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Osheaga's Food Hangover: What Went Down Behind The Scenes

Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles dish out the saucessip from this year's festival.

Smiles and Hughes at Osheaga
Smiles and Hughes at Osheaga
Paul Labonté

This year we really went over the top with our cheese fountain.Chuck Hughes did it again, pumping out a ridiculous amount of incredible food backstage during this year's Osheaga music festival. With the help his right hand man, Danny Smiles, and the tireless Crown Salts Crew, the festival's 10th anniversary (and Hughes' 5th year feeding the artists behind the scenes) turned out to be the best one to date.  In the wake of their massive food hangover, Hughes and Smiles let Eater in on just what went down this weekend.

What was the highlight this year for you guys?

CH: I know this is the boring answer, but our organization this year was amazing. We could really take care of all the people and the artists. I like to say we're always putting out fires and starting fires, but this has really been one of the best festivals this year—the food has never been this good and our whole crew was amazing. But honestly, the biggest highlight was Danny Smiles, he was incredible. And everyone at Evenko for letting us do exactly what we want. We couldn't make the food as good as it was if they didn't say 'go nuts'.

Definitely cooking for Nas was huge.

DS: There were so many highlights! Definitely cooking for Nas was huge. Also, Mos Def coming in non-stop. He freaked on the corn bread and shrimp rolls and even came to thank us personally. Another highlight was working with such a good caliber of cooks, it was so amazing. Everyone was making such good food, it was really elevated from previous years.

Any personal food favourites?

This year we really went over the top with our cheese fountain.

CH: It's an outdoor food festival in the summer so as elevated as we want to do it, the hits are always the dirty summer festival specials. This year we really went over the top with our cheese fountain. As much as we're trying to make the best salads, you really can't beat this.

DS: We had a lot of whole animals, which was cool. I mean, we cook for 2000 people, so we try to keep it as local and organic as possible. I got to say though, everybody freaked out over the cheese fountain.

Cheese fountain, we encourage you to get creative with it.

A photo posted by Danny Smiles (@lebremnermtl) on

How was the feedback from the bands?

CH: The best we've ever had. Maybe because we were running around less, so we had time to focus. But what we forget is that these bands are working and a lot of them have been on tour all summer. They don't always have access to good food so they appreciate the fact that they can get some greens and smoothies, three meals a day and snacks in between. This year we really shined.

His tour manager said they've never seen this kind of festival food ever.

DS: Gary Clark Jr. really loved it and all the guys from The War on Drugs were awesome. Ben Harper's crew were the nicest. His tour manager said they've never seen this kind of festival food ever. That's always extremely nice to hear.

Then the rains came.

A photo posted by Danny Smiles (@lebremnermtl) on

Are you ready to do it all over again for Heavy Mtl?

CH: Yeah, totally. It's a lot of work, but who gets to cook outside for three weeks during the summer? We had a little bit of rain this past weekend, but I like just a little bit of disaster, it keeps everyone on their toes.

DS: We've got our friends, Alexisonfire coming so we're excited for that too.

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