Rising Star Pastry Chef Kristen Murray of Paley's Place - Biography

Portland, OR

November 2011

As a little girl, Kristen Murray grew up surrounded by raspberry bushes and fig and kumquat trees. So when Murray tells her story to the diner, it starts with her childhood in Southern California, where ripe fruit was always at her fingertips. Baking with her grandmothers, she would transform those fruits into her earliest desserts.

Her grandmothers’ wisdom and experience first guided Murray, but since growing up, Murray’s professional pastry career has been shaped by many more industry talents. She spent time at Gramercy Tavern with pastry chef Claudia Fleming. And she worked with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at New York’s Aquavit. After Aquavit, Murray served as executive pastry chef at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in New York. She then moved to Boston to work for restaurateur Barbara Lynch at No. 9 Park. She assisted Lynch in cooking "Le Picnic" with Les Nouvelles Mères Cuisinières to Courchevel, France. Murray practiced her French technique while there and had the opportunity to meet pastry queen Christine Ferber. She later returned to France, this time to Alsace, to work with Ferber once more.

Murray moved to Oregon in 2008 for a stint at Lucier in Portland. After Lucier closed, Murray was brought on as a consultant pastry chef at Fenouil and decided to stick around, feeling right at home in a city that reveled in local fruit as much as her native California. Her next position, at Vitaly Paley's iconic Portland restaurant Paley's Place, earned her a 2011 Portland Rising Star award and cemented her status as one of Portland's most beloved patissiers. Most recently, Murray stepped out on her own to open Luncheonette Maurice in downtown Portland, where she has fully realized the concept she's been incubating for almost a decade. Skillfully spanning the sweet-savory divide, Murray's menu dishes up Goat Bisteeya and Black Pepper Cheesecake with equally stunning success, leaving no question as to the range of this deliciously talented chef.