Monday, June 9, 2014

Baking with chef Chuck Hughes




I know I haven’t posted in a while and I’d really like to apologize to my readers for taking so long. I honestly just haven’t had time. As some of you may already know, I started working for Garde Manger (chef Chuck Hughes’s restaurant) in the beginning of the year and it has been a very busy but truly rewarding experience.

Before the restaurant I was in a very early morning lifestyle, starting bright at 7 o’clock and arriving home between 4 and 5pm, but since the beginning of the year I went from an early morning worker to a very late night one. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that change. I frankly despise the alarm clock going off at 5 am and being in a zombie like state for the rest of the day. But I’m still adapting to this big change and trying to find time for everything I want to do.

The restaurant is great and the food is amazing. I actually went there for the first time last week as a client and was treated like a queen. The staff was super attentive and the food was more than satisfying and really well done.

But What I really wanna write about today is my experience with Chuck. You may know him from his popular shows on food network: Chuck’s day off and Chuck’s week off, which were both filmed at the restaurant, or even from Top Chef.

Every time he goes to the restaurant I am amazed as how nice he is. He is always helping out everyone and even scrubs pan and pots really hard to help the dishwasher. I go up to make dessert (because I work in the basement kitchen) and there he is, in the dish pit, making sure everything gets done. He is such a nice guy, always with a big smile on his face and ready for action.

I love the ideas he gives me and all the inspiration pictures we discuss in our meetings.

I actually got to bake with him last month and it was an amazing experience. It was maple syrup season and he decided we should serve Chomeur (a classic Québecois dessert) and just opened up a book and started baking for me. We discussed the sauce consistency and the right pot to serve it and voilà, we created the perfect dessert for the season. It was so delicious we actually had it on the menu for 2 weeks, on demand, as it took 20 minutes to bake and it was served hot with a vanilla ice cream scoop on top. Yum! We sold out every night, of course!

Right now it’s summer and it’s all about our new Pacojet (a machine that makes ice cream between other great stuff) and there he was again, creating new fantastic ice cream flavors.

You can tell he loves what he does, just by looking at his face when you try something he’s made, or when he gets super excited to try something new I made.

Between all the photographs with clients and fans and all the shows and tours he does he still has time to seat and talk about his dessert ideas, and help everyone around. I’m very proud of working for such a nice, creative and professional chef.

And if you like him and would like to meet him, just stop by the restaurant for a delicious and hearty meal and you might spot him, walking around and hanging out with his biggest fans: his employees. And if you want a taste of his creations, just order the affogatto and you’ll taste his white chocolate vanilla ice cream inside a warm cup of espresso served with chocolate dipped meringue and topped with orange peel candy.

The restaurant is at: 408 St François Xavier St, in the old port.

For reservations and info: