A man that is covered in 30 food-themed tattoos (think lemon meringue pie, sardines, and octopus), probably has a culinary love affair worth exploring, and that’s certainly true for “Chuck’s Eat the Street” host Chuck Hughes.
“Chuck’s Eat the Street” follows Hughes as he travels across North America, picking out singular streets in cities (both big and small), where he samples cuisine from various restaurants.
The Cooking Channel personality and Montreal-based restaurateur (yes, he’s a Canadiens fan), is set to launch the third season of his show on July 10 at 10 p.m. and he dishes on what fans can expect from the next 13 episodes and his hopes for bringing the show to Boston.
Q: How do you scout the restaurants? How do you decide which ones you’ll put on the show?
A: We start by cities. Let’s say we have 13 episodes per season, and then we’ll go big picture, we’ll find about 30 places that are potentially on our radar, and then really, the way that it goes, it’s like, “Well, how can we coordinate travel?”
We try and make it as easy as possible with travel and getting to places, but we also try to figure out what place is going to be kind of unknown and a little bit unique and kind of out of the beaten path. We go from there.
Q: Did you have a favorite stop from the filming of season 3?
A: For me as well, it’s kind of like, being a cook and having restaurants myself, it’s networking, it’s meeting people, it’s really kind of like a fun experience for me as well and I’m hoping that we can convey that through the show.
Ultimately for me, I’m going to all these great places and eating a lot of great food and having a great time.
Q: What’s going to make this upcoming season different from the past couple that we’ve seen so far?
A: That’s a very good question. Mostly my haircut—no, I’m joking.
I don’t know if this is the right answer, but this being our third season — I’m not going to say that the first two seasons weren’t good — but hopefully we’re getting better at what we do. Being able to convey how good the food is and how much fun we’re having through the show, making it a little bit easier and a little bit better for us to show that to the people... After three seasons we’re kind of getting the run of things and really figuring it out and hopefully we’ll make it to Boston.
Q: Do you have any personal favorite restaurants in Boston?
A: I do. This is maybe not the most unique place but I still like to go eat oysters at Union Oyster House — Obviously, Toro — O Ya sushi. I haven’t been in a while, but I have a really amazing experience sitting at the bar having their tasting menu which was I think 18 courses.
And then Barbara Lynch, I guess she’s an iconic Boston chef, and she’s got so many restaurants and they’re all so unique and different in their own way, so if I can I try to go to a few of her spots.
Those are my go-to’s, but the real honest answer is, for me when I’m there it’s like I’d rather just go to a lobster pound or a clam shack or something on the side of the road where I get a bucket of steamers, a lobster roll. That’s kind of more my vibe when I get down there.
Obviously there’s a great Boston-Montreal rivalry in hockey and I love that.
Q: Do you wear your Canadiens gear when you’re here?
A: Oh yeah. I’m a Canadiens fan. There was an era where I kind of liked the Bruins a little bit. My favorite player back in the day was Raymond Bourque, who is a Boston legend. He’s a great guy as well. So there was a point there when I was playing hockey when I was young when I kind of modeled my brief hockey career after him but there’s obviously that great rivalry, Boston-Montreal, so I like to come down for games.
It’s a city that I really love, that I truly enjoy. I’m hoping that it’ll make it to season 4 if we get another season.
Q: How would you say the stuff you’ve done on the road has shaped or impacted your restaurants?
A: It definitely has changed my diet because when I’m eating like a maniac like that for five days, I’ve got to come home and eat some greens. It’s changed my life that way. The cooking world, it’s always about making things better, making things more efficient, and obviously as tasty as you can possibly make stuff is always best. Obviously I do learn some recipes or tricks along the way, and I try and incorporate it for sure. That’s really one of the beauties of traveling like that.
Q: Do you have any tips for people who are nervous about going to a certain restaurant? Why should be people step out of their comfort zones and try something different?
A: I think from those experiences is how you can grow as a food person. When you kind of step out of your comfort zone, whether it be for a new job or a new sport or meeting new people, I think that whenever you’re faced with a challenge or faced with adversity or kind of facing your fears, you’re always going to grow from that and it’s always going to be a good experience.
Whether you realize that that’s not what you want, or you totally fall in love, I’m always very adventurous and I’m always willing to give something a try, especially when it comes to the food world.