Encouraging Confidence In The Family Kitchen And Fighting Childhood Hunger

Marc Murphy with his family.
Marc Murphy with his family. Photo by Kevin Kendrick

Marc Murphy is on a mission to get families to “season with authority” and bring their kids into the process of choosing tasty and nutritious foods.  Having spent 25 years cooking professionally, he certainly has the know-how and the enthusiasm to teach them and lead by example. In addition to several local restaurants (including Landmarc, Kingside, and Ditch Plains), a catering company (Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy), a seat on the board of City Harvest, and a role as a judge on the Food Network’s popular show “Chopped,” Murphy—who’s a dad of two—also has a new cookbook (Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking) centered around home cooking.

“I wanted to do a book that would make it easy for people to get inspired and cook out of it; make some good food with ingredients that you could find anywhere,” Murphy, who has an 8-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, says of his new book.

In light of his impressive culinary resume, it’s clear that, ever since Murphy started cooking, he’s been doing quite well using all kinds of ingredients. Every day, Murphy is involved with mentoring his chefs and coming up with specials at his restaurants. Sometimes he’s shooting a television show, writing a cookbook, raising awareness about childhood hunger, or meeting with his director of operations to talk about how things are going with his restaurants. “I am so lucky to have found myself in a profession where I never actually feel like I go to work, because I always am doing what I love to do every day,” he says. “I am a lucky guy, and I love it.”

Murphy started out as a line cook in a New York City kitchen working a station, where he was in charge of 4-10 dishes, and now cites the energy and camaraderie of the NYC food world as part and parcel of why he truly savors just about everything in his professional life. “I love doing what I do every day: We put food and drink on tables for people to enjoy themselves. To me, those are some of the best times of people’s lives, when they are sitting around [the table] with their friends and their families.”

Another aspect of the food world that Murphy is passionate about is his involvement with hunger and food-related charities, because, as a chef and a father, the issue of childhood hunger was naturally one that hit home for him. As a board member for City Harvest, a food rescue organization here in New York City, he contributes by feeding people in need and also educating them about nutrition. Additionally, Murphy is on the leadership council of the No Kid Hungry campaign for Share Our Strength, a Washington DC-based national organization, which hopes to change food policies that affect the ways kids are being fed.

In his own home, Murphy shares the cooking duties with his wife. And, whether it’s helping out at the grocery store or picking mint, Murphy likes to get his kids involved with the cooking too, so that they can pick up on his culinary passion and expand their knowledge of food and nutrition. “It kills me when I see kids who don’t know what a carrot is, or what parsley is, or cilantro,” he explains. “I try to get my kids involved in the shopping and I think that that helps a lot to pique their interest.”

According to Murphy, it gives kids a sense of ownership and responsibility when they see the vegetables that they picked out at the store and put in the shopping cart served on the family dinner table, which adds to the overall special experience of sharing a family meal. “Mealtimes are when families come together and talk about life,” Murphy says. “It’s a good time to instill values in your kids because it allows everyone to stop, take a breath, and just be together.”

To learn more about Marc Murphy, visit marc-murphy.com.