A household name on the Canadian food scene for over three decades, Rose Murray is respected for her sense of the agricultural traditions of our food. This sensibility was inherited from a childhood on a self-sustaining mixed farm near Collingwood, Ontario where she learned the art of growing your own food, cooking and preserving it at a very young age.
A university degree in English from Trinity College (U of T), however, led her into other fields. She taught high school English for a number of years before her children were born. Then, as a stay-at-home mother, she volunteered as an art gallery docent, and food once again became of great interest with influence and direction from close friends who were already food professionals. The interest led to formal studies at cooking schools in Paris: Cordon Bleu, La Varenne and Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise Ritz-Escoffier as well as classes in Costa Rica, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Back at home, Rose has travelled across Canada to study our food and culture first-hand. Among other experiences, she has fished for salmon off Vancouver Island, enjoyed fall suppers in northern Saskatchewan, gathered wild rice in northern Ontario, picked berries on the Gaspe and on Cape Breton Island and dug for clams in Prince Edward Island.
While she has authored a prolific eleven cookbooks since 1979, Rose has written for a number of magazines and newspapers. Her work has appeared in such publications as Canadian Living, Elm Street, Homemakers, City and Country Home, Family Magazine, Confidante, President’s Choice Magazine, Harrowsmith, Epicure, Ontario Living, Select Homes & Food, Verve, You, Australian Woman’s Day, London Magazine, The Globe and Mail with regular columns for a time in The Toronto Star and The Cambridge Reporter.
Her cookbooks cover a great range of subjects: Canadian Christmas Cooking (first published by Lorimer in 1979, reprinted by McGraw-Hill, 1990, 98, 99, reprinted by Whitecap Books, fall 2013), Rose Murray’s Vegetable Cookbook (James Lorimer & Company, 1983), Secrets of the Sea (Grosvenor House Press Inc., 1989), Rose Murray’s Comfortable Kitchen Cookbook (McGraw-Hill, 1991), Cellar & Silver (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1993), The 125 Best Casseroles (Robert Rose, 2002)…reprint of New Casseroles (Macmillan, 1996), Quick Chicken (Robert Rose, 1999), reprinted as 125 Best Chicken Recipes, 2003, A Year in My Kitchen (Prentice Hall, 2001), Hungry for Comfort (Penguin Books, 2003). The latter won gold for the best English cookbook as well as bronze in the food culture category from Cuisine Canada/University of Guelph National Culinary Book Awards in 2004. Her tenth cookbook is A Taste of Canada: A Culinary Journey (Whitecap, 2008) and won an honourable mention at the National Culinary Book Awards in 2009. Canada’s Favourite Recipes, authored with Elizabeth Baird, published by Whitecap in 2012, won gold in the general cookbook category in the national food writing awards in 2013. Rose has also been a main contributor to over 40 other cookbooks including the popular Canadian Living books. As well, she wrote the introduction to the 2007 commemorative edition of Edna Staebler’s classic Food that Really Schmecks used in the Life Studies Department of Wilfrid Laurier University. The Brant County Library System picked Rose’s title A Taste of Canada as their 2012 “One Book/One Read” selection.
Owner of a cooking school in Kitchener for a number of years, Rose has taught cuisine in various other venues including Conestoga College, Waterloo and a food and culture course at Wilfrid Laurier University. Over the years, she has also demonstrated cooking techniques at food shows like The Royal Winter Fair, the Ottawa Food and Wine Show, Saskatchewan Food and Wine Festival, The Good Food Festival in Toronto and has been a guest teacher and speaker at many other events throughout the country.
Performing her first television cooking demonstration 35 years ago, Rose has appeared often on a variety of radio and television shows such as CBC’s Ontario Today and Fresh Air, TVO More to Life, Roger’s Daytime, London New PL’s New Day and for many years, was resident cook on Kitchener’s CTV Noon News where she primarily promoted local food and growers.
Besides winning top honours for Hungry for Comfort in 2004, and Canada’s Favourite Recipes in 2013, Rose was the 1993-94 recipient of the Toronto Culinary Guild’s Silver Ladle Award for her unique contribution to Ontario’s food industry and the 1994 Bernice Adams Memorial Award (Cambridge, Ontario) for Communications/Literary Arts. Rose also won the gold award in 2009 for writing in the category of Media/Publishing from the Ontario Hostelry Institute, and in 2010 received the Cambridge YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Culture. On June 18th, 2014, Rose received an award in the literary category at the Arts Awards Waterloo Region ceremony, honoured for her inclusion of Canadian lore and history in her cookbooks. In September, 2015, Rose was installed into Taste Canada’s Hall of Fame with their lifetime achievement award, the top honour a food writer can attain in Canada.
Mother of two grown children and grandmother of two, Rose lives with her husband, Kent in Cambridge, Ontario.