Chuck’s Day Off

If you’ve been reading, you’ll know I’ve been a fan of the Food Network since it began broadcasting in the 90s. You’ll also know I’ve been watching less and less recently because it’s become nothing but competitions in prime time.

The recently launched Cooking Channel has brought the traditional cooking show back to its roots a number of new personalities that have drawn my interest. One is Nadia G, who I wrote about last month. Another is Chef Chuck Hughes, host of Cooking Channel’s “Chuck’s Day Off.”

You can read all about Chef Hughes on his bio on the Cooking Channel website. I wanted to highlight a few of the things I find interesting about him, his show, and his cooking style.

Chef Hughes has lots of spirit and an obvious love for food. This couldn’t be any more obvious, as he is heavily tattooed, and most of his tattoos are representations of his favorite foods. His cooking style is to revisit old classics and put his own twist on them. I’ve seen a number of episodes of “Chuck’s Day Off,” and I’ve seen him make souped up versions of ants on a log, fried Mars bars, and Poutine, the Canadian analog to our “disco (i.e. gravy cheese) fries.” I’ve also seen him nail original recipes like his Jerk Crab and black macarons.

Chef Hughes recently competed on Food Network’s Iron Chef America in an epic battle against Iron Chef Bobby Flay. The secret ingredient was Canadian Lobster, and Chuck won. Being familiar with Chuck’s style of cooking, the dishes he made in the competition made a lot of sense. Things like Jerk Lobster and Lobster Poutine certainly play to the style that Chuck establishes on his show.

Cassie and I were recently joking about taking a trip to Montreal to eat at his restaurant. We’re working through the logistics to turn the joke into reality. Chuck owns a restaurant called Garde Manger in Montreal. He actually tapes his show from the restaurant, and, even though we can’t find a set menu on the internet, the snapshots we’ve seen of the menu blackboard make it look like it’s going to be worth it.

Even cooler, this past weekend, after seeing Chef Hughes make Jerk Crab on his show like five times, I decided to ask Chef Hughes on twitter which brand of Jerk seasoning he recommends. He actually promptly responded! I was pleasantly surprised, but Cassie was actually amazed.

Now to find some Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning or something of comparable quality…any tips?


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