A Day Off with Chuck Hughes

As if drop dead gorgeous looks, a magnetic disposition and a cute accent were not enough to grab any lady’s attention, celebrity chef Chuck Hughes is also a master cook with a heart of gold. Cooking up  feasts for his friends on his day off is the pretense for the successful show, Chuck’s Day Off, (currently aired on the Asian Food Channel  – AFC). Chuck’s, now famous Montreal restaurant, Garde Manger, is the scene for witnessing fresh local ingredients being transformed into tantalizing temptations for a changing crowd of friends, all to the sound of loud rock n’ roll toe tapping tunes. Kuala Lumpur was lucky enough to be first on the list of three stops for Chuck as part of the Celebrity Chef Series jointly presented by American Express and the AFC. After a number of media and celebrity events in KL, Chuck next moves on to the Philippines and then Singapore before returning home to Canada. 

Ritz Carlton showcased the first of these events where guests were able to partake in a three course meal while being entertained with Chuck’s charm and view live cooking demonstrations of the magic behind each dish. We soon learned that many of Chuck’s secrets are tattooed to his body, such as the perfect temperature for deep frying (275 degrees) and some of his favourite foods (arugula, lemon meringue pie, lobster and pomegranate). Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Spicy Honey, Pan-seared Beef Carpaccio with Potato Chips, Fried Capers and Lemon Aioli and, Chocolate Risotto Arancini were the three recipes he shared (pictured above). Now you too can do as Chuck and make this meal for your friends as he was kind enough to disclose the recipe for each dish below:
Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Spicy Honey
Makes 6-8 servings
Popcorn Shrimp
£  2 pounds or 1kg of rock shrimp
£  4 eggs, beaten
£  ½ cup of 125ml of flour
£  2 cups of 500ml of cornstarch (Maizena)
£  Salt and pepper
£  Oil for deep-frying
Spicy Honey
£  1 cup or 250ml of honey
£  1 garlic clove, mashed
£  1 tsp or 15ml of peppercorn
£  1 tsp or 15ml of chilli flakes
£  1 tsp or 15ml of smoked paprika
£  Sea salt
£  Lemon wedges
Method (Spicy honey):
1.     Heat a saucepan on medium heat. Stir in all ingredients.
2.     Bring ingredients to a boil and let simmer for 2 minutes.
3.     Let cool and strain mixture.
4.     Transfer to a squeezable bottle and keep aside.
Method (Popcorn shrimp):
1.     Preheat fryer to 360°C (680°F).
2.     In a bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Coat the shrimp with the egg mixture, and then with the cornstarch mixture.
3.     Deep-fry the shrimps. Thereafter, season with salt and pepper.
Method (Serving):
1.     After frying the shrimps, drizzle with spicy honey.
2.     Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.
Pan-seared Beef Carpaccio with Potato Chips, Fried Capers and Lemon Aioli

Serves 1 

For the Potato Chips and Fried Capers
£  3 Yukon Gold potatoes, very thinly sliced
£  2 tbsp or 30ml of salt
£  ¼ cup or 60ml of small capers
£  Kosher salt to taste
£  Vegetable oil for frying
£  4 cups of baby spinach
£  4 tbsp or 45ml of extra olive oil
£  1 tbsp or 15ml of minced chives
£  Kosher salt
Beef Carpaccio
£  1½ pound or 675g of beef tenderloin
£  1 tbsp or 15 ml of crushed coriander seeds
£  1 tbsp or 15ml of crushed cumin seeds
£  1 tbsp or 15ml of crushed mustard seeds
£  1 tbsp or 15ml of Kosher salt
£  1 tbsp or 15ml of crushed black pepper
£  2 tbsp or 30ml of canola oil

Lemon Aioli

£  1 clove of garlic
£  1 tsp or 5ml of Kosher salt
£  1 tsp or 5ml of Dijon mustard
£  1 egg
£  1 cup or 250ml of olive oil
£  Juice and zest of ½ lemon
£  2 tbsp or 30ml of water
£  Salt and pepper

Method (Beef Carpaccio):

1.     In a small bowl, mix the spices together and coat the beef completely with the spice mix.
2.     In a pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sear beef for approximately 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crusted.
3.     Wrap beef tenderloin in a plastic wrap and place beef tenderloin in the refrigerator until it is ready to be sliced.
Method (Aioli):
1.     Crush garlic with the back of the knife. Place crushed garlic, salt and Dijon mustard in a bowl.
2.     Add egg to the mixture. Whisk the eggs till combined.
3.     Slowly add oil into the mixture until the aioli emulsifies and becomes thick and creamy.
4.     Add lemon juice and zest. If necessary, add water into the mixture to get preferred consistency.
5.     Season with salt and pepper.
6.     Keep refrigerated until it is ready for use. Use aioli within 24 hours.
Method (Chips):
1.     Rinse the potato slices under cold water. Place them in a large bowl and season with 2 tablespoons of salt.
2.     Submerge potatoes in cold water* and set aside.
3.     Drain potatoes and pat dry with paper towels.
4.     Dry capers with paper towels. Set aside.
* Chef’s Tip:  The longer the potatoes stay in water, the crispier they will be when you fry them!

Chocolate Tapioca Arancini
Makes 6 to 8 arancinis
Chocolate Center
£  2 cups or 500 ml of chopped chocolate
£  1 cup or 250ml of cream

Pearl Tapioca

£  2 cups or 500ml of cold water
£  ½ cup of 125ml of small pearl tapioca
£  1 cup or 250ml of milk
£  1 cup or 250ml of cream (35%)
£  1 cup or 250ml of sugar
£  Zest from 1 orange
£  1 vanilla bean, sliced and seeds scraped
Method (Chocolate Center):
1.     Heat cream in a saucepan. Add chocolate and stir until it has melted and combined with cream.
2.        Transfer to a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and press the plastic on to the chocolate to prevent a skin from forming.
3.     Keep chocolate refrigerated for 1 hour until it is firm.
Method (Pearl Tapioca):
1.      Soak tapioca in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain the water.
2.      In a saucepan on medium heat, add milk, cream, sugar, orange zest and vanilla bean.
3.      Add in the small tapioca pearls and bring it to a boil.
4.      Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 25 minutes.
5.      Transfer to a bowl and let it cool.
6.      Keep mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until it sets.
7.      Using your hands*, shape mixture into golf ball sizes and flatten.
8.      Insert a spoonful of the chocolate into the center and reshape the ball.
9.      Place them on a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper.
10.    Meanwhile, preheat oil in fryer to 180°C (350°F).
11.    Dredge each ball into flour. Then, dip into egg mixture and then roll in the Panko breadcrumbs.
12.    Drop each ball in the hot oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown.
13.    Drain and transfer to a plate that is lined with paper towel.
* Chef’s Tip: When rolling and handling tapioca, wet your hands with water to prevent mixture from sticking to your hands.
You can catch Chuck Wednesday’s at 9pm on the AFC.
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  1. He is indeed very sexy with all those tattoos, especially when he starts cooking =)

  2. D tattoo cook…….

  3. i just realized … from a certain angle, chuck hughes could pass off for a twin brother of ryan seacrest! 😀

  4. I think I would have been too busy drooling at him lol!

  5. The beef carpaccio was yummy!

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