Interview with Chef Andy Husbands of Tremont 647 – Boston, MA

April 5

Amy Tarr: Who are your mentors? What are some of the most important things you’ve learned from them?

Andy Husbands: Chris Schlesinger. He didn’t just teach me how to be a chef, he taught me how to be a man! I call him my de-mentor. He treated me with respect and pushed me to learn so much. I’d do anything for him. I call him all the time.

AT: Are there any secret ingredients that you especially like?
AH: I make a list of proteins like lamb, for example, then produce, like asparagus, then regions like Italy- and I’ll think gnocchi. I also consider levels of lightness to each meal. For example I think about decadence in holiday time.

AT: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool? Why?
AH: My six-inch Henckel. I’ve had this one for ten years. I’m old school. I love new toys, but it’s my good friend. I can still filet a salmon or tuna. If that’s the only thing I’ve got on an island, I’ve got to say I’d have that.

AT: Is there a culinary technique that you either created or use in an unusual way?
AH: Application of flavors – with the wood grill. I try to build flavors in layers. I like to be somewhere in the middle of flavor and technique.

AT: What is your favorite question to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
AH: Where will you be in 5 years? I’m looking to see that they have dreams. We like to help people accomplish their dreams.

AT: What tips would you offer young chefs just getting started?
AH: If you can’t do it now, what makes you think you can do it later? After putting in 15 hour days, you’re either going to do your reading and research or you’re not.

AT: What are your favorite cook books?
AH: Elisabeth Rozin “The Flavor Principle” (out of print). It goes through a lot of the ethnic cuisines. For example, for Korean cuisine, think peaches + brown sugar + soy. For Greek, it’s oregano + honey and garlic. And Chris Schlesinger’s “The Thrill of the Grill” helps you as a young chef.

AT: What cities do you like for culinary travel?
AH: Thailand and El Salvador.

AT: What are your favorite restaurants – off the beaten path – in Boston?
AH: Miami Café – that’s where I get my Cubano. S & S Deli – across from the East Coast Grill for chopped liver sandwiches. I crave them! Tacos El Charo – for burritos and tacos. The Busy Bee for breakfast in Brookline is awesome.

AT: What trends do you see emerging in the restaurant industry now?
AH: It’s got to go to all humane-handled, natural beef and meats. More organic and locally produced vegetables – it’s got to go that way.

AT: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
AH: I’ll be here at Tremont 647. I’m really happy. I have a really good team.

AT: Tell me more about your involvement in Share Our Strength.
AH: I’m a big Share Our Strength supporter. We have to change this world. The world would be a better place if everyone spent one hour a month to help someone else.