THE LO-DOWN WITH ROB LO OF RODEN GRAY
Nestled in the heart of Gastown is Roden Gray, a mainstay in Vancouver’s luxury menswear landscape. Its founder, Rob Lo, is a busy man these days, whether running multiple businesses or trotting the globe to seek out the latest and greatest threads to don on his store shelves. And of course, a man’s gotta eat no matter which continent he’s on! Rob was gracious enough to chat with us about his travels and his two cents on melding the food and fashion worlds.
TEAMCHOMP: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
ROB: I am the founder of Roden Gray – a mens luxury streetwear store located in Vancouver, as well as ‘Mr. Gray’ – a mens sock company. Most recently, I co-founded ‘Purple’ – a mens denim line which just launched in North America.
How do you define food?
My definition of food has really evolved over time. When I was young, eating well was equated to how much money I could spend on food without really knowing what I was eating or what actually made it good. Now I have a new understanding of what makes food “good”. I pay closer attention to where my food comes from and how it’s prepared. I appreciate fresh, natural ingredients and try to eat as much whole foods as possible.
Having the opportunity to travel around the world, what are some of your favourite places and cuisines?
My work has allowed me to travel extensively and dining experiences have become somewhat of a highlight during my business trips. One of my favourite cities to dine in is Florence, Italy. I love the simplicity of their food, all fresh ingredients – a true farm to table experience. Japan is also another favourite — and not just for their sushi, which no doubt is incredibly fresh — but their tempura, soba and udon is some of the best I’ve ever had! I should also mention that ironically, some of the best Italian cuisine I’ve had is in Paris!
Some of your favourite spots to dine at in Vancouver?
That’s a hard one. I would say it depends on what I’m feeling, who I’m dining with, as well as the season. At the moment, you’d likely find me at Savio Volpe most weekends.
How do you feel about the current state of fashion?
This is likely one of the most exciting times to be in fashion. Social media has provided a new platform for expression in a way where it almost feels like there are no rules. I am excited to see how transactions will be made through social media in the future.
If you had the opportunity to construct a fashion x food collaboration, what would you create?
I really like the idea of fashion designers creating their own concept restaurants or collaborating with a restaurant because it provides a full experience of what that brand is. I think given the right opportunity, this could be a really exciting project to be a part of.
Hands down, what is the best thing, worst thing, and scariest thing you’ve eaten?
I can’t say I’ve had any standout terrible food experiences and I definitely have an adventurous palate – so there is very little that actually scares me and I’m game to try everything at least once. I will mention though that the most ‘interesting’ culinary experience I’ve had is eating fish sperm in Japan. When raw, it’s very slimy in texture (as expected..) – and when cooked, it’s sweet almost like Uni.
The best thing I’ve eaten? My mom’s cooking. 100%. There’s nothing better than mom’s home cooking.
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