Pastry Chef at Spire Farm-to-Fork CuisineShare your story
Be prepared to work hard and show your passion and dedication to the field. There is more than just cooking or serving the guests’ needs; it’s about the creativity and the experiences that you and the staff create for the customers.”
Cooking has always come naturally to Robert Morris University Alumnus, Rachel Murphy, and she has turned her passion into an art form. Murphy graduated from the Orland Park campus with an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Advanced Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Currently, she works as a Pastry Chef at Spire Farm-to-Fork Cuisine in La Porte, Indiana.
Since graduating RMU, Murphy has been expanding her knowledge and skills of the culinary arts through creative endeavors, both locally and internationally. She has been an active participant in the RMU culinary community through her involvements as an active Culinary Society alumnus, a guest chef at the annual Culinary Symposium, and helping out with various dinners and other culinary events. Murphy had the opportunity of traveling to Florence, Italy to be a part of Florence University of the Art’s Tutto Toscana (“All things Tuscan”) Program. The four week intensive program began with three weeks of learning contemporary Tuscan cuisine in Florence, leading up to a week of events in New York City. “I was a part of giving a lecture and cooking with nutrition students at Queen’s College, demonstrating Tuscan cuisine at DeGustibus at Macy’s Herald Square, and finishing the week with a lunch and dinner at the prestigious James Beard House,” describes Murphy.
RMU provided an important stepping stone in Murphy’s culinary arts career. As soon as she began her studies, Murphy started volunteering for university-wide events, working on iCenter projects, and took on the opportunity to study abroad in Florence. Murphy became more confident in her pursuits to become a chef as she took on more projects and events at RMU. Studying abroad also helped broaden her views of other cultures and people’s love for food. “RMU jump-started my career path by providing me with a foundation in all facets of culinary and hospitality. It’s not just about cooking or baking, but also understanding how to run the front and back of house smoothly with the business and connecting with others within the industry. All of this knowledge is a part of working in the industry, growing as a chef, and reaching goals,” she says.
Murphy began her position as a Pastry Chef at Spire Farm-to-Fork Cuisine in June 2014 and views this change as one of her biggest career accomplishments. Spire Farm-to-Fork Cuisine prides itself in the essence of inventive cooking. The first restaurant of its kind in La Porte, it features a fresh and healthy menu with every item made from scratch, using products sourced from farms within a 250-mile radius from the restaurant. In her position, Murphy is able to be creative with the menu, which changes monthly and only uses local and seasonal ingredients.
Focusing on the future, Murphy sees herself continuing to constantly learn and grow as a chef, while working in the kitchens and experiencing everything the industry has to offer. She also plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s degree and taking course specific classes in order to stay up to date with evolving industry techniques.
Looking back at her experience at RMU, Murphy states, “Every class at RMU has a purpose. Learning about how to meet and stay in contact with others in the industry is important for business and everything learned in a management or culinary class is used in some form daily. The building blocks are given to you while at RMU, and after graduating you are able to experiment and be creative upon the techniques and experiences taught at school.”
Murphy’s passion for cooking has transferred into a successful career and she wants to share her experience with other culinary students and RMU alumni. Her profession shows that being versatile and hardworking employees helps graduates move forward in their careers. Murphy’s advice to anyone entering the culinary field is to “Be prepared to work hard and show your passion and dedication to the field. There is more than just cooking or serving the guests’ needs; it’s about the creativity and the experiences that you and the staff create for the customers.”