Lunch with Chuck Hughes

Being married to a chef means we watch the Asian Food Channel (AFC) a lot. That’s why I when I was invited to have lunch with Chuck Hughes, star of Chuck’s Day Off, I readily accepted and dragged my carcass off my bed.
After all, Edsa Shangri-La’s HEAT is just around the corner.


We come here often, but never had I seen HEAT so filled to the rafters, especially on a Monday lunch.
Turns out they sold many tables to Chuck Hughes fans, waiting to get a glimpse of the Canadian chef.
Lucky for some of us, a select group of media was treated to a cooking demo where chef Hughes used seafood flown in from Canada.


The tall chef arrived wearing a black AFC apron over a black shirt, day-off shorts and sneakers, and immediately spoke nonstop about his love for the Philippines, the people and the food (read: madaldal).
He was introduced by Karra-Lee Gerrits, Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Canada in Manila.


Chuck went on to cook three dishes, assisted by Chef Trixie Hafalla of HEAT


Being married to a chef also means I get turned on whenever a cute guy can chop, season and fry :)


He made Salt-cured cod and roasted garlic spread crouton

Salt-cured cod and roasted garlic spread crouton

Pan-grilled rock perch fillet with green gazpacho

Pan-grilled rock perch fillet with green gazpacho

and Jerk Dungeness crab with chili and chives

Chuck Hughes crab

These were put aside on a table, while the chef sat down with us for quick lunch.
Luckily the entire buffet spread consisted of seafood, which is in sync with my Lenten sacrifice.
What I really loved were the Oysters Rockefeller and the crab.

Chuck Hughes buffet

In between bites, Chef Hughes talked about his trip to the dampa near Manila Bay, where he sampled fresh seafood cooked by locals, enjoyed with halo-halo and green mango with bagoong.

Chuck Hughes in Manila

Chuck Hughes in Manila

Chuck Hughes in Manila

He spoke excitedly about a Filipino episode he recently taped where he cooks adobo pork shanks and pineapple coconut pie for a Filipino father and son.
Having achieved a lot at the age of 35, he still expressed a desire to have kids—but it’s hard right now with two successful restaurants in Montreal, a TV show and traveling all over the world.
“I’m lucky to have a girlfriend who understands,” said Chuck of Sabrina Bronfen, whom he gets to see maybe six days in a month whenever he’s in Canada. Chuck spoke of her fondly and describes her as a very good cook.
(He forgot to mention, she is gorgeous.)

GILT CITY and FOOD NETWORK COOKING  CHANNEL host the James Beard Foundation Chefs Night Out “Pop Up Party” Hosted by Anne Burrell, host of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and Lee Brian Schrager,Gilt City Chief Lifestyle Advisor

Then Chuck was whisked away to his fans in HEAT (no pun intended) who were waiting for photo ops. He gladly posed for pictures, stopping only briefly for a bathroom break. (Okay ang dami nila….)

Pila balde

All this time, I didn’t want to leave because I was eyeing the Dungeness crab on the table. I gathered enough guts to ask Lesley Tan, Director of Communications at Edsa Shangri-La, if I could take home the crab for dinner.
Imagine my excitement when she said yes!
Then imagine my shock when I saw her taking this to the back

Lesley Tan

Dungeness crab from Canada

No, Lesley, not that crab, the one Chuck cooked! I was so embarrassed. I wanted my husband to try it at home :)
Oh, you mean, this crab.

Chuck Hughes in Manila

Chuck was back, so we made him chika. I asked him to show us his tatts.

Chuck Hughes tattoo

There’s lemon meringue pie

Chuck Hughes tattoo


Chuck Hughes tattoo

and the perfect temperature for baked potato

Chuck Hughes tattoo

Chuck said he loves talangka so much, he’s planning to make it his next tattoo. He is really one of the most pleasant, nicest, down-to-earth celebs I have ever met.
And I came home with the best swag ever—Chuck Hughes Dungeness chili crab in a takeout container.
Special thanks to my 4th grade best friend, Annie Ick, who now works at the Shang!

