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Morgan Murphy (food critic)

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Morgan Murphy
Culinary career
Cooking styleAmerican Southern
Award(s) won
  • Gold Award for Travel, Society of American Travel Writers, American Library Association Humor Book of the Year 2010,

Morgan Murphy is an American author, Captain in the United States Navy Reserve, former national security advisor to Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville,[1] and former press secretary to the U.S. Secretary of Defense.[2]

Journalism career[edit]

Murphy began his career after Rupert Murdoch took note of the student newspaper Murphy edited while at Birmingham–Southern College. The resulting internship at The New York Post led to his first major byline in 1994. In 1996, Murphy joined Vanity Fair after meeting Graydon Carter in an elevator at Condé Nast.[3] From 1998 to 2000, Murphy worked as a reporter for Forbes under Jim Michaels, and regularly covered small business, entertainment, and the automotive sectors.[4] In 2000, he joined Southern Living and served as the magazine's food critic, executive editor, and national spokesman.[5] The magazine’s parent company, Time Inc., would later publish four of Murphy's five books.

He has appeared on the Travel Channel's American Grilled,[6] The Today Show,[7] Fox & Friends, Fox News,[8] CNN, Sirius XM, Food Talk, Car Talk,[9] NPR,[10] the Speed Channel,[11] and QVC.[12]

Books published as author[edit]

  • Murphy's first book, I Love You – Now Hush (ISBN 978-0895873781), co-authored with author Melinda Rainey Thompson and released in 2010,[13] was named the gold humor book of the year by the American Library Association.[14]
  • Murphy's cookbook Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made Them Famous[15] (ISBN 978-0848734459) is a collection of his favorite restaurants[16] and their most famous recipes[17] from the American South.[18]
  • A sequel Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings: Tasty eats and delicious stories from the South's less-traveled trails (ISBN 978-0848739553) followed in 2013,[19]
  • In 2014 he published Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Food Groups (ISBN 978-0848743161), featuring recipes using bourbon, bacon, or a combination of the two.[20] The book includes a history of bourbon and tasting notes for 75 of his favorite whiskies.[21]
  • In 2015, he published Off the Eaten Path: On the Road Again: More Unforgettable Foods and Characters from the South's Back Roads and Byways (ISBN 978-0848744441), a third entry in his "Off the Eaten Path" series.[12]

Military career[edit]

Murphy joined the United States Naval Reserve in 1999, and has since served on five continents.[22] In 2010, Murphy was called to Afghanistan, where he served in Operation Enduring Freedom as the Director of Media Outreach for the International Security Assistance Force[23] and briefed General David R. Petraeus,[24] 40 general officers, and two ambassadors on a daily basis. In November 2012, he was assigned to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[25] In March 2020, Murphy was recalled to Washington to work for Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, serving as his traveling press secretary, moderating town halls with Esper and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and helping the department respond to COVID-19, the BLM riots, and election security. Murphy was promoted to captain by the Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite on October 13, 2020. After President Trump fired Mark Esper on November 9, Murphy continued as press secretary to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller until January 20, 2021.

Military awards and decorations[edit]

Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Gold star
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one gold award star
Gold star
Gold star
Meritorious Service Medal with two gold award stars
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Gold star
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold award star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Ribbon
Naval Reserve Sea Service Ribbon
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one silver hourglass device and mobilization device
NATO Medal for Afghanistan
U.S. Navy Expert Rifle Marksmanship Medal with expert device
U.S. Navy Expert Pistol Marksmanship Medal with expert device

Classic cars[edit]

Murphy is a classic car enthusiast with a special focus on vintage Packards and Cadillacs. In 2005, Murphy discovered "The Duchess" – a 1941 Cadillac limousine created for the abdicated king Edward VIII and his consort Wallis Simpson – in a barn in Fort Worth, Texas.[22][26] The car was a one-of-a-kind creation by General Motors' chief designer Harley Earl, under the direction of the company's chairman and chief executive officer, Alfred P. Sloan. When Murphy purchased the car, it was in disrepair and its provenance was unproven.[27] Murphy conducted a three-year restoration effort,[28] and in November 2013, he offered the car for sale through an RM Auctions and Sotheby's "Art of the Automobile" sale.[29][30][31] The auction houses called it "one of the most famous and iconic cars of both American and English society", and suggested the car should sell for between $500,000 and $800,000.[29][30][31]

In 2007, Murphy founded Motorpool.com, which was claimed to be the world's first social network for classic car enthusiasts.[22][32] The launch was backed by more than $1 million in venture capital.[33] In late 2010, Murphy had recently toured the country in a vintage Cadillac to promote the site's launch (and had nine Cadillacs in his possession).[22]

