We went to meet with Chef Andy Husbands at his South End restaurant, Tremont 647, on a windy late summer afternoon. Unsure of where to go since the restaurant was closed until dinner service, we snuck around the back and our noses led the way to a smoker that filled the air with that oh-so glorious aroma we all know and love. Husbands’ food is hard to nail-down and describe; the restaurant menu is familiar and fun, classic dishes that are tried and true with international influences heavily abundant. Husbands had a strong run on Hell’s Kitchen a few seasons ago and when he’s not busy at the restaurant he’s participating in Barbecue competitions. He’s clearly a busy guy but you can tell he’s as enthusiastic as any chef out there. Much to our delight, Husbands tells us we’re going to be making burgers, the perfect dish to bridge together his comfort food meets barbecue influences.
We start by making a barbecue sauce, which Husbands half-jokingly tells us will be one of the top-five barbecue sauces we’ve ever had. It starts out fairly standard but then there’s the Husbands twist; layers of Umami are sprinkled throughout as the sauce simmers and bubbles away, we’re getting pretty hungry. We grab some burgers from the downstairs walk-in and Husbands lights a grill. We fire questions at him and his answers are very calculated and passionate. He loves giving it right back to us; trying to catch us off guard he inquires about our business and asks us some culinary questions of our own. We’re excited to talk shop with him, and learning the tricks and thought process of such an accomplished chef is truly a rewarding experience. We watch closely as Husbands slaps the burgers onto the hot grill, it’s all starting to come together and the smell of smoke and the charred meat is simply intoxicating.
Chef Husbands moves quickly and talks even faster. He has so much knowledge and gusto for what he does you can’t help but respect the hell out of him. When we ask him towards the end our time what he most wants to be remembered by, he says “great food and hospitality.” He may have his imprint on many endeavours right now, but Husbands knows what he wants and how best to do it. As long as that involves making killer food night after night no matter where he is, he’s always going to be one o Boston’s top chefs.