Lunch with Chuck Hughes
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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!

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