On April 11, five area restaurants will band together to host Massachusetts Restaurant Day to benefit childhood hunger prevention campaign, No Kid Hungry. The event is in its 19th year under the guidance of Tremont 647’s Andy Husbands, but it will be their first time expanding outside the city — including restaurants in Worcester (One Eleven Chop House), Falmouth (Quarterdeck), Lowell (Cobblestones of Lowell) and Plymouth (East Bay Grille). Each five-course seating with wine pairings ranges from $75 to $125, with all proceeds toward No Kid Hungry’s Cooking Matters Massachusetts program.
Charity has always been part of Husbands’s M.O.. The chef notes that he and his team have raised more than $200,000 for hunger relief programs since he opened his restaurant 20 years ago. His work with Share Our Strength, which dates back to 1996, is specifically focused on childhood hunger and nutrition education for at-risk and low-income families.
“It’s one of those things that crosses all party lines,” explains Husbands. “I think everyone is good with No Kid Hungry because no one wants a kid to be hungry. When children not only have breakfast, but also access to a good breakfast, test scores and attendance go up, disciplinary goes do, and I don’t think that’s surprising to anyone.”
Husbands’s works with Share our Strength to host six-week classes for families and teaches them the basics of creating a healthy and nutritious food budget, and how to cook meals using provided ingredients arranged by the charity. Ticket sales from dinner at the five restaurants will go toward supporting the program.
Menus are left up to the restaurants themselves, but as for Husbands — the international award-winning barbecue champ who is set to open The Smoke Shop, a much-anticipated barbecue joint coming to Kendall this spring — his theme is, of course, is barbecue around the world.
“But of course,” he laughs. “I’m doing a New Orleans style shrimp and grits, because that’s where my mind has been at. Josh [Zishkin of La Morra] will do Italian barbecue, and Matt [Lewis of Moxy in New Hampshire] will do Argentinian. Everyone is doing their own interpretation.”
Also in the kitchen for the night: Yvonne’s pastry chef Kate Holowchik, Evan Hennessy of Stages at One Washington and Tremont 647 chef de cuisine, Molly Dwyer.
And while Husbands is ever-enthusiastic about his kitchen crew, he attributes the success and specialness of the evening to everyone involved.
“I’m so honored that the chefs are coming here, but I need to mention that everyone is donating their time —the mangers, the waiters, the bartenders, the buses,” he says. “We’re all in it to help an organization and that’s what it takes,everyone chipping in.”