feels that as a chef he’s “always on a perpetual learning curve”, and is humbled by the talent around him. An instructor at George Brown College, a motivational speaker and a world class Chef, Chef Robert L Rainford is beginning to hit his stride and is very thankful for the opportunity to continually uncover the mystery that is food.

This time around I tried these recipes below starting with a delicious grilled pepper with pesto and boccocini and a stuffed grilled chicken breast. These were the perfect way to end Mother's Day. L'il Burnt Toast invited me for a breakfast of homemade waffles, then we were invited for a personal tour of a local winery, then back to my place for a barbecue. All in all it was a perfect day:D

**Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breasts**

4 large, whole, boneless, skin on chicken breasts (each 10oz) (each 280g)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (60ml)
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (60ml)
1 cup goat cheese crumbled (250ml)
1 tsp chopped lemon zest (5ml)
1 T pure maple syrup (15ml)
2 T toasted pine nuts (30ml)
1 whole head roasted garlic (see note*)
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper (2.5ml)
1 teaspoon olive oil (5ml)
In a bowl add crumbled goat cheese, basil, smashed roasted garlic, oregano, zest, syrup, pine nuts and pepper. Mix together until evenly combined.

Wash and pat the chicken breasts dry and then cut a pocket lengthwise in each. Stuff the mixture into the pocket. Not too much. Secure the opening with toothpicks. Coat the chicken with oil.

Oil the grill well. Place chicken skin side down and allow to cook for approximately 7 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Flip chicken and continue to cook the other side for 7 minutes. Remove from grill. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with onion marmalade

Roasted Garlic

Preheat barbecue for 300ºF/150ºC keeping one side off to prepare for indirect cooking.
Cut the top of a head of garlic. Poke holes on the exposed flesh of the garlic using the tines of a fork. Place the garlic onto a sheet of foil, drizzle with oil and cracked pepper and top with a sprig of thyme. Fold in sides of the foil and make a package ready for the grill.

Place the garlic on the side of the grill with no heat under it. Close lid and allow to cook for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from grill allow to cool.

**Grilled Pesto Peppers**

4 red peppers
2 large garlic cloves cut into thin slivers
4 T olive oil (60ml)
3 T pesto (45ml)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 balls of Boccocini cheese, sliced
Cut peppers in half lengthways. Scrape out and discard the cores and seeds. Drizzle olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add a few slivers of garlic into the cavity of each pepper.

Preheat the grill to 375°F/200°C or medium high heat.

Place the peppers on the grill, cavity side up, until charred (approximately 3 minutes). Add a spoonful of pesto into each of the peppers and slices of Boccocini cheese. Continue to cook peppers until cheese is melted (approximately 3 minutes).
Best Blogger Tips


  1. Both look delicious! Mmmhh, these peppers particularly attract me!



  2. I LOVE this guy, and I totally miss License to Grill - it was the best!

  3. I just came across your blog and I am in love with this recipe! I don't know what looks more delicious- the stuffed chicken or pesto peppers! I HAVE to try the recipe for the pesto peppers! Great job!

  4. I'm really trying to bone up on my Canadian celebrity chefs - I'm so clueless. You're always s helpful in my quests.

  5. I am madly in love with Rob Rainford and bought my husband the books from the show. I love his stuff, so fresh and full of flavour. Thanks for all the background info on this awesome chef!

  6. I've never seen his show but I bet I'd enjoy it. Sounds great.

    Hope you had a great mother's day! How can you go wrong with waffles and BBQ??

  7. RR never ceases to amaze me with his variety of rubs and technique on the grill. I'd love to see a Robert Rainford/Bobby Flay smackdown. Now that's what I call intimidation.

  8. I'll have to try that, Val. It looks and sounds delicious.

  9. This meal looks amazing! Can't wait to try it out for a Sunday dinner!

  10. this is definitely my kind of meal. i love the flavor the grill leaves on meats and veggies, and the cavity-filled peppers look especially terrific!

  11. I'm planning to make goat-cheese stuffed chicken breasts for my mother's birthday dinner next week, so thanks for providing a recipe because I'm taking inspiration from everywhere.

    Those peppers are awesome. I love pesto so much it's almost unnatural.

  12. I saw his pic and could not place him but it was License to Grill. I do not think it is being aired in the US anymore which is a bummer.

    Meal sounds amazing!

  13. So simple to do - and so amazing to eat. Nothing like grilled food, especially in the summer!

  14. Wow that looks incredible and sounds mouth watering.

  15. Oh! These peppers look amazing!

  16. The Grilled Pesto Peppers look and sound incredible. I really enjoy reading the information on Robert Rainford. He seems like a genuine talented Chef. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I'm enjoying your features on Canadian food celebs. I met Rob a few years back, very amiable guy who knows his way around the grill. Good recipe choice here.

  18. Those grilled pesto peppers are genius.

  19. I am looking forward to this month's Taste and Create with you as my partner. You have so many wonderful recipes, how do I choose?

  20. Hi Val,

    I love this guy. I wish he could be my neighbor. All the wonderful BBQ dishes he makes. It always sounds so easy to make and tasty. I'm bookmarking this recipe. Looks to good to pass.

    Hope you have some sun, we had some today after couple days of rain.

    Hélène :)


Welcome to my home. Thank you for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your support, comments, suggestions, and daily encouragement.


This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.