If Reader’s King Of The Q, May I Have Permission To Be King Of The “K”???
Greetings kamado lovers far and wide!
This is probably going to go down as the easiest post and most heartfelt post I’ve ever written because like all my wanna be wax poetry and kamado infused words from the heart, this one’s far over due and here’s why. Back in 2009 I hopped on a plane and headed down to Orlando FL, USA to attend my first HPBA Show. For anyone out of the know, that’s the short version of the Hearth, Patio, & Bbq Association Show and it switches up locations every year as it makes its way back and forth across America showcasing the what’s what in the Bbq industry for retailers far and wide.
My concept and brand at the time was just a year old, however, I felt like King Kong in regard to what it was and still is I’m trying to accomplish as it relates to the kamado cooker and niche category. I went down to the US of A to suss the Bbq scene out and experience first hand this show of all shows apparently and for the most part came away somewhat disappointed but inspired all at the same time. I met great people, had great conversations and most importantly put faces to most of the notable name brands as it relates to the kamado cooker and category.
I remember being somewhat nervous about gaining my all access pass to this much talked about retailer spectacle but quite frankly it was anything but exciting for me having come from the adrenalin fuelled world of the ski and snowboard industry. I must admit I had my fun back in the day in that world of moguls and mayhem and I enjoyed every minute of that ride.
Seriously, I actually went down with the goal of meeting a guy by the name of Bobby Brennen who’s the owner of Kamado Joe to this day as he had hired me and my crew to shoot his first video production for his latest launch of his line up of kamado product. That shoot and project went very well indeed and while I was down in Orlando milling about the show I actually dashed out of the Kamado Joe booth and that’s where I ran smack dam into a guy people like to call the King Of The Q in Canada!
Mr. Ted Reader I said silently to myself like meeting a guy for whom I always wanted to meet but never quite knew why. I mean, I did but it wasn’t top priority for me but Ted as I have gotten to know over the years since that show is quite the man and deserves every accolade that comes his way and why you may ask? For no other reason than he has been somewhat of a grilling visionary and guru of sorts, a unique and deliberate “out of the box” rebel and like myself has a positive cause and motivation for turning people on to life by fire and food.
I remember and always will remember the day I met him like it was yesterday because he was dressed like an elder statesman punk from back in the day with a big yellow t-shirt that had some kind of punk ass motif across it and I thought to myself instantly, that this guy gives not a shit what anyone thought about him which I respected immediately, kinda like a Jello Biafra respect, word to the man himself and ( long live the Dead Kennedy’s)! He was cruising the isles with a slick haired dude named Greg Cosway for whom I’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know over the years and the two of them make quite the dynamic duo of the modern day grilling world in a very interesting agent/manager meets Canadian Bbq grilling celebrity sort of way.
Regardless, Ted Reader and The Grateful Griller made official contact that day and after breaking ice together he was kind enough to invite me out to a local watering hole that first night of the show and I fondly remember sharing countless beers with him while we got to know each other as we talked openly about our upbringings and our love of food, friends and family. There was a big crowd around a few tables of Napolean exec’s and I recognized no one except Ted, Greg and if my memory serves me correctly, Rob Rainford was in the house as well that night but we never got introduced.
It was truly very cool for a Bbq industry grilling virgin like myself at the time to be sharing drinks with a fellow Canadian Jedi knight of the Bbq world and what I appreciated about Ted the most was the fact that he was cool and comfortable with his very unique coolness and not feeling the need to impress anyone or be anyone but himself. The man in a word was and had been obviously through highs, lows and hard schooling of a different kind as it related to the food and bev industry. I respected it and identified with it immediately in a modern day world of wanna be instant thrill to grill and show case fluff and makeup and “foodie” culture, whatever the hell that means, I’m not sure, but I am sure Ted’s the real deal and evidently so do a lot of other people.
This guy had seen his battles over the years and I could feel it and I not only respected it but I thought one day he and I would be doing bigger things and perhaps together as we threw fire and smoke in our respective ways but that was yet to be seen and accomplished next to each other. After saying our good nights I thanked him for all his time and the next day he came back to the Kamado Joe booth with a signed book that he had signed for me and on the inside cover fold it pretty well summed up what still stands very true for me to this day as I continue to build my own brand and learn the ways of charcoal and food. It read “Grateful Griller, Get Sticky! Live, Love & Be Your Passionate Self”!
Thanks Ted, I shall never forget this kind and thoughtful gesture and here’s a grateful shout out to you sir for helping pave the way for the next generation of grillers coming up the line! I for one know that I could never have asked for a better grilling punk to draw inspiration from and for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Until the next fire dance together my grilling friends, I bid you all an awesome week!
Peace & Poptarts!