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Annick Giroux

Interview with Annick Giroux from
by Grigoris Chronis at 03 March 2010, 5:03 PM

Feeding your hunger for Metal with a typhoon of blistering songs from your collection is fun plus a necessity in order to keep your metallic spirit alive. Now, with the splendid idea Canadian 'morbid chef' Annick Giroux had, here's your guide to all things Metal music also means to your inner self…literally! "Hellbent For Cooking" is a marvelous cook book, the result of endless work from Annick, featuring recipes for delicious meals from your beloved bands worldwide – cause you'll surely find a band you adore in there, needless to say! Would we miss the chance for some Metal inquisition towards the mastermind, then? Nope. Hence, Annick, you're sentenced to death…by fork and slicer!

Hi Annick, greetings from! I think we've mailed each other again in the past but - anyway - let's focus on the reason our mag contacted you to ask a few questions. Are you a kitchen fanatic anyway? Do you have any relevant studies in this topic? I'm not aware of Canada's traditional kitchen - sorry! - but I'd like to know if you've grown up liking cooking (from your mother, grandma etc) or it's a hobby you turned your head to at a certain period of your life.
Greetings Greg! Thanks a lot for inviting me to the METALTEMPLE - and hails to all Greek metalheads! I'm personally extremely passionate about food, and cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. I don't have any valid culinary backgrounds unfortunately, but have followed so many recipes from different books that it gave me a very strong base. I started cooking for fun at a young age, trying to emulate my mother's cooking (did some strange experiments like all kids do, haha) but my grandmother helped me a lot with a bunch of different techniques. It's when I moved out of the family house that things got serious between me and cooking - I had to feed myself and my boyfriend, so I decided to get a few cookbooks and tried to do new recipes almost every day. That enabled me to eat well, and spend less money on going out to restaurants, haha!

Are you the type of person looking for international food when going out? You know, hunting foreign cuisine restaurants, similar events etc? Canada is the type of country hosting people from different nationalities/areas, I think…
Yeah, although I love traditional French-Canadian cuisine (my culinary background), I'm always on the prowl to discover new and exotic tastes. I am really lucky, because Montreal is a perfect city for food lovers such as myself (it's fucking great for metal as well, of course)!

Do you have any special favorites when it comes to your meal? Meat, fish, pasta, vegetables? Do you judge a meal's value by its caloric or vitamin value only or you try to find a suitable balance including delicious taste, too?
As strange as it sounds, I love beans. Haha. Poor boyfriend! I also LOVE garlic, coriander, lamb, lentils, avocado, habanero pepper, onions, nice juicy chicken and bloody steaks. I do treat myself quite often, but most of the time I try to eat healthy to be able to perform better! Of course I don't eat food just because it's good for me; it needs to be tasty too.

Metal-wise, would you give us some info on your profile? You know: where's your residence, how long you've been a metalhead, favorite bands/genres, activities related to Metal music or not…
Oof, that's a tough one! OK, my name is Annick Giroux and I'm originally from Ottawa, which is Canada's national capital. I've been there all my life until three years ago, when I moved to Montreal. I've been into Metal since kindergarten, when I was 11/12 years old. Believe it or not, the first Metal band I've ever heard was X JAPAN, and that was because a penpal from Belgium had sent me their first album. I was hooked! My favorite bands are BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, PAUL CHAIN, VIOLET THEATER, PAGAN ALTAR, HIGH TIDE, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, MYTHRA, BLACK HOLE, SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM, AMEBIX, VULCAIN, SORTILEGE, H-BOMB, ANVIL, EXCITER, MERCYFUL FATE, DESTRUCTION, SLAUGHTER, RAZOR, SACRIFICE, INEPSY, MEGIDDO, MASTER'S HAMMER, CELTIC FROST, COUNTESS, BATHORY, NEROMANTIA and a shitload more. As you can tell, I really love ancient Metal (be it Doom, Black, Speed, Thrash or NWOBHM), but that doesn't mean I'm close-minded about new releases. On Metal activities, I ran a fanzine called Morbid Tales and did 6 issues, and DJ weekly at a local Metal/punk bar called Katacombes. I book shows from time to time, and I also sing in CAUCHEMAR, and play bass. We are planning to record our material in January or something! As for other stuff, my second life is being a graphic designer here in Montreal. It's quite handy to know graphic design - I am completely dependent when it comes to designing records, flyers, zines and now… a book!

On to the book itself now: "Hellbent For Cooking" recipe collection virtually came out of nowhere, or at least so it seems, here in Europe. When was the idea born and what first steps did you take in order to organize your thoughts?
The idea was born in spring 2007. It was Sunday morning, and I was leaving the house to go record/used cookbook shopping. I was kind of really hungover that morning and the idea of asking my favorite Metal bands for their favorite recipes just sprung forth in my mind! The idea slowly developed in my braindead head while I was doing record shops throughout the day, and finally I started e-mailing bands when I arrived home. That was the first wave - I got more than a dozen recipes from doing that, but that's about it. I was pretty hopeful at first to get more contributions, but realized I was lacking contacts and authority so I gave up on doing a real cookbook, and released it at the back of the last issue of my fanzine, Morbid Tales #6, which came out in January 2009. My editor Ian Christe, had picked up the zine and asked me if I was interested in doing a full-color cookbook with him, as he really liked what I did! I of course accepted…so that's how the idea for this cookbook was brought forth!

