Lighting The Inner Fire
Teacher and Chef Frank Murphy shares his story of how he brought a mobile wood-fired pizza oven to North Bend High School five years ago, and the unexpected positive influence it has had on formerly trouble bound students’ lives. The class built upon fIre and pizza, sparked interest and inspired the students, resulting in the birth of The Blazing Bulldogs Wood Fired Oven, a food and bakery business run totally by
the students. The business gave them an opportunity to learn a myriad of skills, as they gained confidence that transformed their everyday lives. Some of the skills included building interpersonal relationships, and developing a foundation for business skills and growing self- confidence. The combination of fire and pizza altered the paths of many students, keeping them in school and getting them on a path to graduate.
Chef Frank Murphy started his career in Ireland in 1982. He trained in a four year study/internship program at the prestigious Rockwell Hotel and Catering College in Tipperary. He moved on to a successful career as a chef, working in award winning hotels and restaurants around Ireland. His crowning achievement during those years was being recognized and awarded the all Ireland “Chef of the Sea”. In 1990, he moved to Florida and again worked as a chef and here his love of teaching began to emerge, when he took a position at the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1997, where he opened The Grounds Cafe. He again started teaching in 2012 at North Bend High School, teaching only two culinary classes in the beginning. As time went on he was fortunate enough that his passion for food, students and life was recognized and he began to build his much sought out program into a complete Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway of courses where students complete an eleven-course series over three years. Graduates of his program have gone on to Oregon Coast Culinary Institute (OCCI) or directly to jobs in the industry. He has been recognized for Excellence in Innovation and Educator of the year from Bay Area Chamber of Commerce