Fresh start, fresh ingredients

By Colin Foster

February 25, 2014

By Colin Foster

TROY — Chef Jake Murphy was ready for a fresh start.

For the last few years, Murphy lived in New York City, serving in the role of executive chef at the Off The Shelf Catering Company. He was responsible for all food and kitchen operations in that role, and occasionally catered for stars like Jay-Z and Beyonce.

But after a while, living in the Big Apple began to take its toll on him.

“I needed a change of scenery, I needed to slow down … New York’s very fast,” Murphy said.

Making matters even harder for Murphy was the fact that his wife and children lived more than 600 miles away from him in Troy … So when the executive chef position at Troy Country Club came open — Murphy jumped on the chance.

“My kids live here; my son and daughter live here,” said Murphy on his decision to come to Troy. “I’ve been looking for a job here for three years. When I was in New York, I was traveling back and forth, and it was just hard for me — I’d be gone for months.”

The Troy Country Club recently introduced Murphy as the new executive chef. He took over the kitchen on Feb. 7, becoming the anchor of an already formidable culinary team with experienced sous chefs Bill Pittl and Ronnie Short.

“The staff is excited to bring Jake on board and we look forward to what he will do to the culinary experience at the club,” said Nathan Combs, general manager at the club, in a press release.

Murphy has an Associates of Science in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California. He has worked his way up through various kitchens over the last 11 years. Before working at Off The Shelf Catering, he was the sous chef at the Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica, Ca. Murphy graduated from Chatsworth High School (Ca.) in 1999.

Since taking over, Murphy and the TCC staff have catered the Valentine’s Day Dinner and the Troy City of Commerce event on Feb. 20. The country club will host the President’s Ball on March 7.

Murphy has added some “fresh” new items to the menu, including the deconstructed BLT, blue ice shrimp cocktail and the sun-dried tomato pesto.

“I think it’s just my creativeness and just being different,” said Murphy when asked what made him a good fit for the position. “I think they were looking for something different, someone focused on healthier and fresh ingredients.

“I’m honestly trying to change to make it more fresh, give people different things.”

Murphy currently lives here in Troy with his wife Janine, and their two children Finegan (age 5) and Berlyn (age 4).

He said is very excited to be with his family and about his new position at the country club.

“I’m happy,” Murphy said. “I’m super happy … I haven’t been this excited about food in a long time.”