Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hot Pepper Cook-off Challenge and Chuck Hughes' SUPER BURGER!

I was recently nominated to be one of the final three contenders in the Canadian Food Network Community's cook-off challenge, hosted by none other than our hometown chef Chuck Hughes of Garde Manger restaurant, and who, you might recall, won the battle against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef.  My competitors, community friends from the site, are "Ava DJ" and "Alley B". I couldn't be in better company for the coveted Hot Pepper award. Our cook-off challenge was determined by the outcome of community members' votes  which  chose Chuck's "Super Burger" recipe. Our entries were submitted and posted, now all that is left is for you to visit the site and vote for the next Hot Pepper  winner. You have until May 11th to vote by simply clicking the Hot Pepper link. The recipe for the burgers and homemade ranch dressing can be found by clicking: Chuck's Super Burgers. I went the extra mile for the challenge by making my own hamburger buns from the trusted Canadian Living recipes, and which I highly recommend. 

Chuck’s restaurant, Garde Manger  located in Old Montreal.

Chuck's staff ...ready with a smile and encouragement when I visited, scouting for tips.

This being a labour of love, I turned to some of my favourite shops to ensure the best ingredients,Viandal a family run butcher shop was a must not only for the meat needed for the recipe, but also for the warm greeting you get as you enter the door. After all, the challenge isn't just about winning so...
Merci, Bernard for your fine meat products, your sunny disposition and good wishes as I embarked on this fun challenge.
I turned to Quebec Smoked Meat Products Co. at 1889 Centre, Montreal for the best bacon around.

Local raclette cheese (similar to gruyère) from Fromagerie Fritz Kaiser ( Noyan,Quebec) was used in the burgers and for the topping.

Homemade ranch dressing was a must for Chuck's super burgers...

and of course no store bought buns for theses homemade buns from Canadian Living


  1. Those burgers look amazing!!!

  2. I'll have to agree with Sarah. The burgers look juicy and delicious.

  3. You did absolutely fantastic Anna! I am so thoroughly impressed that you went to Chuck's restaurant AND made homemade buns. Just like a Hot Pepper would do!

  4. Sarah, thanks for dropping by. They must be the biggest burgers I've ever wonder they are called "super burgers".

    Nisrine, thanks for your comment. They were really delicious.

    Susie, Chuck is so nice and unpretentious that I figured I had nothing to lose by visiting and glad I did. His staff is amazing. It was one of the young men who suggested we go to the kitchen for the picture, and this while they were in the middle of prepping for dinner! I really appreciate your kind support.

  5. As I said on the blog post on FN you 3 have really left me in a quandry. There were traps in the recipe and you all handled them with great resourcefullness! I am so green with envy that you had the chance to visit Chuck's place.
    Any way I have really enjoyed you post and good luck in the voting !!

  6. You are definitely up to the challenge - the burgers astound and those homemade buns are the perfect accompaniment.

  7. The burgers look super! How cool that you even baked your own burger buns! Excellent.

  8. Those burgers look so amazing, and the melted cheese with all the toppings. Yumm' I can just reach through the monitor screen and grab that burger!
    Your fabulous photos of the restaurant and the chef is so cute!
    Great job, Anna...glad you had a lovely Easter:DDD
    ...and thank you for caring

  9. Yum...Yum..Yum... I can totally vouch for how delicious these burgers actually are LOL! These will definitely be making a comeback at my dinner table. Anna, ahead of the competition I said "make Chuck proud!" I think it's more than safe to say that you have and then some. How cool of them to invite you into their kitchen, it doesn't get anymore fun than this. Your burgers are astounding!

  10. Wow! You really went the extra mile. I am a certified burger fanatic, and I am very impressed!

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  12. Wayne, it's always nice to have a visit from you. No wonder you're in a quandary, Ava and Alley made some outstanding burgers. Even my mom zoned in on their great presentation. Regardless of the outcome, this has been a fun experience. I'm so lucky to be in such good company with these two fine ladies.
    Wayne, if you ever get to Montreal, you definitely have to treat yourself to Garde Manger. You would absolutely love Chuck's restaurant...totally unpretentious with amazing food and excellent service.

    Claudia, thanks for your vote of confidence. I appreciate your support.
    It's the first time I've made burger buns. They really held up well, unlike most store bought ones which tend to fall apart. I really recommend the recipe.

    Thanks Angie, the burgers were a big hit. Store bought buns can't hold a candle to homemade ones.

    Elisabeth thanks for your wonderful support. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. This has been such a fun challenge. The ladies I'm competing against couldn't be nicer.
    Glad to hear that your ankle is on the mend. I bet you can't wait to ditch the walker. Take good care.

    Ava, so much for your vote of own mom is in my competitors' camp. LOL I made the mistake of showing her the FN site, and she was duly impressed with your stunning photo presentation. I guess I know who is getting her vote. Seriously, she really loved your post, informing me that it was a winner. I can't disagree with her. Ava you did a beautiful job with the burgers and accompanying photos. Amazing wonder they were a hit with your kids.
    I'm so glad I got up the nerve to ask if I could visit the restaurant, even though it was closed. I still can't believe the welcome I received. The Garde Manger staff is so down to earth and super nice, just like the chef himself.

    Thanks Angela. That make two burger fanatics. I will often order a burger when I'm out. We don't have a BBQ,so I rarely make them at home.
    These were the exception. They were quite tasty, in spite of the fact that they were not grilled.

  13. You did such a wonderful job Anna! I don't even eat meat and I got hungry looking at this ;)
    Voted of course :)

  14. Hi Anna! Great job!
    I'm your 12th voter! Good luck! :)

  15. Alisha, I can't thank you enough for voting. It's so uplifting to have blogger friends go to bat for you! To be honest, this was even too much meat for a carnivore like me. The burgers were humongous.

    Thanks Tina for your I mentioned to Alisha it's so uplifting to have this support from blogger friends. Have a great week!

  16. Wow! This looks fabulous. I went over and voted for you! My fingers are crossed that you will take the coveted award. :-)


  17. Velva, thanks so much for taking the time to vote! I'm touched by your support. Have a lovely week.

  18. Your food is beautiful!! I'll be back to look more later. I noticed your comment about Saveurs Best Food Blogs and wondered where you saw this? It is news to me? Do you have a link? Thanks!!

  19. Hi Anna,

    I stumbled upon your blog. You have a nice space. Those burgers looks awesome. I am happy to follow you.

  20. juicy and delicious and I dont care how many have already said that - there are no other words to convey that message besides maybe full of moisture and tasty and that just wont cut it.

  21. que tentador traspasa la pantalla,se ve exquisito,cariños y abrazos.

  22. Now that is an awesome burger! I am so craving yours now, good job:)

  23. Great-looking burger! I haven't had a burger for some time. Your post has been a timely reminder.

  24. The buns looks amazing! Thank you for the inspiration. I will have to try these out soon :)