Chef competes to feed D.C.’s homeless

A chef at a local nonprofit is competing in a national competition to win $20,000 to help feed the homeless in Foggy Bottom.

John Murphy, assistant director of kitchen operations for Miriam’s Kitchen, is participating in the Sears Chef Challenge. Voting will end this Saturday for his chance to compete in the finals.

Murphy is 600 votes behind the current leader in the challenge and has until Saturday to qualify for the next round of the competition.

“Friends and colleagues were enthusiastically spreading the word through social networking media like Facebook and Twitter,” Murphy said of the voting.

Although he is currently the underdog in terms of votes, Murphy said he is still optimistic about making it to the next round.

He smiled at the thought of qualifying, explaining that each chef who makes it to the finals gets $5,000. He said at Miriam’s Kitchen each meal only costs $1, meaning 5,000 meals could be served with the money.

In order to compete in the challenge, Murphy is forgoing his honeymoon for the chance to win the funds to feed the local homeless population.

The chef got involved in the Sears competition after a head corporate chef from the department store contacted Murphy in August, asking him to partake in the challenge. A total of 24 chefs from around the country were selected to take part in the competition.

Round one required each chef to do four live cooking demonstrations at local Sears stores. As round one wound down in August, voting began.

The voting period ends this Saturday and whittles down the number of chefs to four, who will then travel to Chicago to compete in an Iron Chef-style cookoff to determine the final winner.

Murphy has worked for about a year at Miriam’s Kitchen, which is tucked away in the Western Presbyterian Church on Virginia Avenue, just off GW’s campus. The organization works to serve fresh, healthy meals to around 400 hungry and homeless patrons everyday.

Murphy explained that Miriam’s Kitchen works differently than other kitchens because it follows a novel food philosophy that “focuses on giving people who have nothing empowerment through nutrients, not just sustenance,” he said.

He expressed his gratitude toward the local farmers market and the GW community for their donations and volunteer efforts for the nonprofit.

Before working at Miriam’s Kitchen, Murphy said he worked in the culinary industry for nine years at prestigious restaurants like BLD in Los Angeles and Zengo and Sonoma in D.C.

Those interested in voting for Murphy in the competition can vote online Here

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.