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 she 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. Recently she returned to France, this time to Alsace, to work with Ferber.
By chance, she 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 in a city that reveled in local fruit as much as her childhood home in California. Most recently, Murray accepted the position of pastry chef at Vitaly Paley's iconic Portland restaurant, Paley's Place. It’s there that the 2011 Portland Rising Star weaves unexpected flavor profiles (like grapefruit and green almond) and her childhood reverence for fresh produce into inspired pastry creations.