Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes is set to rock Osheaga’s kitchen
Photo by Martin Laprise
If you’re lucky enough to get backstage at this year’s Osheaga music festival that runs from tomorrow through Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau, make sure to bring your appetite because you’re definitely going to be well-fed.
For the third year in a row, Montreal chef and culinary darling Chuck Hughes is pulling out all the stops with his elaborate makeshift outdoor kitchen to cater to all the rock stars, VIPs and high-level hangers-on.
“We definitely get better every year,” Hughes says. “We’re setting up a full kitchen outdoors, so it’s a real challenge, but somehow it works.”
“If anything, we recreate as much as possible a restaurant environment, outside.”
“We’re really excited about what we’re making this year. I don’t want to give away any secrets, but there will be more food than anyone could ever want!” he says.
If the past few years have been any indication, this year will be equally extravagant. Previous years featured a smoker, spit-roasted chicken and whole lamb, a raw bar with oysters and fresh seafood, a fully stocked dépanneur and fresh fruit shake bar.
“Not only do we want the food to be better this year, we’re making a makeshift garden with real vegetables growing; we have a tattoo artist on site and graffiti artists doing their thing. It’s not just about the food — it’s really about the whole experience,” he says.
Although Hughes has been busy filming his new Food Network series, Chuck Eats the Street and promoting his Garde Manger cookbook, he always finds the time for this gig, something he looks forward to all year.
“The obvious reason of why I keep coming back is that it’s probably one of the best music festivals in North America, not only because of the venue, but the care that’s taken in making it all work,” he explains. “The less obvious reason is that, when I was starting out in cooking school, I used to do this kind of stuff — cater for bands backstage in my early days. And the real reason? Man, I wish I was in a band!”
If you can’t make it backstage for Osheaga, Hughes and his crew will continue to cook up a storm all the way through Heavy MTL, at Parc Jean-Drapeau Aug. 10-11. ■
Joanna Fox is a Montreal food writer who has collaborated on several projects with Chuck Hughes, including his former television show, Chuck’s Day Off, and his work at Osheaga.