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C100B Interview: Chuck Hughes

chuck hughes

Chef Chuck Hughes is co-owner of the Montreal restaurants Garde Manger and Le Bremner, a best-selling cookbook author and Food Network star.

When Canada’s 100 Best caught up with the Iron Chef winner and Chopped Canada judge Chuck Hughes, he was fresh back from Iceland, where he was shooting his upcoming culinary adventure travel series Chuck’s World (or Le Monde Selon Chuck, should you tune in his native Quebec).

C100B: Did you eat hákari (Iceland’s national dish – fermented shark)?

Chuck Hughes: Sure – I’m down for anything. We didn’t just eat it – we prepped it! It smells like ammonia, similar to old brie. The texture is soft like raw scallop, and the flavour is…not that bad.
C100B: What brings you to Taste of Toronto?

CH: I came the first year [in 2014]. Not all food festivals are created equal, and this one is up there. The setting is fantastic – downtown, but [lots of grass and] no concrete. It brings together a lot of great like-minded people

C100B: From the Montreal perspective what stands out about these Toronto chefs and restaurants?

CH: Montreal used to always be thought of as the food city, then the tables got turned. You know, in Montreal we smoke, we stay up late, we eat late…but there are two things we are never going to have [that you have in Toronto]: money and people…

C100B: Two fairly essential ingredients for great restaurants. And you’ll be helping to assess those restaurants – by leading the judging team for the Best in Taste award. How do you like judging fellow chefs?

CH: Judging people from Toronto – that’s what I’m good at!

Chuck Hughes will be at Taste of Toronto from June 23-26 – giving cooking demonstrations, leading an interactive master class, and helping to judge Best in Taste, the award for best dish fielded by all participating restaurants.

For a special offer from Taste of Toronto, click here.

Photo: Dominique Lafond

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