Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes visited Toronto yesterday to whip up some savoury dishes with the help of some mighty sweet appliances.
The always affable chef was here for LG Presents Chuck Bites, , promoting The LG ProBake Oven and the LG InstaView Fridge -both of which Hughes has at home, and were used in the intimate cooking demo in the west-end studio.
The fridge features a door that allows you to see what’s inside without opening it with a simple double tap. The Black Stainless Slide in Electric Range with ProBake Convection boasts even cooking and heat distribution thanks to the heating element moved to the back, large capacity to cook more dishes at the same time, and a cleaning cycle that takes just 10 minutes and uses only water, so no chemicals are required. Hughes also appreciates the child lock feature on the stove, now that he has little ones at home.
Chef Hughes - owner and chef of Le Bremner and Garde Manger in Old Montreal - celebrates Garde Manger’s tenth anniversary this year, and a few months ago released a small line of kitchen staples that he feels passionately about.
Take My Greek Landlord’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for instance. Hughes yesterday told the story of his building’s landlord for years urging the chef to use his olive oil from Crete, deeming it “the best.” Annoyed by the constant prodding, Hughes finally sampled it and agreed it was “liquid gold.” Choosing it over high-grade oils from around the globe to stamp his name on, it's bright, green and grassy. Clean, light and versatile, it's superb.
For these carefully curated and crafted products, Hughes partnered with his favourite producers, like his Italian winemaker for white balsamic vinegar and his apple farmer, with whom he makes premium apple cider vinegar.
Want a taste of Garde Manger and Le Bremner? Hughes has been serving My Holy Hot Sauce in both restaurants for years. Packed with refreshing flavour and a light jalapeño kick, this product of Quebec is not just addictive – it has a pretty cool label too.
Hughes created a number of recipes specifically for LG, where these products can be used.
Yesterday he cooked up Tomato Pie with Herb Salad, a recipe he "stole" from his mother, a "great cook." The savoury pie combines fresh tomatoes, basil and sweet onions in a delicate phyllo crust with cheddar topping. It’s an elegant meal that’s simple to make and takes just 20 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to cook. It’s also delicious.
Hughes shared some pro tips:
1. You don’t have to be too exact with the phyllo; in fact, the more scattered the pastry, the better the result.
2. Salting the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes beforehand draws out the moisture, ensuring the pie won’t be soggy
3. A teeny sprinkle of tapioca also helps keep the dough crisp.
You can watch other videos where Hughes cooks up Beef Tartare with Crispy Parsnip and Chuck’s Chicken Dinner, that he says is "almost as good as my Mom’s," as well as download the recipes.
Until his next visit to Toronto, or your reservation at Garde Manger and Le Bremner, you can bring Chef Chuck Hughes into the kitchen by way of his products – available online, as well as in Toronto stores: Bruno’s Fine Foods on Avenue Rd., Cheese Boutique, Harvest Wagon, and McEwan at Shops of Don Mills.