Jay Murray, Executive Chef
Jay Murray didn’t stand a chance. Between his parents’ cooking school, catering business, gourmet shops and restaurants, he could do little to escape the kitchen. Fortunately that was a good thing. “By fourth grade, cooking had become a bit of an obsession for me,” explains Murray. “Friends would spend the night and I’d make them join me in preparing quick breads at all hours. We never used recipes, but they always seemed to turn out. Later, when I was in the sixth grade, French Chef Antoine Bouterin stayed at our house while teaching at my parents’ school. You just can’t beat exposure like that.”
The chef, who learned his craft through years of interest, exposure, research, and intense practice, attended Hampshire College to pursue a degree in writing. “Almost by accident, my thesis wound up as a scholarly cookbook,” he says. “After college I did some food writing and sought career advice from two chefs whom I respected—Rick Bayless and Charlie Trotter. They each made the same suggestion: “Be a chef and go as far as you can with it, then decide what you're going to do.” They were right.
After honing his skills under Gabino Sotelino in Chicago, Murray made his name at New England’s top inns, first at Blantyre and then as Executive Chef of Silks at the acclaimed Stonehedge Inn.
Executive Chef of Grill 23 since 1998, Murray continues to raise the bar on the classic American cuisine for which the restaurant has long been famous. In recent months, Murray updated the entire restaurant concept of the Grill, now featuring even more exciting “A la Carte” choices (including dry-aged, prime beef from corn-fed cattle that have never received growth hormones or antibiotics) and an expanded “Grill 23 Signature Specials” menu showcasing his more innovative and stylized cuisine. Taking full advantage of the wealth of local seafood, produce and prime meats, Murray skillfully balances innovation with tradition. His food has been called “authoritatively flavored,” “downright daring,” and “simply delicious.”
Under Murray’s helm, Grill 23 & Bar consistently garners accolades. In 2002, John Mariani for Town & Country Magazine named Grill 23 one of “America’s Top Ten Steakhouses,” then in the 2005, Allison Arnett of The Boston Globe praised Grill 23 as “King.” Grill 23 also earns the highest honors from the Zagat Survey, including Most Popular, Top American, Top Steakhouse, and Top Seafood Restaurant.