Introducing local palates to Brazil’s national dish

Taher Chef Chris Murray serves up feijoada and crazy rice for MLPS students, staff

Taher Chef Chris Murray, a member of the Taher Chef Council, introduced local palates to Brazil’s tasty national dish – feijoada over a bed of crazy rice – when he served up the featured menu’s entree to the students and staff of Mountain Lake Public School (MLPS) for their Wednesday, November 4 noon meal. Taher is the food service provider at the school. Members of the Taher Chef Council traveling around the world as a team in order to stay on the cutting edge of the culinary field.

The word feijoada comes from the Portuguese feijão – for beans. Feijoada is a black bean stew cooked up with beef, pork, bacon, sausage – and of course, black beans – to create a rich, smoky taste. Feijoada is on the menu at every food establishment in the South American country of Brazil – from casual buffets to the top restaurants. The dish is so integrated into Brazilian culture that Saturday is known as “The Day of Feijoada,” making the serving of it  not just a meal – but an event to share with family and friends.

Crazy rice (arroz loco) is appropriately named, as it has a seemingly wild combination of ingredients.  But somehow these unlikely components come together well in this savory Brazilian rice dish. Crazy rice is quite similar to fried rice – minus the soy sauce – and was probably invented as a way to use up leftover ingredients. Those ingredients include the staple, rice, plus peppers, corn, raisins and bacon or chorzio (pork sausage).

Before Chef Chris Murray joined Taher, Inc. in 2003 as Corporate Catering Manager, his culinary experiences included – Director of Catering for the Minnesota Vikings Food Service preparing food for the executive suites and VIP parties at the Hubert H. Humphrey dome; Chef at the Eden Prairie City Center, catering weddings, corporate functions and private parties; Executive Chef to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and Board of Directors for the IDS/American Express Corporation and owner of a successful “Personal Chef Service,” catering dinners, proms and private parties. In 1998, Chris had the privilege of catering the 1998 United States Presidential visit of Bill Clinton.

As Regional Chef for Taher, Chef Chris assists with new account openings and large catered events, and awes customers with his On Display cooking of international cuisine at Taher-managed accounts. He is an active member of the Minneapolis Chapter of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) where he enthusiastically donates his time to help others less fortunate. In 2001, he was awarded the “Presidential Hero of Everyday Life” award for his work feeding homeless, and in 2007, as Taher’s Executive Chef at Hennepin Technical College (HTC), Chris received the “Spirit of the Heart” award given by Dr. Kathryn Jeffery, President of HTC-BP, for his commitment to students. He has organized many fundraising golf tournaments to assist charitable organizations, and participated in “We Can Ride” fundraising dinners for handicapped children in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Following is a photo gallery of the visit of Chef Chris to the kitchen and cafeteria of MLPS:



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CHEF CHRIS MURRAY, right, explains the details of the special Brazilian dish ready to be taste-tested for Wednesday noon lunch to Kelli Tucholke’s kindergarten students



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KINDERGARTEN STUDENT KEYMONI Bent, left, reaches up to hand his tray to Chef Chris Murray, center and Sue Ellen Holmberg of the local food service, right, so that the pair can dish up his helping of crazy rice topped by feijoada.Keymoni is a member of Kelli Tucholke’s kindergarten class.



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BEN FALK HAS his serving of feijoada and crazy rice (along with some celery and broccoli) on his tray, and is heading to the lunch room to give the new entree a try. Ben, too is a student in the kindergarten class of Kelli Tucholke.



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CLAIRE ADRIAN IS also going to taste test Brazil’s national dish, opting to have her feijoada and crazy rice side-by-side. Claire is a kindergarten student in the classroom of Nicole James.



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MOUNTAIN LAKE’S TAHER Food Service Director Tammy Wolle, right, snaps a photo of Chef Chris Murray, center, and kindergarten student Truin-Kaine Mallory, left. Truin-Kaine is a student in Nicole James’ classroom.
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