Annie Ick

That night I sat down for dinner with my husband and kids who luckily are not into crabs.
The cook heated up the crab in our airfryer. My husband had two bites and I had it all to myself.
I can tell you this much: I was in heaven. I’m convinced Chuck Hughes is a wonderful chef!

Inside the Mind Museum

Like many people, I was excited to see the Mind Museum, hopefully before everyone else does.
I had already bought entrance tickets to the Mind Museum for its opening day (March 16) when I thought of asking my friend Ginggay if she had connections inside. Her mom does, so Ginggay brought a bunch of us in last Saturday for a preview.
The Mind Museum is called the “first world class museum in the Philippines” with over 250 inter-active “minds-on” and hands-on exhibits. Because of the ultra-modern building design (by Architect Ed Calma) and all the people behind it, we had high expectations—we don’t usually see things like these opening in Manila, ever.
But maybe I’m not the market. I never liked science in school, I also got bored with the Singapore Science Centre.
The tickets I paid for on opening day cost me Php 750 each for an unlimited day pass, but after the tour, I felt it was worth only Php 500 tops.
Let me digress for a bit. I was given an Olympus F1.8 camera to test, so all the pictures in this entry were taken by this camera.


Here’s a summary of what we saw: This female voiced-robot will greet you at the entrance, but the voice isn’t robotic at all.


The next thing we saw was this uninteresting giant candy bar with a giant fly on top of it.
Lucky if you can get one of these tour guides to explain everything



There were giant test tubes (don’t know what they’re for).
Actually there were a lot of things there that appeared more decorative than interesting.


Here’s a cilia


Noel was looking at some 3D stuff


Very Ed Calmic, if you ask me


Everyone was taking pictures everywhere and it’s allowed. Thank you security guards for being friendly.


Here comes the cool stuff: a giant T-rex skeleton that looked very realistic


You can climb some stairs for a better view, but the carpeted stairs were falling apart, even before opening date


Apart from the giant T-rex, the star of the show was this giant butanding, where everyone had the same idea of taking a picture with their head inside the mouth (kind of like everyone has the same idea when taking a picture at the Leaning Tower of Pisa)


I really liked the 3-D Periodic Table of Elements


Each capsule had an object inside which had the featured element


Walking through this tunnel


Love the Margielic giant brain with neon lights


Very cool: Electrostatic ball, which makes your hair stand




I’m afraid for my boys’ comments/imagination when they see this evolution of man chuchu


Especially the small creature on the right


This one is so creepy


A very cool hand with Penny (L) and Grace


Ok, I really love this moon. Wish I had one on our roofdeck. Can I buy this?


There’s this enclosed dome you can enter with a starry show inside. You have to take off your shoes when you enter. I did not enter because it smelled of cachichas. May I recommend Air & Odor Management?


I’m glad to say the restrooms are Singapore-standard. How I wish Ed Calma would be hired to fix NAIA.



Toilet paper, complete water closet with cover, and decent trash bin


This beautiful shot reminds me of a scene from Logan’s Run, my favorite ’70s sci-fi movie.


If they would screen movies here, they should show Logan’s Run. Here’s the auditorium


Going up and down the escalator, I realized the Olympus camera has no movie setting, so I guess I’m going back to Canon


Here’s one of my favorite rooms—it’s a function room. It made me wish for an empty room in my house, so I’m gonna get rid of so many things hopefully next week.


There’s a cool X-ray machine that wasn’t working yet. Guess which one’s my bag?


I understand there were many sponsors for this project, I just don’t think it’s necessary to give them a booth. Here’s the American Standard display on the second floor. I certainly hope it’s not a permanent exhibition

Noel's trying to ask Chloe to sit on the toilet

Spotted: Ed Calma checking out the premises.

Ed Calma

He did a really good job design-wise. But the building design and structure are far more superior to the actual features of the museum. For example, the 2nd floor was a complete waste of space. They even had arcade games in there (space filler much?).
I’ll bring my kids back on opening day and see how they like it. Maybe it really is for kids and I expected too much, but most of the adults I spoke to were also underwhelmed.
Well, there’s always room and time for improvement.

