Chuck's Day Off - The Big Three

By: Mark Levine
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THE BIG THREE things to know about Chuck Hughes, his restaurant Garde Manger and his series on Cooking Channel, Chuck's Day Off...

THE SERIES - Chuck's Day Off

1) The series was shot around Chuck’s restaurant’s schedule;  filming in the kitchen on his actual days off, Mondays.

2) Chuck’s staff, family, suppliers, tattoo artist and friends all dropped by the restaurant on his day off and are featured over the course of the series.

3) A fire broke out above the restaurant during the shoot – that’s right, above, and not in the kitchen.  It is was quickly put out, but the restaurant and production, were shut down for a week. The firemen were thanked with a Salt Roasted Prime Rib and Oysters which you'll see in one of the episodes.

THE CHEF - Chuck Hughes

1) His first job in a professional kitchen was as ‘‘garde-manger,’’ or pantry chef. The garde-manger’s duties focus on salads, soups, cold food items, and dessert platings.

2) Chuck calls oysters the ‘true love of my life’. He regularly competes in oyster shucking competitions and once shucked over 1000 oysters for a fundraiser.

3) While he was still in school, Chuck melded his passion for food with his love of rock n’roll by catering for the traveling motley crew of punk rockers on the Vans Warped Tour. Years later, he ended up cooking for his favorite rock bands during the Coachella Music Festival, in the legendary Frank Sinatra Twin Palms mansion in Palm Desert Valley, California.

4) Chuck’s mom Francine still looks over his shoulder in the kitchen, she makes all the desserts for Garde-Manger.

THE RESTAURANT -  Garde Manger - Montreal, Canada

1) Chuck not only creates the menu, he likes to create the soundtracks by DJ’ing whenever he’s not in the kitchen.  He’s likely to spin anything from Frank Sinatra to reggae during first service, while the Beastie Boys and Guns N’ Roses kick in for the second round of guests.

2) The restaurant’s signature drink is the King Crab Bloody Caesar, served with fresh horseradish and a giant King Crab leg in lieu of a swizzle stick.

3) Chuck’s version of the Scottish deep-fried Mars bar is so popular, he hasn’t taken it off the menu in over two years.

4) Chuck and his partners thought it would be a green, budget-friendly idea to use recycled material to spruce up the place when they first opened.  The wood-paneling on the bar is actually two old doors they found in the basement when they moved in.

What's your favorite thing to cook (or not cook) on your day off?

Catch Chuck's Day Off on Cooking Channel, beginning on May 31st.

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