Kristopher Murray is one of those rare exceptions. He arrived at
Washburne from the St. Charles Country Club, where, after years as
executive chef at the Chicago Yacht Club and sous chef at the Peninsula
Hotel, he was the only black chef in the club's history. Several weeks
ago, after getting settled at Washburne, he began calling every chef he
knows in Chicago — black and white — and establishing connections,
letting them know that though Washburne doesn't have a placement office,
he'd be doing that too.
One of the first people he called was Doran Payne, who grew up in St.
Lucia and became known in Chicago food circles as the chef of inventive
Caribbean-inflected dishes at Rhapsody on Millennium Park;
today, he owns Prairie Bread Kitchen in Oak Park. "I commend Kris for
what he is trying to do," Payne said. "It's insane that the executive
director is the guy doing the placement for his own students, though
maybe that's a small price for what he's trying to change here. Maybe a
chef hitting up a chef is more effective than a placement office.
"There are a lot of brilliant black cooks out there who will probably
never see the light of day — which is for a lot of reasons, though I
think this is partly a problem of exposure, to the right restaurants." Full article at Chicago Tribune