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‘Do It Before It’s Too Late,’ McHugh Tells CIA Grads

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Steven McHugh, who graduated from The Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, N.Y., campus in 1997, provided advice and encouragement to the college’s newest alumni on July 3. McHugh delivered the commencement address at the CIA’s San Antonio campus at the Pearl Brewery complex, which is also home to Cured, his new restaurant, which opened in late 2013.

Steven McHugh addresses the CIA graduation.

Steven McHugh addresses the CIA graduation.

“You have shown you are committed,” McHugh told recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts. “What’s important is to take what you have learned and build on it.”

Cured is a sustainable, seasonal restaurant chosen by San Antonio Current as Best New Restaurant for 2014 and one of Eater National’s Restaurants to Watch.

For 10 years, McHugh worked for fellow CIA alumnus John Besh, ’92, first in New Orleans, then at Besh’s first San Antonio restaurant, before setting out on his own. He continues to “pay it forward” by hiring many young CIA graduates at Cured.

The Walworth, Wisconsin, native advised the graduating class to get involved in the community, as he and Besh did following Hurricane Katrina, serving hundreds of meals to relief workers in New Orleans. His final piece of advice was to “do it before it’s too late.”

McHugh was just 34 when he was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago. After completing chemotherapy, he said it was time to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant.

In fact, Cured refers to both McHugh’s triumph over cancer and the house-made meats served at the restaurant.

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