Cooking with Books: An interview with chef and writer Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Over a year ago, I set out to learn more about culinary professionals and the culinary world as a whole. An obvious benefit of this work is getting to know people like me; others that not only love food, but enjoy writing about it! Enter: Marnely Rodriguez-Murray from Cooking with Books.

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Over a year ago, I set out to learn more about culinary professionals and the culinary world as a whole. An obvious benefit of this work is getting to know people like me; others that not only love food, but enjoy writing about it!

While I’ve had the opportunity to get to know more about many of them, one of my favorite bloggers is Marnely Rodriguez-Murray from Cooking with Books. As an added bonus, Marnely also has the experience of working in a professional kitchen which gives her the hands-on experience in the culinary world that I often wonder about. I had the opportunity to check in with Marnely some time ago; we talked a bit about how she got started cooking, what it’s like living on Martha’s Vineyard, and her personal food memories.

Foodie Journal: When did you realize that you loved food enough that you wanted to make a career out of it?

Marnely Rodriguez-Murray: I grew up in a household where my mom baked every-single-day, from cookies to brownies and so many cakes! Her passion for baking was always in the back of my mind, but I went on to get my BPS in Hotel Management with a concentration in Culinary Arts (more of a savory cook). At the end of my college career, I learned about The CIA in Hyde Park, NY and decided to make the move and do the AOS in Baking and Pastry Arts. So I went from being a cook, to a baker, to present day AM Sous Chef at Vineyard Golf Club.

FJ: Can you talk a little bit about your first experience in a professional kitchen?

MRM: My first experience in a professional kitchen came not even 3 years ago! As a baker, I typically worked in bread shops and chocolate shops, so switching over to be a cook on Martha’s Vineyard 3 years ago was my first “on the line” experience. I fell in love the moment the first ticket came in (and I also fell in love with a fellow cook, my now husband!)

FJ: Cooking isn’t the only thing that occupies your time. You have a great food site, Cooking with Books, and you also do lifestyle and food writing for other sites. What was it that prompted you to start writing?

MRM: Food prompts food blogging, simple as that. We went on a trip to Las Vegas and ate everything and everywhere. Back home, I needed an outlet to share our experiences, food photos, and thoughts. I had been blogging for 5 years before (personal blog), so thought that a food blog was the perfect way to share!

FJ: You live and work on Martha’s Vineyard — is it ever tough living through high- and low-season?

MRM: Working on MV definitely is like living in a fantasy world! We have 6 months off (October to April) to travel and research (meaning we just eat a lot out!) During the season (April to October), we work 13 hour days, 6 days a week and sometimes more, so I have to be really diligent with staying on top of the blog. 

FJ: So everyone that loves food has food memories that they love too. Do you have a favorite?

MRM: Wow, that’s a tough one. Food related memory: visiting a cacao farm in the DR. It’s surreal to see real cacao pods hanging from the trees and the baker in me squealed when I saw them! Another memory, which was a recurring memory since my Mom made this dish on rainy days back home and it is the ultimate comfort food to me. It’s the Dominican version of risotto.

Marnely currently works as AM Sous Chef & Baker at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. You can learn more about her on her phenomenal food blog, Cooking with Books. 

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