Akins Canty, affectionately known as "Kin" was born on January 22, 1975 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the third child and only son of Maude and Roosevelt Canty. With a 10 year age difference between Kin and his older sisters, Angela and Regina, he was truly the baby of his tightly knit family.
Akins received his early education in Brooklyn at Christian schools Prince of Peace and Bethlehem Baptist Academy. He later entered Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School as a freshman in September of 1988. In January of the next year Akins along with his family left Brooklyn and relocated to South Brunswick, New Jersey. The short time he spent at Bishop Loughlin would prove to be significant in later years.
Akins completed high school at South Brunswick High School in 1992. Following that he spent a short time at Middlesex County College before pursuing his culinary education at New York Restaurant School. Upon his completion of New York Restaurant School in 1994 Akins embarked on what would become a celebrated career as an Executive Chef.
From the beginning of his professional life Akins has worked at highly regarded restaurants in New Jersey including: The Frog and the Peach, SoHo on George, Old Man Rafferty's, The Grand Summit Hotel, Jacquie's Cafe and 3 West. He has cooked for dignitaries and celebrities in the arts, sports and entertainment fields. His food has also been featured in local news articles.
After 20+ years in the restaurant business, Akins set out on a new career path of corporate hospitality with Sodexo. He provided food and catering services at Dow Jones and Munich Re. Also, he poured his creativity into his own venture, Keen Catering. Keen Catering was more than a playful twist on his name but "keen" meaning sharp and on point was definitely his standard. Additionally, Akins was able to combine his love of sports and food. He ran the concession stand at the Franklin Township Baseball League for 6 years making eating at the Snack Shack a fine dining experience.
Always willing to share his knowledge Akins was a teacher, mentor, consultant and friend to many in his industry. He was genuinely joyful and happy about the success of others feeling that he in some small way had a hand in their success. He had the most pride in the culinary talent of his niece, Ciarra Canty who worked alongside him in the catering business and the concession stand. His niece, Keyana Sweat made sure his catering calendar remained booked promoting his services to her network of friends. He loved turning his jobs into a family affair even putting his great niece Kaliyah Johnson to work. It wouldn't have been too long before his great nephew Ryan would have been tasked with an assignment.
Growing up in his beloved Bed-Stuy neighborhood Akins was always active at play. With his dad as coach of the local youth sports team, Akins's participation was inevitable. Watching his nephew LJ play baseball excited Akins and reminded him of his youthful days on the field. Akins’s time playing Pop Warner Football and Little League Baseball sparked his lifelong love for professional sports. An avid fan of the Miami Dolphins, the New York Yankees and the New York Knicks, Akins credited his father for making him such a sports guy. His father's frequent response to that was, "I created a monster."
Unashamed to admit it, Akins was a mama’s boy. He always greeted her with the biggest embrace literally lifting her up off her feet every time. He had countless memories of family celebrations and holidays that were centered around her cooking. Those happy feelings stayed with him forever and connected his love of food, fun and good times.
The only thing Akins loved more than being a chef was his wife of 18 years, Akisha Canty. Their marriage was a beautiful love story that evolved over 28 years from friends to the best of friends to true soul mates. Many years before coming together Akins and Akisha crossed paths attending the same high school at the same time but never knew each other. It wasn't until years later through a mutual dear friend, William “Biz” Ysaguirre that the two actually met. After seeing a picture of Akisha, Akins began his pursuit of her heart. With more swag and confidence than anybody you’d ever know, he obtained it and swelled her heart with the sweetest love.
Akins and Akisha were married on September 21, 2002 at Mt. Moriah A.M.E. Church in Cambria Heights, NY and built their life together in Somerset, NJ. Early on they found the ministry of Livingston Avenue United Church of Christ in New Brunswick. The Canty’s joined the church as a family and Akins was baptized. The teaching style of Pastor Mark W. Miller elucidated the Word of God in a way Akins related to like he never had before.
No children were born from their union but more love was added when Akins and Akisha brought home their American Bulldog that they named Loughlin in honor of their high school.
Akins departed this life on January 14, 2021 at the age of 45. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Akisha Canty, parents, Maude and Roosevelt Canty, sisters Angela Canty and Regina Graham, nieces, Ciarra Canty and Keyana Sweat, nephew, Jarvis “LJ” White, great-niece, Kaliyah Johnson, great nephew Ryan Dillon, a host of aunts, uncles and cousins. Akins held dear the special bond he had with many lifelong friends that he embraced as family. Akins will forever remain respected by his peers, applauded by his patrons, loved by his family and missed by all.
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