Did you get in contact with many bands? How did you make the first draft list for who to get in touch with? Was it only bands you adore or you tried to fit many as countries/areas worldwide as possible?
I got in contact with tons of bands, e-mailed about 400 bands in total. I didn't want to miss any killer one, so I went through every band in…seriously! It took me two weeks. I listened to tons of bands I didn't know and tried to find samples on the Internet for them. I discovered DUSK from Pakistan that way, so that was a really great move! I of course added bands I enjoyed and respected, but I made sure the book was as diversified as possible to show that Metal is everywhere in the world! I had an Excel spreadsheet with band names, genres, contact address/MySpace and website. It was really important to be organized with such things in order to keep track of recipe inquiries!

Annick, can you remember which were the bands you never though they'd accept but did, and - on the contrary - which bands did not even bother to reply?
I never thought bigger bands like SEPULTURA or MAYHEM would reply, but they did! Same thing with Revered Kriss Hadesof SADISTIK EXEKUTION, but turns out he loves cooking!! In fact, all of them do. I was really amazed at the overall reaction of bands! There are tons of bands that didn't bother to reply…Iwon't name them here, though.

I'm from Greece and my country has a known traditional cuisine, at least that's what tourists say, haha! I saw you have ROTTING CHRIST, NECROMANTIA and ZEMIAL featured in your book, I checked the recipes myself and found out they're really the correct (sic) ones. Expanding my thought: why are you sure the recipes sent back to you from the bands are real/tested ones? Did you try yourself to make meals out of them and have your one judgment? The photos from the finished products are all sent by the bands featured in the book or some (or all) of them are from your own kitchen? It's no surprise first recipe I'll try is the Beer Pizza Crust by TANKARD…!
Yeah, Greece has a huge reputation for its food around here. In fact, most "Canadian" roadside restaurants basically only serve Italian and "Greek" food (only souvlaki unfortunately!). What I loved about the Greek bands that contributed is the fact they submitted really typical but less known recipes. It gives a better understanding of your country's gastronomy. Of course, every recipe I got from bands were real ones - I googled to make sure they weren't just taken from the Internet. I tried almost all of them myself to make sure they were perfectly tasty, and to photograph the final results. A few bands submitted their own photos, but most of them are my doing. The Beer Pizza Crust is fucking fantastic!! You will not regret it!

"That's just too funny. I remember when Metal bands survived on fries and draft beer, now we eat gourmet food?", is a comment written in one of the featured bands' forum pages. Without wishing to create a battle, of course, what's your comment on the - anyway - average metalhead's opinion that draft food and beer is enough for keeping the Metal spirit alive?
They can think what they want of course…but if they want to stay healthy and be able to go to concerts and headbang until they are fucking old, then they have to take care of their bodies! And not only that; fast food vs gourmet/slow food is like mp3's vs vinyl…both deliver the goods, but the latter always delivers it in high quality!

OK, so you are describing a vast amount of Metal recipes in your book; is there a special "Metal" way to cook? Music is an essential, I guess, but something more to create a relevant atmosphere?
Crank up some MOTORHEAD, PAGAN ALTAR or CELTIC FROST, crack up a beer and you're in for a Metal culinary ride! This is how I do it, anyhow. Gets the veggies chopped faster (unless I'm on my 6th beer, hehe)!

Which - in your opinion - is the most 'Metal' ingredient and why, Annick?
Beer! You can actually use it in anything, be it pizza, batter, ribs, chicken, etc. It's fucking Metal of course as it is the drink of the gods!

Besides the bands themselves who have contributed material to "Hellbent For Cooking", who else do you consider that had a 'key' role for the book to be released? Metal-related or not, of course.
Ian Christe, Francois Patry and Nagawika!

Is it out of the question to expect a sequel in the future? I think the book's value will soon be recognized, it's a great idea! Would you like to focus on more specific subjects (main food, sweets etc etc) if things go well?
I was thinking seriously about a sequel, although I have too many projects this year to actually achieve it. I am recording an EP next month, getting married this summer, need to learn Spanish and then I am using the last 6 months of 2010 to seriously prepare a 2-year long trip around the world. If the time is right when I come back from this insane trip, I will do a second cookbook! It would be the same concept, but with different bands. It might have more of an international feel, who knows!

If it wasn't for the power of the Internet bringing people together in cases like this, you think it would have been easy to have the same result, or you feel the book would not have been even published in the first place?
Oh man, it would have taken me more than a year to achieve, that's for sure. Although I did contact many bands by snail mail, I would have needed to track down addresses and phone numbers for more than 300 bands. I am really lucky to live in the Internet era for this project!

Last but not least: if you had to name one and only band you'd cook for, which would that be?
That's a really good question! I would love to cook for SAINT VITUS with Wino. It feels like I owe them for giving me such good music, you know!

Annick, thanx a lot, we'll surely talk again in the future; we really wish all the best for "Hellbent For Cooking" cause brilliant ideas and hard work really need recognition in our days!
Hey, thanks a lot to you Greg! I'm glad to satisfy all headbanging foodies around the world. Raise your infernal forks!


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