Thursday, 3 March 2011

Chuck Hughes - The Kitchen's Bad Boy

Working for this magazine does have great perks, I get to go to all sorts of fun events, meet great people, and really enjoy what I'm doing. For the cover of RSVP Magazine (which will launch in Spring 2011 in Montreal), we will be showcasing some of the most known Montreal personalities in the hospitality/restaurant industry. The shoot was a couple days ago at the Loft Hotel on Sherbrooke. I met some great people, but I think the most interesting was chef-owner of the Restaurant Garde-Manger and TV host on his cooking show on the Food Network "Chuck's Day Off", Chuck Hughes. Especially considering the fact that I LOVE FOOD, it was such a treat to sit down with Chuck and just chit chat about food. 

Chuck and I at the RSVP Magazine cover shoot
Chuck stands probably 8 feet tall - well for 5'4" little ol me, he seemed like a giant. A very tanned, tattooed, good-looking giant who just got back from the Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival in Miami (an event I plan to be at next year!) and the youngest of the entire crew of people we were taking pictures of for the cover. The Kitchen's Bad Boy I like to call him, with his food tattoos everywhere, little scruff but with so much talent, I can't get over it! Really there is nothing like a man that can cook! 

I have to admit that I can't divulge too much information because the official interview will be available in the launch edition of RSVP Magazine which I hope all of you will go out to get. HEY! It's even going to be FREE! But I will let you in on some insider info, just because you all deserve it. 

For those of you that might not know, Chuck is a pure QUEBECOIS! Born and raised in Montreal, attended Brebeuf and really started off like any one of us from this beautiful city. He even had the opportunity to work with different bands, cooking for them while on tour. He was the first cook for a band called RESET - which is now, of course, the famous SIMPLE PLAN. He participated in cooking for the Van's Warped Tour and started building from there.  Now this summer he will be cooking for all the artists at Osheaga and for Heavy MTL.

He has a become a true entrepreneur, who started up his own restaurant, after working the kitchen at Time Supper Club (and other locations like Globe, Rosalies and Tapeo)! He's now an international "super-cook", traveling the world, thinking up new projects and loving every second of it. He's a great example to show all us that you can really succeed in life if you are passionate about what you do. 

In discussions - about food probably!
After the cover shoot, I didn't have time to sit down with him to interview him for the magazine, so the next day, I made my way to Garde Manger, where he was working, cleaning dishes, cutting chives, and just enjoying the company of his team. We sat for about an hour and talked about his career, his passion, his funny stalker stories, his tattoos, his travels - actually he's off to Tennessee and then doing a North American tour to promote his show, and then off to Asia (Malaysia, Singapore and others) to do an Asian Food Network Tour. He's gone months at a time, promoting, meeting people and learning. He told me, "I don't pretend I know how to cook other foreign cuisines, so I use my travels to learn"

There are some projects in the works for a new restaurant opening in Old Montreal in 2011, but he didn't want to give me too many details. It's still very much in the works and he's still searching for the perfect idea. Well let me tell you, once that place is open, I will be one of the first at the door! Aww after the fried Mars bar, and that excellent magret de canard, you know you can't go wrong with Chuck's cooking!

And lucky me, I left the interview with a personalized signed copy of Chuck's cookbook! What a fun experience that was!

Chuck's cookbook - signed especially for me!! (yes that is a drawing of a lobster!)
So I asked him what his favorite thing to make in his book was, he told me the carrot butter that you can put on scallops or halibut. So here I leave you with that recipe, I hope you try it! (P.S. his cookbook is in french, so the recipe will be in french!)

The recipe in the book is called : BEURRE DE CAROTTES

- 8 à 10 très grosses carottes (ou 1 L de jus de carottes frais)
- 5ml (1 c. à thé) de fécule de mais
- 225 g (0.5 lb) de beurre, en cube
- sel et poivre du moulin

À l'aide d'une centrifugeuse (a juicer), extraire le jus des carottes pour obtenir 1L (4 tasses) de jus de carottes (ou utiliser du jus de carottes commercial).

Dans une casserole, réduire le jus de carotte avec la fécule de mais à 250 ml (1 tasse)

Incorporer les cubes de beurre en fouettant. Saler et poivrer. Réserver.

NOTA. Le beurre de carottes est délicieux sur les pétoncles, sur un risotto végétarien, sur le homard ou sur un poisson à chair blanche. C'est la meilleure sauce végétarienne et l'un de leurs classiques. Délicieux sur les champignons sautées,


If ever you do try it, please let me know! And if you have tried Garde-Manger, please share. Did you like it? What was your favorite meal there? And if you haven't tried it yet, that's a great 3rd date type of place, important date because let me tell you, it's not given... ENJOY!

