Famed chef to address May graduates

David Bouley will be the CAHNR commencement speaker on May 6.

Award-winning New York chef and restaurateur, David Bouley, will speak at CAHNR’s May 6 undergraduate commencement ceremonies. Bouley’s rise to fame started near Storrs, where he was born and raised. “The values of New England became my early core of standards,” Bouley said in his acceptance letter to UConn’s President Susan Herbst.

Life on his grandparents’ farm and his French heritage gave Bouley an appreciation for healthful meals and fresh ingredients, which he retains to this day. The goals and results of his approach to food and health will figure prominently in his speech to about 1,000 CAHNR graduates and their guests.

In addition, Bouley will receive a doctorate of humane letters, honoris causa, from UConn at commencement. As an example of how Bouley meets the criteria of the honorary degree, Herbst said in her communication with him, “As a chef and catalyst for creative change in the kitchen, you have demonstrated the courage of your convictions to offer fresh foods that are culturally diverse and that can promote improved health.”

“The acceptance of an award like this from my hometown has deep confirming ties,” he said. This comment comes from a decorated man. Bouley’s restaurant ventures have garnered a Michelin Star, several James Beard Foundation awards, a 2015 best restaurant in the United States designation by tripadvisor and a four-star review in The New York Times, according to Bouley’s website. Currently, his restaurant, Bouley, is in a tie for number one restaurant in New York City by Zagat.

In addition, two institutions gave Bouley lifetime achievement awards for his efforts in researching and serving foods tailored to diners with health concerns. One came from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, and the other was from the Rogosin Institute, which is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College.

CAHNR’s undergraduate commencement ceremony, where Bouley will speak, is at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, in Gampel Pavilion. A reception is held prior to the ceremony. The CAHNR Academic Programs graduation page gives more event details for graduates, their families and their friends. David Bouley’s website contains additional facts about the man and his life’s pursuits.

By Patsy Evans