Food for Thought

Friday, November 15, 2019

A self-taught chef and food media entrepreneur, Chadwick Boyd '93 visited with students, faculty, staff and donors at UNC Charlotte last week to share memories of his time at the University, secrets to great cooking and other advice for a satisfying life.

An English major at UNC Charlotte, Boyd started cooking as a child alongside his grandmother. He is behind the success of some of the biggest names and brands in food. 

To Boyd, cooking is about more than eating; it’s a means to getting closer to family and friends.

For years, he cooked meals and helped others prepare theirs, including former Today show host Katie Couric. But he dreamed of having a network show. That came true just this week with the premiere of "Christmas Cookie Matchup" on the Hallmark Drama channel. Boyd is the judge of the cookie baking challenge. 

He has other big plans for his future. In the meantime, get to know more about one of UNC Charlotte’s most popular alumni.

Boyd was able to graduate from college debt-free, but says that is the exception and not the rule in today’s higher education environment:  

“I do believe that higher education is very important, but I see the toll that it also takes after the education is done. And for me, I think it’s very important for other organizations, other groups to rally around and continue to support those who have made the extra effort to pursue a higher education.”

Boyd is the proud uncle of eight nieces and nephews, with another on the way. He believes in teaching them their way around a kitchen early:

“I like to start cooking with them young, and the first thing that we start with are biscuits. So in February, my just-turned-2 niece, Winslow, and I got into my test kitchen and we made biscuits together. It was a beautiful experience that I actually talked about on Hallmark where she pressed down the cutter on her first biscuit and pulled it up, and I popped it out and I showed it to her and she goes, ‘Oh, it’s a Winnie biscuit.’ And my heart melted.”

His suggestion for a hearty meal if you are low on money and/or time:

“Chicken thighs. Chicken thighs have so much flavor. They are super cheap, and they are easy to cook. Really easy to cook.”

Chadwick Boyd's biscuitsBoyd, known as the “Biscuit Man” to some, says biscuits are a food that everyone can agree on. So (gasp) he doesn’t consider them a Southern food:

“I don't know anybody who doesn’t love a biscuit, and that is something that I find fascinating when it comes to food and getting people together.”

His favorite cuisine:

“I love a really good Osso Buco (the shank, or lower part, of a pig’s leg).”

Favorite guilty pleasure food:

“I really like pork rinds, and I really, really, really love cheesy mac and cheese.”

Music while he’s cooking is essential. He might listen to hard rock when he’s pounding steak, or Randy Travis when he’s preparing old family recipes. 

“Cooking for me is about mood, so music is about mood, too. The other day I was cranking Lizzo and feeling really ‘good as hell’ about my biscuits.”