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Tom Hurley is a regionally and nationally recognized chef specializing in French cuisine. He has appeared on the Food Network, and was named Portland’s best chef.
Tom Hurley’s career has already managed to make a name for himself both within Portland’s foodie community as well as the national restaurant scene. He served as the inspiration and head chef of two popular and acclaimed eateries, Hurley’s and Coupage. His mix of French and Continental influences has won admiration from critics and customers alike. The praise heaped upon him has come from high profile outlets like Food Arts, Portland Monthly, and Gourmet magazine, among others. More recently, he was offered the honor of cooking at the James Beard House, widely considered to be one of the cultural epicenters of gourmet cooking.
When he isn’t cooking, he enjoys both philanthropic endeavors as well as more traditional hobbies. He actively participates in events with the Portland Boys and Girls Club, an organization that tries to give children a safe space to enjoy themselves while offering educational tools and other important resources. He is also involved with CASA, a group aimed at helping children who are victims of abuse, and the Special Olympics. Finally, Tom Hurley also takes pride in his donations to Tribute to Honor. This group was founded by Portland police officers and dedicated to helping the families of the first responders who died in 9/11.
Beginning his culinary career with an education from the esteemed French Culinary Institute, Tom Hurley learned how to make delicious dishes with a variety of French and American influences. The French Culinary Institute is known for producing some of the best cooks in the nation, and Chef Hurley is no exception. Taking his education and his natural talent to incredible heights, he has brought himself national, and even international, recognition for his work at two restaurants, Hurley’s and Coupage. Among his most notable achievements are his award for Portland’s Best Chef, an invitation to cook at the James Beard House, and appearances on the Food Network. While he is best known for his work in the kitchen, he is also an active and passionate philanthropist.
Opening a restaurant takes a rare combination of hard work, dedication and, most importantly, talent. Most restaurants will not find success without the right combination of these elements, failing to bring together any cohesion or quality service. Chef Tom Hurley’s success among the fine dining community is unquestionable. Anyone interested in the industry should look to his recipe, if you will, when it comes to what’s necessary in a truly great restaurant. Motivated staff, inspired decoration, and a diverse menu are featured in both of Hurley’s restaurants. Both of his eateries that can serve as a prime example of how to run a restaurant.
His first establishment, Hurley’s, bears the name of the man who brought it into being. Immediately after they started serving some of Chef Tom Hurley’s signature dishes, it become widely considered to be one of the premier spots for fine dining among the Portland community. Portland is a notoriously tough food crowd with a large population of discerning palates, and the restaurant industry is even more crowded and competitive than most. Elbowing his way to success with a unique take on French-Asian fusion, he managed to attract attention and critical acclaim nonetheless. The menu was rich in flavors and exotic ingredients, including premium Kobe beef, truffle oil, and foie gras is multiple dishes. The decor was intimate, and the dessert menu considered to be unparalleled among local fine dining establishments. The critics hailed it as a destination, and the praise came from all over. Even national and international food critics recognized the new talent on display in Portland.
Coupage, chef Tom Hurley’s second fusion restaurant, opened in Seattle. It explored familiar themes in Hurley’s repertoire, offering a fascinating fusion menu that mixed Asian and European influences. The Coupage burger -- considered the best in Seattle -- is a prime example of how Tom has mastered the art of reinventing a classic. Featuring kimchee, foie gras, and tomato confit, it takes an American cornerstone and adds international flavor to totally redefine the conceptual approach to a burger. While the reviewers agreed that it was among the best burgers on the west coast, the rest of the menu was equally interesting. Chef Hurley has always taken care to expertly craft his smaller dishes, and the salads and vegetable selections reflect this. His desserts were equally well received, too, with the black sesame creme brulee attracting particular adoration.
This kind of success doesn’t come without attention from the media. Reviewers and locals have always heaped praise on Chef Hurley, but major food journalism outlets have also taken notice. Well-known and respected magazines like Gourmet have covered his accomplishments. They note in particular his unique flair and creativity in the kitchen. Portland Monthly, in addition to their positive reviews, stated that his work makes up a major contribution to the cultural community. The long running trade magazine Food Arts has also run articles that trumpeted Hurley’s many achievements, appropriately casting him as an industry leader. Finally, Tom has achieved what is often considered the Holy Grail for local chefs, appearing on the Food Network. Even those who aren’t as immersed in the world of culinary artistry as Tom, are still familiar with the media titan. Their recognition of his work propelled him to even greater heights.
Tom Hurley also notes his invitation to cook at the James Beard House as one of his most memorable achievements thus far. Part of the larger James Beard Foundation, the House was named in honor of educator and critic James Beard. It offers a chance for chefs to cook directly in front of their guests, interacting with them in an intimate and unique way. Considered to be among cooking’s biggest stages, he used the platform to showcase his talents and his unique style.
In addition to his history as a chef and restaurant executive, Tom Hurly also has a wealth of philanthropic experience. Focusing in particular on at-risk children, he is an active participant in the Boys and Girls club of Portland, and also works with CASA, an organization devoted to helping children who are victims of abuse. He has also donated to the Special Olympics, and Tribute to Honor, a local charity founded by 5 Portland police officers. It seeks to provide aid and assistance to the families of first respondents who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Regardless of whether it’s in the kitchen or through charity, Chef Hurley is always demonstrating the personal excellence that has allowed him to do so far in the culinary world. With two successful restaurants and a host of positive press, his career arch has gone nowhere but up. When it comes to Tom Hurley’s cooking, critics and customers can all agree -- you’ll be getting the best of the best.
Having already opened two successful restaurants that received widespread critical acclaim, Hurley’s and Coupage, there’s no telling what’s next for Tom Hurley. Moving forward, he will stick to the style and experimentation that has made him so successful, combining his European and Asian influences into incredible fusion dishes. Whenever he opens a restaurant, critics and customers have come to expect a standard of quality. He always delivers when it comes to a signature dish, a finely honed sense of design, the desert menu, and a unparalleled staff wholly dedicated to customer service. He has received national, and even international, attention for his work thus far. He hopes to continue dazzling everyone who steps through the doors of his establishments. For him, food is life, and he wants to share his love and his talent with everyone.
Just as important as Tom Hurley’s cooking, however, are his charitable pursuits. He has demonstrated extraordinary empathy for someone in a field that requires grit and toughness, and moving forward he aims to continue doing so. Showing special affection for children, particularly those at risk, he’ll continue participating with the Boys and Girls Club as well as CASA. He will remain committed to helping kids get the resources they need to stay safe and healthy. Tom Hurley has also supported the Tribute to Honor in the past, and will keep helping them get support the families of the 9/11 first responders.
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