It’s no secret among those who appreciate food that some of the best dishes include love as the main ingredient.
Chef Andre Murphy of Atlantic City, New Jersey puts heaping servings of it in his famous Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes.
But that’s not all. The secret to his succulent soul food creation is that it’s not seasoned with love alone.
“It’s my Mom’s recipe,” he says, proudly. “She’s been making it for me for about 40 years and I’ve been making it for my kids for about 25 years.”
Since November 2020 Murphy has gone a step further: Preparing and serving his Chicken N Potatoes to communities across New Jersey –– for free. Billed as “Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes Community Feeding Tour,” its initial eight-week trek included visits to churches, community centers and other social gathering venues. With each tour stop, Murphy and his team fed his signature dish to more than 500 people. Their mission was to assist struggling families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With our friends and families being out of work, we knew it was going to be hard putting food on the table,” explained Murphy. “That was the main reason for putting my dish out there. It was to help families.”
He and his team are achieving that mission through their Grab N Go Feeding Initiative that’s contact free and CDC compliant. Murphy said this movement is feeding the soul.
“The love that starts at the distributer, we put in the dish,” Murphy elaborates. “Not only am I hands-on at the distributer but I’m also hands-on at the serving stations. The dish gets hit with a lot of love before it gets to each person. That’s why we call it healing the soul. You should see the response.”
Murphy shared a video on social media of him being interviewed while preparing his Chicken N Potatoes inside his commercial kitchen. The person conducting the interview was behind the camera, so their response was not visible. However, their impression of the dish was loud and clear. “It smells so good!” they exclaimed. “This is amazing! God bless you and everything you’re doing for the community.”
Murphy’s last Community Feeding Tour stop of 2020 was the Mullica School of New Jersey’s “Welcome Winter Drive-Thru Car Parade” presented by The Mullica Township ACES Program and Community Partners. Murphy said he was “excited to provide 100 members of our youth a hot meal.”
When not donning his chef garb Murphy is usually dressed in a suit and tie. As the CEO of The Live Group, LLC and founder of Growing Black Wealth, he knows his way around the boardroom as well as a kitchen. His business acumen and kind heart brought him a host of supporters and sponsors for the Feeding Tour. Ocean First Bank, Parke Bank, Fulton Bank, Camey’s Autoworks, Atlantic City Network, and Suasion Communications Group were among the many on board. And Murphy’s charitable efforts are continuing to attract valuable helping hands.
“I got an email yesterday from a person who works at corporate for Walmart,” he says, smiling. “They were asking me if I needed a grant. I like that.”
Doors are opening, he said, and he’s not looking back.
For 2021, he hopes to distribute his Chicken N Potatoes to 30 stores, with proceeds benefiting those in need. Plus, he plans to continue traveling from community to community dishing out heaping servings of love.
Through it all he said, his mother’s love helps keep him going.
Said Murphy: “Its special man, because she’s watching over me and guiding me spiritually.”
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