Chefs Lacing 'Em Up for City Harvest

October 11, 2013 at 8:00am EST | by Barbara Huebner, Marathon News Service

Acclaimed chefs Ivy Stark and Marc Murphy have no appetite for allowing needy people in NYC to go hungry, so they’re running the ING New York City Marathon on November 3 to stock the larder for City Harvest.

But they bring vastly different ingredients to the table.

Stark, who has completed many races—including the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, in 5:35:13—is a long-time runner.

Until a few months ago, when he heard about the City Harvest Marathon Team, Murphy had never run at all.

“This is a new project for me, [and] a painful one at that,” he said in a telephone interview.

First the left ankle hurt; Murphy got over that. Then the right calf hurt; he got over that, too. Now his left hip is bothering him. His longest run so far has been just 13 miles.

“This getting-old thing is for the birds,” said the 44-year-old, who is the chef and owner of Landmarc and Ditch Plains and is the executive chef and partner of Kingside, set to open October 21 in the new Viceroy New York hotel.

Running may be new to Murphy, but City Harvest isn’t. A nonprofit food-rescue organization founded in 1982, City Harvest collects 46 million pounds of excess food each year for distribution to community food programs. Murphy has been involved since 2004, and he became a member of its board of directors in 2010. Among his many fundraising activities for the group, he has been auctioned off at City Harvest’s annual gala to prepare a private dinner for the highest bidder.

“I think last year I went for $40,000,” he said.

That kind of money feeds a lot of people, and the nine-person City Harvest team hopes to raise $50,000 more as one of the marathon’s charity partners. “As a chef and a father,” Murphy said, “you don’t want anyone to be hungry. You see parents who don’t have enough money to feed their kids, and there is nothing worse than that.”

Stark, the corporate executive chef at Dos Caminos, often runs the four miles to work from her home in the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn, crossing the Manhattan Bridge and getting an inspiring view of the Statue of Liberty. But she is often inspired in a less-glamorous way, too: by seeing garbage cans outside restaurants with “just tons of stuff thrown away.”

On her long run last Monday, Stark saw a more heartening sight: a City Harvest truck parked at the Brooklyn Food Co-op.

“I thought, ‘That’s cool, I’m on their team!’” she said.

Stark calls the 2010 ING New York City Marathon one of the best days of her life, and said that she’s thrilled at the chance to run for a hunger-related charity—especially for the one that’s nearest and dearest to her heart.

“As a chef, I of course make my living cooking for people,” she said in a recent interview on the City Harvest website. “The nurturing aspect of that makes it unbearable for me to think about any person going without food. I think we are all obligated to contribute to society, and the opportunity to use my chosen profession to help feed someone in need is a tremendous gift.”

As for Murphy, he just might be developing a taste for running despite the aches and pains.

“I found that this summer was beautiful,” he said. “I had no idea how many people were doing the lower loop in [Central Park] at 9:30 p.m.”