vs. Hughes: Battle Canadian Lobster
Chef Chuck Hughes of Montreal, the owner of Garde
Manger, where he celebrates his love of classic Canadian
comfort food within this international metropolis. When
he's not whipping up food for the masses, he's whipping
up food for his family and friends on his Cooking
Channel series, "Chuck's Day Off". Today, he'll face off
against the king of Food Network, Iron Chef Bobby Flay,
in a battle that will have sister food channels - and
sister nations - squaring off.
Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Christine Sanchez & Renee Forsberg, sous-chefs
Jean-Francois Methot & James Baran, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient: live
Canadian lobster from the waters off of Forchu, Nova Scotia.
The Rules: Each chef must create a
five-course meal, with each course utilizing the theme ingredient,
within 60 minutes. The judges will score the dishes on a
20-point scale: 10 points taste, 5 points plating and
presentation, 5 points creativity and use of ingredient.
The chef that best articulates the theme ingredient
through their dishes wins.
The battle clock is set at 60 minutes, which will start
when the Chairman, with full heart and empty stomach,
utters the words of his dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"
And Battle Canadian Lobster is ON!
Lobster is a delicate meat, and this is considered to be the lobster of
all lobsters, so expect a lot of applications. It's less sweet than the
Maine variety, and not as mushy.
Flay starts with a basic mirepoix, while
Hughes is using brute force to crack his lobster. Renee is working
lobster mushrooms, while JF is working on carrot juice and littleneck
clams in aromatics. They also have some wide fries for a "poutine".
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed."
Flay is working on mango with honey & pepper, pasta dough, and lobster
roe. Hughes counters with beer batter, Yukon gold potato chips, and
lobsters & clam.
- TV food host Stefan Gates ("Cooking in the Danger Zone")
- PR specialist Karine Bakhoum (KB Network News)
- Food writer John T. Edge
Chef Hughes is making his own mayonnaise,
while Chris is redoing the lobster roe... and it's not going in his
butter. Renee is roasting mushrooms. JF is grating horseradish into his
tomato stew, while James is working on a roux. And do we see a
crustacean crepe in the mix?
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Hughes is
making a risotto, a carrot butter, and onion rings. Flay counters with
corn sauce, mango puree, and deep-fried lobster. And Hughes is back in
the altar grabbing more lobster. Flay's pasta dough is turning into a
papardelle. Meanwhile, Flay is frying okra, and Hughes is making a
cocktail of sorts. It's a Montreal Bloody Mary.
"Fifteen minutes to go." And Flay has a
look of horror on his face over, of all things, lobster. Flay has fried
lobster, pasta noodles in tomato sauce, and the wild-rice waffle is
waffling. Hughes, on the other hand, has lobster mushroom risotto,
lobster gravy, and jerk lobster.
Hughes has his cocktail, a Montreal
Caesar with Lobster and a lobster roll stuffed into a roll with chips.
Flay has a lobster gumbo with shell from the grill and a blue corn
stick. The waffle comes out well, now to toast. They also have the
pasta. Hughes is finishing his poutine.
"Five minutes to go." Hughes' lobster
jerk is out, and he's also plating a knuckle salad. Flay has a salad of
his own. JF has the lobster risotto. Flay has a grilled lobster. Still a
lot of cooking and plating with "One minute to go." The wild-rice waffle
is a curry. That'll be five. Hughes has five of his own, and Hughes is
not happy with the jerk.
"Five seconds... three... two... one... "
And Battle Canadian Lobster is history. Put it down and walk away.
TASTING & JUDGMENT
know it's gonna go by fast, but it goes by a lot faster than you think. This is
a little taste of Montreal."
- Lobster Roll and Caesar
- Lobster Poutine
- Lobster & Onion Ring Salad
- Lobster Mushroom Risotto
- Jerk Spiced Lobster
Flay: "The Canadian lobster has a
nice hard shell, which means that the meat will be nice and sweet and very firm,
and to me that's the perfect lobster."
- Crispy Lobster Salad
- Grilled Lobster Tail
- Freeform Lobster Lasagna
- Red Curry Lobster
- Lobster Gumbo
Hughes's panel goes from sort of
lightweight to knockout in lightning speed, a great work of the
"workingman's dishes" theme. Flay went out of the box on his panel of
dishes. He had some hits and misses, but there was always a level of
unbalance. So we have a classical panel versus something out there.
Whose cuisine reigns supreme?
... 45-41 in favor of
Challenger Chuck Hughes. Both went for the haute-cuisine
approach in their presentation, but Chef Hughes bested
the best in taste and originality, which gives him the
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
To see this episode in its entirety, go to