If you are Canadian and are an avid Food Network junkie; you surely have heard of Chuck Hughes, host of Chuck’s Day Off. Back in November 2010, Hughes released an entirely French version of GARDE MANGER (cleverly named after his first restaurant in old Montreal). Finally- the English version of GARDE MANGER has hit the shelves featuring recipes from his show, from his restaurant and from his heart. Boy does this guy have heart…
As if Chuck wasn’t dreamy enough to look at; his newest book comes complete with a heartfelt thank you to all of his staff, his book is dedicated “for anyone who’s ever cooked on the line or washed dishes” and a photo with his mother in the back of the book (*sigh)! It’s no secret that Chuck gives back to his community; is very open on his show about coming from a troubled background and how cooking “saved his life” so-to-speak. His passion for cooking and food shines through the little descriptions and write up’s throughout this book.
Let’s talk about the recipes. There’s a whole chapter titled “Amaaazing” with dishes like lobster poutine, preserved pork belly (are you drooling yet?!) and of course what would a French-Canadian book without some foie gras? Duck breast & foie gras in a red wine sauce?! Yes please! Another cool factor is almost every recipe in this book has a crisp, detailed photo to go along with. Included also are photos of Chuck’s staff along with various nooks and crannies around the restaurant. This book is a labour of love with entire chapters dedicated to cocktails, seafood, small plates and “potato crazy”- Chuck’s homage to the potato! “Staff Meals” is another chapter showcasing new recipes that his staff share with one another such as: chipotle pork chops with potato risotto or veal cheeks in beer (yum!).
The book ends with an entire chapter dedicated to deserts; dishes like: fried mars bar, rocky road brownies and his mom’s famous pecan pie. For those who don’t know, Hughes’ mother was the reason GARDE MANGER began serving desert and her pecan pie is a staple at the restaurant. Remembering “tastes of childhood” is Chuck’s entire philosophy for his desert menu; fitting that the inspiration came from his own mother.
GARDE MANGER is full of recipes that are ultimate comfort foods; ingredients are all relatively easy to find, recipes range in level of difficulty. I guarantee anyone could find at least a few recipes that they are DYING to try. If I had to say though, I believe this book is for the foodie nerd (like myself). The one that dreams in food, gushes about that restaurant they went to last weekend, gets a wave of excitement when they discover a new flavour. This is the kind of book where you want to lock yourself away for a week and try each and every single recipe. For now that just might have to do seeing as there’s about a six month waiting list to get into the GARDE MANGER restaurant…
where: book available at: www.chapters.indigo.ca
review: © cooking with(out) annette