Here’s the thing: Chuck Hughes never actually gets a day off.

If you’ve ever seen his Food Network show, Chuck’s Day Off is a peek into the after-hour cooking magic that happens when the bills have been settled, the plates have been cleared and the last customers have left his bustling Montreal-based restaurant, Garde Manger.

That’s when the staff, family, friends and regulars gather ‘round and watch as he veers off the scripted menu grid to create meals based on what his inner circle really wants to eat. It’s spontaneous and organic and bursting with the sense that the man is simply crazy passionate about food.

His latest cookbook Chuck’s Day Off is a closer glimpse into this process. Here we get a look at the dishes inspired by the very people that make his restaurant tick. The landlords, the fish mongers, the butcher, the wine guy, and the owners of the mom-and-pop sandwich shop around the corner, who inspired him to experiment with kimchi.

In all, Chuck’s Day Off is a bit like a giant recipe-based thank you note. We’re just lucky to get the chance to join the conversation.

Sample recipes inside include: Chinatown Steamed Oysters, Kimchi, Duck-Fat Fries with Homemade Mayonnaise, Dungeness Crab Salad with Crackers, Green Paella, Fried Chicken, Homemade Ketchup, Smoked Barbecue Pork with Watercress Salad, The Simplest Chocolate Chip Cookies with Maldon Sea Salt, Lemon Madeleines.

Get these recipes now:

Lobster Cobb Salad

Lobster cobb salad

Green Paella

Green paella

Dirty Leg of Lamb

Dirty leg of lamb

Molten Caramel Cake

Molten caramel_1498

Buy the book here: Chuck’s Day Off

GIVEAWAY: We’ve got a copy of Chuck’s Day Off and it could be yours. To win a copy simply follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with answering the following question: What is the name of Chuck Hughes’ Montreal restaurant? Tag your answer with the hashtag #chucksdayoff

Giveaway Rules:

The following are the giveaway rules (“Rules”) for Chuck’s Day Off Giveaway (the “Giveaway”) being administered by Shaw Media (“Shaw”).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, entrants must follow the Giveaway guidelines above, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run until September 12, 2014 at 5 pm, after which time no answers will be considered.

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BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at