The creators of the Food Network are taking a hip, cool, cutting edge approach to food and food culture when they launch the Cooking Channel on May 31st. Taking a unique and edgy approach to the food programming America craves, they’ll be airing programming “for food people by food people” that will peel back the curtain and really go behind the scenes of the culinary world. The network rolled into New York City last week to kick things off with a chic party at the Empire Hotel that was nothing short of a culinary wonderland with tastes of some of the best food around. RadarOnline.com, however, was also lucky enough to dine with three of the network’s break out stars and get a taste of the good life from each of them to share with you!
Show: Chuck’s Day Off, Saturdays at 2PM ET
Backstory: “Chuck’s Day Off is set in my restaurant, Garde Manger, in Montreal and what happens on my day off. I realized that I saw my bread guy every day—more than I saw my family but I had no idea what his name was. Most cooking shows are about the chef but the chef is a small portion. I have my waitress episode, fish monger, dishwasher . . . It’s all about paying respect to everyone that is there with a little wink wink to making it all happen. My show really shows cooking in a restaurant. People have a romanticized view that you’re smelling wine and doing all these tastings but the reality of it is that it’s a sh** job with long hours and no respect and you have to really love it. I’m super passionate about it and what I really love—I’m a kitchen rat.”
Chuck’s Roots: “My first cooking classes were in grade five. I was the only guy in a class of like six chicks and I was hooked. My mom was an airplane stewardess when I was a kid and she did the Montreal east coast so she used to bring back cases of lobsters, cases of shrimp, oysters . . . so we ate. I do have a passion for food and the restaurant business in itself . . . I was a busboy, I was a bartender. Opening my own restaurant was a good fit but in my mind I needed to make this legit so I went to cooking school—and failed that because I stayed at my internship instead of taking my final exam. In cooking school you learn a certain way of doing things that I think is super important but you’re not going to learn necessarily how to put good flavors together if you don’t travel, if you don’t read books, if you don’t stay open minded – you’re never going to leave that cooking school mold. If you want to learn to chop an onion it’s a great place to learn. And it’s definitely useful and there are still handful of techniques that I learned from cooking school that I still use everyday.”
Tattoo You: “I have tattoos of lobster, shrimp, arugula, lemon meringue pies . . . I’ve always been fascinated by tattoos. They’re not just for sailors and prostitutes anymore. I got my first when I was 18 or 19 and it was an addiction. For me, if I was going to put something on my body permanently – it had to be something I really loved. It’s all about food and seafood and things I like.”
Celebrity Clientele: “Jake Gyllenhaal and Kirsten Dunst come into Garde Manger all the time. Jake is a late night eater and Kirsten is more of an early bird eater, nibbler, have a few drinks kind of girl.