Food Facilitates Change: Q+A with Cooking up Change Judge Kristopher Murray

October 28, 2014

“Young people taking positive action

Cooking up Change Chicago is just a few days away, on Thursday, October 30! In preparation, we’re speaking with some of the invaluable leaders who make this program happen every year. Today, we’re featuring Kristopher Murray of Washburne Culinary Institute. Washburne provides $1,000 scholarships for each student on the first, second and third place teams as well as the team with the best presentation. Kris makes this possible. He has also been a judge several times. Washburne Culinary Institute is part of the city colleges of Chicago and a great option for Cooking up Change students to continue their education after high school.

1) Why is Cooking up Change important, especially this year?

Cooking up Change is a major ingredient in the recipe for improving students’ health in Chicago and across the country. It is an exciting forum that allows young people to inspire their peers to try healthier options and appeal to the decision makers. The significance of this year’s event can be seen in the growth in the numbers of the participating schools. The word is definitely out, and these young culinarians see it as a mission worth competing for.

2) Why do you support Cooking up Change?

“A hungry man is an angry man” – Bob Marley

Before a student can conquer math and English, he has to start with a body that is fed the right food and a mind that practices healthy choices. I like to see young people taking positive action.

3) How has being involved with Cooking up Change impacted you and/or Washburne?

The students who have enrolled in our program definitely thrive. Their competition experience has assisted them in school. The experience continues to inspire our Washburne team to look at our traditional culinary format and see how we can further enhance our program by incorporating more healthy techniques.

4) What do you love about Cooking up Change?

Having all the major decision makers in one room, giving an audience to young aspiring chefs advocating for changes in what they eat at school, is priceless. It’s a delicious demonstration full of passion and creativity.

5) When you hear the words “Cooking up Change” what do you think of?

Food is the best medium to facilitate change and remove barriers. The students improvise with a variety of international cuisine. By seeking healthier cooking methods, they open themselves up to different cultures through technique and ingredients. Cooking up Change doesn’t just stop at health. That young person has become a more well-rounded individual because of the experience.

6) How, or why, do Cooking up Change students inspire you?

I’ve been a chef for over 12 years, and as the Dean of Washburne Culinary and Hospitality Institute, I praise any opportunity that gives exposure and excitement to the art of cooking and the science of nutrition.

7) Fill in the blank: Cooking up Change is …a small bite for a healthy future.

Thank you, Kris, for your ongoing support and for sharing your thoughts with us!

Did you know that you can meet Chicago’s student chefs and be part of the action at Cooking up Change Chicago on Thursday, October 30? Purchase tickets or make a donation.