Photo by Talia J. Brown

It’s easy to think that personal chefs are only for the rich and famous.

However, many top-notch cooks such as Baltimore’s Dorien Murphy regularly answer the call to pack up their pots and pans, spices and all the groceries needed to make delicious meals for everyday folks.

With a solid 5-star rating on Thumbtack, Murphy counts as a multi-venture owner and chef and he leads the development of the personalized culinary industry.

After attending Morgan State University and earning a degree in culinary arts from Baltimore International Academy, Murphy founded Cheffin, a uniquely curated food center for households in Baltimore, the District, Philadelphia, New York and other locations.

“My interest in cooking began at a very young age,” Murphy said. “At 5 years old, my passion for cooking was inspired by my parents. They always playfully battled in the kitchen. Mom had the best sides while Dad made the best ribs and sauce. That passion was expounded upon as I watched primetime Food Network programming.”

Murphy, who cites Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and G. Garvin as his favorite chefs, said the culinary industry has never been an easy one and that he’s had his own share of unique challenges.

“Balancing my love for business and culinary arts was the initial challenge,” he said.

Murphy grappled with how to satiate his entrepreneurial hunger through culinary arts.

“The recipe led me to the creation of Cheffin, a personal chef consortium,” Murphy said. “The next challenge was centering the Cheffin values around health and creating menus that were uniquely wellness based that clients would buy into. The solution to both challenges was found through passion, perseverance and patience.”

When he’s hired to cook for families in their homes or at other locations, Murphy readily informs his ultimately satisfied customers that he has a few favorite dish combinations that are inspired by the art of French and Italian cuisine that’s delivered with an American flair.

Among those are his Chilean sea bass with rosemary forbidden rice, corn bisque, and scorched sweet peppers.

“The Chilean sea bass is a warm and renewing dish,” Murphy said. “I love how hearty yet delicate the bass is. Its flakiness lends well in consuming complete bites of the corn bisque and forbidden rice.

“The scorched sweet peppers add some smokiness to the dish where all other components are light in flavor. It is definitely one of my favorites for sure,” he said.

The noted cook also features “Chef Dorien’s Winter Salad,” which includes poached shrimp and baby kale with shaved fennel, spiralized red beet, Kumato tomato, and maple vinaigrette.

“The winter salad is a joy and refreshing like the first snowflake of the season upon your tongue,” Murphy said. “I love how robust and healthy baby kale is. It really holds well on the plate and bonds with the stab of your fork. Baby kale is lightly bitter, it pairs with the sweetness of the spiralized beet and maple vinaigrette.

“The beet compliments the salad with a subtle saccharine tartness,” he said. “Its crunchy sweet texture helps balance the acidity and harsh licorice of the rice wine vinegar.”

With a background that’s steeped in the culinary arts and hospitality industry, Murphy has worked for luxury hotel companies as an executive, health auditor and consultant.

But his culinary journey began as a cook at the Elkridge Country Club in Baltimore, where he said he honed his skills.

That African Americans are now receiving more attention in the culinary world obviously isn’t lost on Murphy, he said.

“I believe that African Americans are continuously emerging as tastemakers in the United States,” he said. “The evolution of hip-hop, the prevalence of African Americans in the athletic landscape, fashion and business industries has advanced the acceptance of black culture in mainstream American life.

“America has become more accepting of the African-American voice and image, and as such, it has become more aware of the value African American expression has in a Caucasian-dominated profession,” Murphy said. “Black chefs have distinctive relationships with flavor and cooking that add tremendous value and variation to the culinary industry. It is very difficult to deny or prevent the progression of food and African American culture is an integral piece of this growth.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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