Personal life and education[edit]

Murphy was born in Mountain Brook, Alabama (a suburb of Birmingham) and grew up in Birmingham.[22]

He received a Bachelor's degree in 1994 from Birmingham-Southern College (which honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013).[22][34] He received an MBA from the University of Oxford,[35] where he was a member of Exeter College[22] and was elected by the university as its "MBA of the Year".[36][better source needed] He received his Joint Professional Military Education degree in 2017 from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Morgan Murphy was the national security adviser to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). He presented Tuberville with the highly controversial strategy of stalling scores of senior military nominations in an attempt to stop a new Defense Department policy that helps to ensure access to abortions for service members.[37]


  1. ^ "What is Tommy Tuberville doing here?". Washington Post. October 19, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2024.
  2. ^ "Acting Defense Secretary Visits JIATF South".
  3. ^ Young, Toby (2001). How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. p. 129. ISBN 0-306-81188-X.
  4. ^ "Forbes Search". Forbes.
  5. ^ "'Off the Eaten Path' author and 'Southern Living' food critic reveals life on the culinary road". Manchester Times. June 25, 2013.
  6. ^ "Chef and New Orleans native David Guas returns home Thursday to record new Travel Channel show, 'American Grilled'". New Orleans Times Picayune. April 16, 2014.
  7. ^ "Cooking with Morgan Murphy". NBC Today Show. May 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "LCDR Morgan Murphy Returns from Afghanistan". Fox News. May 18, 2011. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  9. ^ "Car Talk Goes Off the Eaten Path". National Public Radio. July 2011.
  10. ^ "Food News with Morgan Murphy". National Public Radio. June 13, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Test Drive the Acura TL with Morgan Murphy". Speed Channel. September 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Off the Eaten Path: On the Road Again, by Southern Living". QVC.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  13. ^ "I Love You Now Hush". Alabama Public Radio. April 26, 2010.
  14. ^ "Book of the Year Awards 2010", Foreword.
  15. ^ "Southern food critic goes 'Off the Eaten Path". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. May 23, 2011.
  16. ^ "South a road-tripper's feast". The Chicago Tribune. January 10, 2012.
  17. ^ "Off the Trail with Morgan Murphy". ABC36 Lexington, KY. September 17, 2012.
  18. ^ "Southern living off the eaten path". Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  19. ^ "10 Great Places to Eat Like a Local". USA Today. August 4, 2011.
  20. ^ "Pig and swig: "Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Food Groups"". Knoxville News Sentinel. September 2, 2014.
  21. ^ "A Writer Walks into a Bar". Roanoke Times. September 3, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "Larger than Life". B Metro Magazine. December 21, 2010.
  23. ^ "Memorial Day Message from Morgan Murphy: Savoring the Ordinary for all Who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice". Fox News. May 28, 2012.
  24. ^ "Lt. Cmdr. Morgan Murphy: The Frontline Foodie". Fox News. May 17, 2011.
  25. ^ "Veteran's Day Interview on DEFCON 3 with KT McFarland". Fox News. November 2012.
  26. ^ "Duke and Duchess of Windsor's Cadillac heads to NYC auction; Ala. collector found it in Texas". The Washington Post. October 24, 2013. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013.
  27. ^ "Duke of Windsor's 1941 Cadillac limousine to be sold at auction". Reuters. October 24, 2013.
  28. ^ "Duchess 1941 Cadillac restored by Morgan Murphy, food critic". Old Cars Weekly. November 4, 2013.
  29. ^ a b "Duke of Windsor's 1941 Cadillac limousine to be auctioned in New York City". Robb Report. October 25, 2013.
  30. ^ a b "Will the Duke of Windsor's Cadillac Start a Bidding War?". The Wall Street Journal. October 25, 2013.
  31. ^ a b "1941 Cadillac Custom Limousine 'The Duchess' by General Motors", RM Auctions website, accessed 24 March 2015.
  32. ^ "Entrepreneur profile: Morgan Murphy of Motorpool LLC". The Birmingham News. September 24, 2010.
  33. ^ "Facebook for Cars? Birmingham Entrepreneur Starts Website". The Birmingham Business Journal. March 23, 2009.
  34. ^ Distinguished Alumni Recipients 2013, Birmingham-Southern College, 2013
  35. ^ Morgan Murphy: Food critic and best-selling food writer profile page on the University of Oxford Saïd Business School website (accessed 24 March 2015)
  36. ^ "Interview with Morgan Murphy of Motorpool". The University of Oxford. May 2008.
  37. ^ Wagner, John (June 1, 2023). "Tuberville adviser resigns after report on role in stalling military promotions". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 3, 2024.

External links[edit]