Booking the cooks


Oisin Davis stirs it with the stars

THE BEAUTY OF the culinary world, is that its jam packed full of things that sound bloody awful on paper, but are delicious in reality. There is no sound reason why a deep fried Mars Bar should actually taste good. A mass-produced piece of confectionery, dipped in batter and hot oil? So fundamentally wrong. Yet so engrossingly good.

In a similar manner, Canadians like hip-hop artist and broadcaster Buck 65 have to defend constantly what is regarded as one of their country’s favourite treats. It’s called poutine and while it does sound mad, it’s exceptionally comforting and rather moreish.

“It’s chips, gravy and cheese curds,” says Buck 65, aka Richard Terfry. “It doesn’t sound very sophisticated, but when it’s done right, it’s very good. Foreigners make fun of poutine and then change their tune when they try it. Never fails. And there’s a campaign afoot right now to get it officially recognised as Canada’s national dish.”

I guess that’s what happens when you crossbreed the British with lots of French and Irish. A country obsessed with combining chips, gravy and cheese. But when stagetime looms, you won’t catch Buck chowing down on plates of this sort, or indeed anything else,

“I avoid eating at all before I go on stage – nothing five or six hours before I play. I learned that from Van Halen.” Wise words indeed from the lycra- wearing rockers. But after the show wraps, Buck has his epicurean hot spots that he seeks out when on tour. Like his favourite NY deli and burger joint . . .

“I was there two weekends ago and I’m still riding the high.” And there’s a particular eatery in Shanghai: “If you’re ever there, make sure you go to a restaurant called Southern Barbarian. It will change your life.”

Buck 65 plays The Sugar Club on November 9th. For more recipes, see

Buck 65's Poutine & Gravy


2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of flour

750ml of quality beef stock

Heat a normal-sized saucepan. Drop in the butter and flour and stir it all up until it’s combined. Cook it out for about five minutes to darken it up. Drop in the stock and season with some white pepper. Bring it to the boil and then quickly get it down to a simmer. Put aside.


1 kg of rooster potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut into chips

250g of cheese curds

Cook up your chips in a deep-fat fryer, smother in gravy and drop a handful of cheese curds on top.