To buy advance tickets and know more about the Mind Museum, go to

Repertory Philippines’ Jekyll & Hyde opens March 16th

Back in the day (early ’80s for me and my classmates) there was no Internet, no digital cameras, and all those gadgets that keep kids occupied today.
My high school classmates and I actually dressed up and went to the theater—in our case, Repertory Philippines. We had silly crushes on actors like Audie Gemora and Raymond Lauchengco (before he went mainstream and joined the cast of Bagets).

Forty-five years ago two women dreamed of giving Filipinos a chance to watch world-standard plays in their own country. Armed with this passionate desire, Zeneida Amador and Baby Barredo performed Miss Julie in front of seven people.
Thus began Repertory Philippines Foundation, Inc. which marks its 75th season this 2012.
To celebrate, Repertory Philippines mounts the Broadway and West End hit musical, Jekyll and Hyde, top billed by theater stalwart Michael Williams and rock icon Jet Pangan alternating in the lead role.

Jekyll & Hyde

An evocative tale of the epic battle between good and evil, Jekyll & Hyde is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale about a brilliant doctor whose experiments with human personality create a murderous counterpart.
Convinced that the cure for his father’s mental illness lies in the separation of Man’s evil nature from his good, Dr. Henry Jekyll unwittingly unleashes his own dark side, wreaking havoc in the streets of late 19th century London as the savage, maniacal Edward Hyde.

Jekyll & Hyde

Jett Pangan plays the lead role on opening night: March 16, 2012 at 8 PM.
Ticket prices:
Orchestra Center – Php 1,500
Orchestra Side – Php 1,000
Balcony – Php 500

For opening night tickets, call CARMEN at (0917) 528-8085
A portion of the proceeds from the OPENING NIGHT will be given to the Assumption Class ’64 and ’68 School Supplies Project that will benefit a number of Assumption Mission Schools, namely Sta. Rita Academy (Sibalom, Antique), St. Martin School (Crystal Cave, Baguio), San Juan Nepomuceno School (Malibay, Pasay City), Xavier de Kibangay High School (Lantapan, Bukidnon), and St. Vincent’s Academy (Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte).

Was Taylor Kitsch harassed in the Philippines or Indonesia?

I got numerous tweets and comments from last night’s entry, I-Cringe: Taylor Kitsch Tells NAIA Experience To Letterman.

Some of the valid points raised:
1) “Think everything twice first people. If the great Oliver Stone indeed was filming Savages, with an ensemble cast, in the Philippines, it should have made bigger news than The Bourne Legacy. This is Oliver Stone we’re talking about!
I heard Savages is being filmed in Indonesia, where there is an equally problematic corruption situation. Maybe Letterman confused our country with Indonesia and Taylor had no opportunity to correct him. But then again of course, this does not avert the fact that Philippine Customs has a very bad track record when it comes to transparency and good governance (read: KURAKOT!).” — Comment from a reader

My note: I wish these commenters would write their real names so I can give them credit. Pero oo nga naman. If these people were anywhere near the islands, all the stalkers and starf*ckers in town would’ve tweeted it already.


2) Check out all these Bali pics from the filming of Savages:

Taylor Kitsch (Chon), Oliver Stone, Aaron Johnson (Ben) and Moritz Borman (Producer)
L-R: Taylor Kitsch, Oliver Stone, Aaron Johnson, and Moritz Borman

Take note the airport signs behind Taylor Kitsch—so not Filipino

Taylor Kitsch in Bali

Take note, cast member Aaron Johnson with the locals—they don’t look Filipino to me
(P.S. No offence, mas maganda tayo ng slight)

Aaron Johnson with locals

3) Commissioner of Customs Ruffy Biazon certainly did his homework. Read his blog entry which should put the matter to rest. CLICK!

P.S. I don’t think it’s necessary to demand an apology. I think we should just stop talking about it. And you?

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