July 17, 2017 – Chef David McInnis ‘98 is now the award-winning owner of Wicked Awesome BBQ in East Thetford, Vt. The BBQ shack is open year-round, always offering a variety of classic BBQ dishes as well as award-winning clam chowder, venison stew, chicken potpies and other specialties in the winter.
According to McInnis, “What I love most about what I do is when my customers tell me, ‘wow this is the best pulled pork’ or ‘these are the best ribs or chicken that I've ever had.’ That never gets old.”
After discovering his passion for cooking in high school, McInnins attended Newbury, graduating with an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. “What I enjoyed most about Newbury College was meeting life-long friends from all over the country,” said McInnis. He added, “The professors were all very knowledgeable and helpful.”
To start his career, McInnis interned and later worked on the banquet team of the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston. He said, “Working there for five years taught me how to plan and execute catering events of all sizes and with a lot of different cuisines.”
McInnis later worked at the Parker House Hotel and started his own catering company on the side, really getting into BBQ. The catering company was, according to McInnis, “gourmet creations focusing on pig roasts and BBQ. Back then, 20 years ago, nobody was really doing that in Boston.”
However, McInnis stepped away from BBQ after moving to Vermont and working at a variety of restaurants in the area. He said, “After moving to a few different restaurants, I decided it was time to open my BBQ business again [and] that's how Wicked Awesome BBQ was born.”
His company has come a long way: “We started with a smoker and a table and a tent, moved into the Take-Out shack we are in now, then added the food truck which my wife and daughter run, and now we are renovating a new restaurant in White River Junction.”
In addition to cooking, McInnis enjoys giving back to the community. He said, “Through my business, we have been able to give back to our community members by way of our Feed A Family Program and donating to various charities around the Upper Valley. If we all helped out a little, that would help out a lot.”
McInnis has worked hard throughout his career and experienced a variety of cuisines and restaurants. He suggests to future chefs, “Work in many different places, learning all you can from different chefs. We all do things differently and work with different products, [so] expose yourself to as much as you can.”
Overall, McInnis said, “[The] most important advice I can give Newbury college students today would be: work hard and never stop learning your profession. The more knowledge you have, the more you are worth to your team.”
For more information about Chef David McInnis or Wicked Awesome BBQ, visit their website.
About Newbury: Newbury College is a private, independent college located just minutes from Boston in the Fisher Hill neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. Founded in 1962, Newbury College offers bachelor and associate degree programs in over 20 career-focused majors. Committed to personalized and experience-based teaching, Newbury inspires students to become independent thinkers, valuable collaborators, and global-minded citizens.
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