*MARCH 20th UPDATE*

Lobster Poutine reigns surpreme! Chuck beats Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America! Big congrats to our local chef!! If you want to recipe you best pick up his cookbook (it is only in french though). After a bunch of requests came in, Im doing you a favor and giving you the recipe for the Lobster Poutine - for all my readers South of the Border, I decided to translate it so you can bring Quebec's cuisine right into your home too.

LOBSTER POUTINE RECIPE

Ingredients:

- 2 lobsters 1.5 pounds each
- 4 cups of lobster broth (will give recipe as well)
- 2 tbls of butter
- 6 potatoes (Yukon Gold, washes, not peeled, cut in sticks)
- 1 pound of cheese curds
- Salt + Peppter
- Canola or Peanut oil for frying

1. In a boiling pot of salted water, cook the lobsters for 2 minutes, just enough to grab. Cool down in freezing water. De-shell and keep the meat in the fridge until you need to serve.

2. For the sauce, the lobster broth needs to be reduced by half until it thickens and sticks to the back of the spoon. Add the butter by whipping it in. Rectify the seasoning. Leave hot.

3. Preheat the oil of the fryer at 300 degrees

4. For the fries, whiten the potatoes for 2-3 min by putting them in the hot oil. Strain and let rest for a few minutes

5. Increase the temperature of the oil. Fry the fries for 2-3 min until they are golden and crunchy. Leave on some absorbing paper to remove the excess fat. Add salt and pepper

6. When serving the fries, garnish them with the cheese, then the lobster and then the sauce.

TO MAKE THE LOBSTER BROTH

- 2 lobsters 1.5 pound each
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 chopped carrott
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 celery stock
- 1 head of garlic cut in 2
- 4 sticks of rosemary
- 4 sticks of thym
- 2 tabls. of ketchup
- 1 tabls of pepper
- 8 cups of water
- sea salt

In a big pot of salted water, cook the lobsters for 6-7 min. Then put in freezing water to stop cooking. Remove meat and use immediately in a recipe or leave in fridge for later

Keep the carcass at the bottom

In the same pot, heat the oil et make the carrot, onion, celery and garlic sweat for 5 min on medium heat while mixing. Add the lobster carcass, the rosemary, the thym, the ketchup and the pepper grains to then cook for 10 minutes. Add water and let it brew for 2 hours.

Pour through a strainer and reduce the liquid again to 4 cups.

Let it cool down.

NOTA. Lobster broth can be kept for 1 week in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. Use it for the lobster poutine!

Hope this helps!!!

N.

14 comments:

Shaun McMahon said...

Garde Manger's a great place to enjoy the best of Montreal dining. Good looking people, a real buzz in the intimate and often boisterous room and the food... oh the food. Short ribs that will forever linger on my taste buds. Can't wait to read the article and to cheer Chuck on when he takes over Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef.

Shannon leigh said...

Went just last Sunday!! It was amazing! The atmosphere was unpretentious & the music was phenom.
I had the scallops w/beurre de carotte (petty much the best thing I've eaten in a while) & shared the lobster poutine. Omg. Will go back again...and again.
Funny thing; I tweeted him about the beurre & he gladly gave up the recipe. Since then I've seen the iron chef, uses it on there too.
Made it a few days ago. It's super easy & delish.

A.Long said...

Is it possible to find the interview online somewhere? I live in the US and would really love to get a hold of it.

N. said...

The interview will be out on APRIL 26 in the RSVP Magazine and should be put online around then. You can check the rsvpmagazine.ca around the 26-27 of APRIL and it should be available there.

A. Long said...

Thanks so much!

N. said...

Actually the magazine is coming out MAY 13!

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to view the Hughes
article online?

N. said...

Hello! The RSVP website is not up yet, but as soon as it becomes available I will make sure to post it here. Thanks!

dee said...

Any word on the new resto??

N. said...

Dee, actually his new restaurant opened just recently in Old Montreal. It's called the Bremner. I haven't been yet, but I hear it's amazing!!!

Jay said...

I've eaten at Le Bremner and Garde Manger - both are awesome. Le Bremner is best enjoyed with a group as they serve small plates meant to share - so you want to try a lot.

I have a question about the book - is it recipes from his show? Recipes from the restaurant? Both?

N. said...

Hi Jay, I think his recipes are from the restaurant and from the show. His lobster poutine of course is in there along with tons of other "comfort food" type recipes!

Anonymous said...

Do you know if there is an English version of his cook book Garde manger? My sister and I love his cooking! Here in Montreal I have only been able to find it in French
Thanks,
Jess

N. said...

Hi Jess, sorry to say, but last time I spoke to Chuck, he told me that this book was only available in French for the moment. If I hear or see a book out in English, I will post it here!