Chuck Hughes has a lot to be celebrating this year.
Not only did he defeat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America last March, Hughes went on to open his second
restaurant, film the third season of his Food Network Canada series Chuck’s Day
compete on The Next Iron
But that’s not all. He has also managed to fit in time in his hectic schedule to film a Food Network Canada
holiday special, Chuckmas.
Lifestyler spoke with the Montreal chef about the TV special and what we can expect to see on his holiday dinner table.
Tell me about your upcoming holiday special, Chuckmas.
People always ask me about home. But at home, I don’t cook. It’s like asking an accountant if he is crunching numbers at home. No. For me, it’s the same thing. I barely, barely, barely cook at home. I just bought a new house with my girlfriend and we’re at a time and an age in our lives where my mom has always done Christmas, my aunt has always done Christmas, my grandmother before them, I finally have a house that is somewhat respectable. (laughs) I finally live in a house that is a home. It’s not a rental. It’s my first new real place. It’s going to be in my house… It’s part Christmas special and it’s part me cooking at home which is something I don’t really do. It was good. It was me getting used to my kitchen. I moved in six months ago, so I’ve never cooked there and I don’t plan to cook there ever again. (laughs) It was great for the special. It was cool. My girlfriend is in it a bit, I get to cook with her.
What kinds of things are you cooking?
I’m going kind of traditional to what my family is. We have some things that we like to eat. From my girlfriend’s side, I have chopped liver. It’s one of those dishes that she makes for me all the time that I love and her family loves. She’s Jewish, so we’re celebrating Hanukkah, we’re celebrating Christmas and we’re celebrating my family. It’s just all about bringing people together and having a good meal. The only little iffy part is inviting your family. They are always your toughest critics. My mom, like everybody else mom, has always got something to say. “You never do things right.” We cook some desserts together in this episode so you see the relationship between my mom and I. It doesn’t matter how old, you’re still a kid. It doesn’t matter if I do this for a living, I still can’t cook. (laughs) In a nice way. It’s a behind the scenes look at really my life, and me throwing a Christmas party for my family. I’m like the first kid of the family that invites everybody else for Christmas. Normally it’s always my aunt or my mom. It’s a different take and it’s part traditional and part turkey, and part chopped liver. It’s fun, it’s a mix.
It must have been nice to have everyone over at your house for a change.
It was cool. The fact that they were at my house for a week and a half. It’s kind of cool to see all of the work that goes into it. But in a sense, it’s kind of overbearing. When it was done it was like, OK, phew, I’m happy to have everybody out of my house. (laughs) I can’t wait to see it. I think it’s going to be a great little special.
Chuckmas airs on Food Network Canada on Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.
To read more from Lifestyler’s interview with Chuck Hughes, make sure to check out our Spring 2012 print edition. •
Photo Courtesy: Food Network Canada