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Chuck takes the day off to challenge Bobby? [SPOILERS]

Today's Iron Chef America:
"It's network vs. network when Cooking Channel host Chuck Hughes uses his "Day Off" to enter into battle at Kitchen Stadium. Will Iron Chef Bobby Flay defend the honor of the Chairman, or will the new kid on the block take him down?"

While I find Chuck's cooking interesting and instructive, I'm having trouble picturing him in the ICA arena.

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  1. It was a good episode.

    I would comment on the winner but since there's no spoiler alert, I'll refrain.

    By the way, I never realized how tall Chuck Hayes is ... at least compared to the Chairman and Bobby Flay.

    1. can we add "spoiler alert" to the title? I enjoyed the episode...and that is all I will say. Except, and this is no spoiler, but is there some trade agreement with Great Britain that every food show with judging has to have one British "witty snarky" judge???

      1 Reply
      1. re: karenfinan

        I've never seen a British judge on Chopped.

        We Brits are snarky we can't help it!

      2. Truly an excellent episode, my favorite of all time. Chuck is a bit of a fish out of water and when the chairman was saying it was time to get serious and pick an IC I thought he was trying not to laugh.


        1. Jan 13, 2011 8:00 PM ET/PT
          Jan 14, 2011 3:00 AM ET/PT
          Jan 15, 2011 5:00 PM ET/PT

          In case anyone missed it.

          1. thought it was kind of a boring episode.. Flays sous chef is a mess and should be fired immediately.. She runs around clueless.. This is the second time I've seen her like that.. She is definitely not fit for IC..

            8 Replies
            1. re: SDGourmand

              What is up with that sous chef? She was getting on my nerves! Does she do all that to get her own show like Anne Burrell or something?

              Anyways it was great to see Chuck Hughes on the show and win. He's one of my favourites from the Canadian Food Network, love his show!

                1. re: paulj

                  How about the Chairman? What's with all the head and hand gestures. He reminded me of the cartoon character, Samurai Jack! When did Alton Brown become an ad man?
                  I guess I never really paid attention to those details before.

                  I thought overall the lobster was wasted and neither menu really knocked me out. The one sous chef was a hot mess but Chef Flay seemed off all night from the start. Chuck's natural smile and enthusiasm event on Chuck's Day Off was not maximized on IC.

                  Editing or not, it was a huge disappointment for me.

                2. re: gomes

                  Bookmarked.... I want to think about what this sous chef might have in common with Anne Burrell.

                3. re: SDGourmand

                  Phew! I thought I was the only one who found her bumbling and annoying. Actually, it seemed that Mr. Flay was a little annoyed with her as well.

                  1. re: bards4

                    Maybe she was the one that came up with vanilla and lobster. Ick.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      vanilla & lobster is a common pairing, and one that i'll honestly NEVER understand.

                  2. re: SDGourmand

                    ugh. she's a train wreck...and SD Gourmand, you're right, this isn't the first time they've shown her have a meltdown during a battle. i remember wishing someone would slap her the last time too. he needs to replace her ASAP.

                  3. I was sort of surprised that Chuck actually ended up winning. Based on the plating and the judges' reaction during the meal it seemed like Flay would walk away a winner.

                    Maybe the judges connected better with Chuck because he has that "aw shucks" kind of feel about him?

                    Flay comes off as a bit conceited, maybe even arrogant.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      really? i thought it was pretty obvious during the judging of Flay's dishes that he was going to lose.

                    2. Chuck did kind of hulk over everyone, didn't he? His enthusiasm came through, and I thought his dishes showed much more imagination than Flay's. I'm a fan of Chuck, so glad he prevailed.

                      1. This is the second ICA in a row Flay did poorly in, the last one being the goose challenge. Seems as though he's been phoning it in lately, maybe he's going the way of Batali on this show.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jackbauer

                          Batali was one of the best IC's in my opinion.. He has the best record as an iron chef.

                          1. re: SDGourmand

                            I agree. When I say going the way of Batali, I mean maybe he's had enough of doing the show and wants to move on.

                        2. Was Chuck the least decorated of the challengers in Ktichen Stadium?

                          Usu. challengers are James Beard Award winners, winners of some "Best Chef" award, etc.

                          The intro for Chuck was "he enjoys cooking so much he even cooks on his off days, leading to his popular show 'Chucks' Day off'" ...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            He's the head chef at the Garde Manger in Montreal, Canada. A great, great place to eat, probably one of the best places in a city full of great restaurants.

                            1. re: Voidsinger

                              On my to do list this spring! I hope my family & I get to experience Chuck's restaurant while visiting Montreal in May.

                          2. question for anyone who's familiar with Hughes since this was the first time i've ever seen him - is he always so awkward and goofy? he reminds me of a hyperactive teenager who hasn't grown into himself yet - i honestly thought it was a bit jarring to watch.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              He has a show on Cooking Channel (aka Food Network Canada). It's a decent instructional show, though the set appears to a corner of his restaurant kitchen. There he comes across as friendly young chef, equally at home preparing a meal to impress his mentors, or to babysit his neighbor's kids.


                              1. re: paulj

                                i know about his show, but i haven't seen it - unfortunately i don't have the Cooking Channel with my current cable package. i was just wondering if his demeanor on ICA was representative of the way he usually is. he seems like a perfectly nice guy (albeit a bit goofy), but his energy is a bit too frenetic for my taste. different strokes, as they say...

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I've watched a good deal of Chuck's Day Off and it's probably my fav program on CC. Why, because Chuck knows his stuff but has a playful spirit that is infectious on his staff and customers. I would not call his demeanor goofy.

                                  I've also made a number of his dishes, following the online recipes, and they all work. The tomato cheese tart was on my table yesterday.

                                  Sorry you don't receive the channel ghg, you might feel differently.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    thanks for the feedback - that's what i was wondering! i've been considering changing my cable package to include the Cooking Channel - posts like yours make me think it may be worth sitting on the phone for an eternity with Time Warner :)

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I know what you're referring to ghg. I watch Chuck's Day Off quite regularly, but when I tuned in to ICA, I didn't recognize him, at first, as the same chef I like so much on his own show.

                                    2. re: HillJ

                                      I saw Chuck make the tomato cheese tart the other day and it looked sooooo good. I thought I would have to wait until tomato season to make it. What kind of tomatoes did you use that turned out a good tart? Thanks.

                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                        dmj, I followed the steps to the letter but due to the selection here in NJ winters, I selected a combo of market tomatoes, big & small-pale greens, yellows and deep reds sliced wide and I used Jarlsberg swiss; then followed Chuck's recipe as written. Delicious! http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

                                        eta: And, scoring really wonderful, fresh basil during NJ winter is harder than tomatoes! All I had was frozen basil in cubes and that won't work in this recipe. Enjoy!

                                  2. re: paulj

                                    I agree. I love the entire set-up of the show. Often he is cooking a meal for the staff. He's got a high Q factor!

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      They finally aired this episode two months later in Canada over the weekend. I don't typically watch Iron Chef and I've never seen any of the iron chefs go down so it was pretty cool to see local boy Hughes beat out Flay.

                                2. I was really baffled by his accent. I thought he was from Montenegro or Croatia, but it appears to be an English/Quebecois melange. The tooth gap is off-putting, very Lauren Hutton circa 1970.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: whs

                                    What? If this was a website for dentists I could grasp the tooth gap mention but frankly off putting is a comment like that.

                                  2. I've never seen a British judge on Chopped.

                                    We Brits are snarky we can't help it!