Chef Andy Husbands inspires at Commencement

Long-time supporter of NECAT and award-winning “Pit Master” Andy Husbands was the guest speaker at our graduation ceremony for cohorts 24 and 25. Husbands is owner and founder of the Smoke Shop restaurants with three locations in Boston. He has hired NECAT graduates, including Troy Young who is featured in a recent video produced by the Mayor’s Office for Financial Empowerment.

To a crowd of 18 graduates and their families and friends, Chef shared the story of his journey of working in kitchens as a young kid, making his way through culinary school, up until he saved $5,000 to invest in opening his first restaurant. Husbands acknowledged that the journey of staying in a job and working hard can be tiring and monotonous. But that the fundamental basics of making food for people is incredibly important.

“Food is cool. When you’re making food, you’re providing substance. When you’re cooking food, you’re feeding people. When you’re chopping an onion, do you think about how this is going to go in someone’s mouth? That you’re providing substance?

“Cooking is a higher calling. We are feeding people. It is an honor to feed people. I applaud you guys for doing this. I applaud you guys for cooking.”

Congratulations to all of our graduates, many of who are already in exciting new jobs at places including Legal Seafoods, NewBridge on the Charles, and Facebook’s new Cambridge office.  More photos from the evening can be seen here.