Kevin Cormac Duffy
Passed on Monday, October 19, 2020 at home in Coventry, RI at the age of 68.
Kevin was born in Dublin, Ireland and raised in Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, Ireland, by his Da and Ma, the late Cormac and Eithne (Marray) Duffy, along with his 6 siblings: the late Sean Duffy; Marie Duffy of New York; Pearse Duffy of Australia; Austin Duffy of Ireland; Brendan Duffy of Hong Kong and Deirdre Duffy of Ireland. He will be deeply missed by his three daughters: Shauna Duffy and her partner Shawn of Providence, Tara Girard and her husband John of North Smithfield, and Keara Duffy and her partner Dan of Warwick; his grandsons, Gavin, Jameson & Declan Girard; his former wife and friend Robyn (Enos) Duffy of Johnston; his dog Finn; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends in every corner of the world.
Kevin was first taught to cook by his mother in their tiny kitchen on O’Duffy Terrace in Ballybay. He attended culinary school at St. Mary’s in Athenry, Galway and trained in Ireland and Switzerland. As a chef in London and then Bermuda, he made life-long friends, with whom he had many escapades. It was in Bermuda that he met his future wife Robyn, with whom he raised his girls, but not before they had adventures themselves around the US and Europe.
Kevin came to Rhode Island in 1979 to teach in the fledgling culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales University, and JWU became a part of his life for the next 40 years. He deeply loved teaching and mentoring students, both as a chef instructor and while Dean of the College of Culinary Arts, now College of Food Innovation & Technology, from 2005-2012, during which time he helped build the new, state-of-the-art Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence. He loved welcoming students into the community, and was especially aware of those from abroad, inviting many international students into his home to celebrate holidays.
In 1986, Kevin fulfilled a dream and opened the Greenville Gourmet Shoppe, where he cooked, mentored, and changed lives for 10 years. He was never afraid to invest in a teenager starting their first job, some of whom went on to build their entire careers on what he taught them. His staff became family, and his customers became friends, many of whom still talk about that Chocolate Mousse Cake. He hired Shauna as a pastry chef when she was 10 years old, Tara greeted customers out front, and Keara was very nearly born in the office, all while Robyn kept the business running.
Kevin traveled all over the world, visiting his brothers in Hong Kong & Australia, getting home to Ireland as often as he could and cooking around the US and Europe (and a few islands). One of his favorite ways to travel was bringing students to experience a different kind of kitchen and a different way of life in places like Germany, France, Ireland, Switzerland, the Azores, Thailand, Singapore and Peru.
Kevin loved food and people. He could cook nearly anything, always learning new techniques and styles, and he loved teaching others what he knew. He was a beloved Dad to his three girls and was so thrilled to become Granda. He would comfortably chat with anyone he met and mentored more students than we will ever know. He also loved music and visual art, learning to play guitar and recently taking up painting. He spent many hours on the golf course and took long bike rides whenever he could. His creative spirit lives on in the lives he influenced.
In accordance with his wishes, a party to celebrate Kevin’s life will take place at a later date when we can all be together. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Amyloidosis Foundation or Johnson & Wales University, 8 Abbott Park Pl, Providence, RI 02903, Attn: Michelle Nichols, please include “in memory of Kevin C. Duffy ’82 on the memo line of the check, or visit https://alumni.jwu.edu/donation-pages/in-memory-of-kevin-duffy. To offer condolences, please visit www.fournierandfournier.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kevin Cormac Duffy, please visit our floral store.
Johnson & Wales University
8 Abbot Park Pl, Providence RI 02903