Chicago, IL – Washburne Culinary Institute, a leader in providing superior culinary arts training, announced today the appointment of culinary and hospitality veteran Kristopher Murray to executive director and executive chef of the culinary school, a satellite campus of Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. Murray brings more than 10 years of management experience to the premier culinary school on Chicago’s south side, including serving as the sous chef and opening team member for the Peninsula Hotel, which received the Mobile Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond awards.
“Murray’s experience managing food and beverage operations will help us achieve even higher success at Washburne Culinary Institute,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl L. Hyman. “He will be able to use his background as an executive chef to build on the real-world culinary experiences we provide our students through our on-site upscale restaurants and our bakery cafe. That hands-on experience gives our graduates a competitive edge when pursuing their careers.”
Murray will manage the culinary education program at Washburne and provide oversight to the French Pastry School, as well as Washburne’s incubator kitchens, the Zagat-rated Parrot Cage restaurant at the South Shore Cultural Center, the Sikia Banquet Facility on Kennedy-King’s campus and the seasonal Buckingham Fountain Cafe in Grant Park.
Murray replaces retiring Provost William Reynolds, who has led the culinary school since June 2000. Under Provost Reynolds’ tenure, Washburne Culinary Institute established the upscale restaurants and the bakery/cafe, launched six incubator kitchens for community use and raised more than one-million dollars in scholarship funds.
"Washburne Culinary Institute is a true historic marker that has provided more than seventy years of premier culinary training at a significant value,” said Kristopher Murray, executive director and executive chef for Washburne Culinary Institute. “As I embrace the rich tradition I look forward to leading a team of dedicated culinary professionals charged with imparting the best industry techniques that will direct our 21st century learners to fulfilling careers in the hospitality industry."
Murray has served as executive chef of several high profile and prestigious establishments including St. Charles Country Club, Tower Club and The Chicago Yacht Club.
He’s also used his skills to give back to the community by providing cooking demonstrations to several elementary schools and non-profit organizations, including the Black and Latino Alliance for the Chicago YMCA.
Murray received his associate's degree in culinary arts from Kendall College and his bachelor of arts in hospitality management from New England Culinary Institute.