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Tribute to Rose Murray: Family, friends and of course, food

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A special – and delicious – tribute was held Thursday night for celebrated cookbook author Rose Murray.

She passed away on July 24 at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

Rose was 82 years old.

On Thursday, her family, friends and fans were all in attendance at Relish Cooking Studio in Kitchener to make recipes from Rose’s long career.

“We were really saddened to hear of her passing earlier this year, and Rose loved nothing more than to have family and friends around the table and sharing good food, and that’s what we’re all about at Relish,” said studio co-owner Donna-Marie Pye. “We felt it was a great way to honour her.”

Among those in attendance were her friends and fellow cookbook authors Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards.

“I’ve known Rose a long time and I consider her a mentor in so many ways, as a cookbook author, as a fellow TV personality, and a community member,” said Emily. “She was always in the forefront when it came to celebrating local community and the region.”

Elizabeth Baird at a cooking class in tribute to her friend and fellow cookbook author Rose Murray. (Nov. 30, 2023)

FOCUS ON LOCAL

Rose’s son, Allen Murray, also shared a little about his mother’s life.

“Mum grew up on a farm so she was really into local food, she was involved with the Cambridge Farmers’ Market for years,” he told CTV News. ““The farmers’ market was a big deal. It would be a three or four hour ordeal because she knew everybody. Everybody wanted to talk to her, both customers and vendors. She knew most of the vendors by name.”

Rose’s focus on seasonal, local food was a big part of her inspiration.

“We had the same idea of bringing food, local food, to the community,” said Emily. “It’s important to showcase the fact that we live [in the community] too, and you can talk about where you buy things, and what you’re cooking for people. It’s really nice to honour her memory in that way because she loved food, she loved family, and she certainly loved the region.”

BUILDING A CAREER

Elizabeth met Rose in the 1970s. Elizabeth had just published her own cookbook and Rose was living in Owen Sound at the time, working as an English teacher while also giving cooking lessons.

Elizabeth said Rose was encouraged to write her own cookbook, filled with Canadian Christmas recipes, and that kick-started a brand new career.

Baird calls Rose a “wonderful, enthusiastic cook, and author.”

“Her legacy lives on in all her books and articles she wrote, and all of her television shows,” she said. “She was so good on air.”

Rose was a frequent guest on CTV News Kitchener at noon.

Rose Murray with former CTV Kitchener News at Noon anchor Nancy Richards.

“I always saw my mom on TV,” her son Allen remembered. “It wasn’t weird because I grew up that way. It was just how it always was.”

He said Rose would try out her recipes on her family first.

“We never had the same thing twice if it was really good. My mom was always testing recipes, so if it didn’t turn out we’d have it twice. But that was rare. So it was great, we had different things all the time, exposed to different foods all the time. It was terrific experience food-wise.”

Allen said the feedback she received on her recipes was usually positive.

“She’s known for testing her recipes really well. There was nothing in the cookbook that didn’t work out, we know that, and not just from our experience but many, many people have relayed that as well.”

‘SHE WOULD MISS NOT BEING AT THE PARTY’

The recipes shared during Thursday night’s cooking class came from Canada’s Favourite Recipes, a cookbook collaboration between Baird and Rose.

“Some of the recipes that are here tonight are things that we would have every Christmas,” Allen shared.

Everyone said Rose would have loved the tribute.

“She would miss not being at the party, that’s for sure,” said Allen. “She would love it, just talking to people, meeting with friends, she was a very, very sociable person.”

“She had one of the world’s best laughs,” Elizabeth added. “Wherever Rose was in a room, there would be laughter. It wouldn’t all be hers, but it would be laughter. She brought that joy to every day of her life. That’s pretty wonderful gift for people.”

Thursday’s event also meant a lot to her family.

“It’s just great, the honour that’s being shown to my mother and how much she’s being appreciated,” Allen said.

You can watch some of Rose Murray's past CTV Kitchener cooking segments above.

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