Love Sick with Scott Murry
Posted on June 23 2019
Name: Scott Murry
Age: (do I have to?)
Star Sign: Cancer (Sorry)
IG alias: @ s.murry_
Laurel aka Kee Kee: Hey Scott, my sassy lil Cancerian friend! Thanks for shooting with me, I like to start our interviews by introducing how we met. Our friendship started after your manses, Vlad, introduced us and we started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race weekly in Brooklyn. Now I can’t get rid of you!
Scott Murry: I know! I remember the first time that you invited me to drag race night and I was honestly so excited. I was just so happy to be there! I’ve never had a queer group of friends in my life so it was just incredible...warming for me to be in an environment that celebrated that aspect.
KK: The more I get to know you, the crazier the stories get. So, let’s start from the top, you were born in Cali then moved around a lot due to your father being a Boeing Airspace Engineer. Where have you lived?
SM: So my mom made sure that I was born in the states so I could “Become president some day,” so I was born in Long Beach. After that, we moved to Chengdu, China and then Shanghai shortly after. (my mom's side of the family still lives there) and then we moved to Seoul in Korea, Osaka in Japan, and Taipei in Taiwan. And a lot of other places that I -allegedly- have been but don’t remember. After Taiwan, we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Which if you people have had the pleasure of never going to Oklahoma, you really aren’t missing much.) where we lived in an incredibly religious neighborhood. And then Denver, Colorado after that. And now I’m here in New York!
KK: What was it like moving around so much?
SM: Honestly...really lonely. I was a really angsty little shit-head of a kid. I was so bad at making friends because we would just up and move. I was an awkward baby. (I still am so awkward) I would never really try to connect too much with people around me because I just wasn’t interested in making temporary friends...wow I was a jaded kid.
KK: Did you pick up any languages from living overseas?
SM: Well my first language was Mandarin Chinese. And since we lived in Shanghai I picked up the Shanghainese dialect. When we moved to Korea we went to Foreign school where I was taught Korean and then switched to English. And this continued a while where we would do foreign school, and learn that language...but only at the grade level that I was there. For instance: when I was in Korea I was like 6 so I learned conversational Korean of a 6/7-year-old. Now in my adulthood, if you asked me to speak Korean to a 6-year old I would have the time of my life talking about how that bus is red, but I could never hold a conversation with an adult.
KK: Living in Oklahoma for a hot minute, you expressed you grew up in a non-religious house but had a religious upbringing due to the town you were in. What was that like?
SM: Well this is one wild ride of a place to move to...especially coming from incredible Asian countries into this very middle of America white-dominated state...I stuck out like a sore thumb. My father grew up Irish Catholic and had all those kinds of lessons ingrained In him, but he kind of had that Catholic rage inside of him and ended up hating religion because his parents were so strict. Nevertheless, my brother and I grew up with these kinds of lessons hanging over our heads. When we moved to Oklahoma was when we were really confronted with religion. Our neighbor (specifically one) was a devout Christian zealot who was not afraid of making comments towards my family about our “lack of Christianity” and honestly looked less at my parents for this. And my father - in his Catholic rage - took this incredibly personally. So it made a very weird familial turmoil while we lived in Oklahoma because on one hand we were made to feel “less than” for not being Christian, yet on the other hand, we were made to feel “better than” for not being Christian. And this is no shade towards my dad at all, he and I have since really been able to talk about how religion related to his childhood and the traumas it caused him.
KK: Can you tell the story of the weird baptism in the back of a school bus, or was it a van?
SM: oh god girl it was a white van. I literally remember this entire fucking moment of my life so vividly. So that neighbor in Oklahoma had a daughter and a son. And I was very close with their daughter ( like a good little homo) but my parents wanted me to fit in more so I had a play date with the son. Once. They decided we were to have a playdate at Church. And in this sermon -the first I’ve ever really been to- they asked everyone to close their eyes and raise their hands if anyone had not been baptized. The son who I was on a play date with rose my hand for me. -insert goop sound- and we were ushered off into the back to get baptized. Now, if being called out to get baptized without your consent wasn’t horrifying enough, we arrive at the back of this church and there’s a white van (Like a kiddy snatcher van) with a blow. Up. Pool. Inside. There were two priests just rapid fire baptizing people in line. I was so terrified I literally booked it out of there. Can you imagine being 12 years old being told to stay away from white vans and scary white men your entire life? I was so terrified.
KK: How has an experience like that shaped the way you view religion?
SM: I’m very..."meh" towards it. I realize that many people like to have something tether themselves to their experience(s) on earth. But I personally don’t believe In that narrative. And having seen all of the trauma that Catholicism has caused my father I'm even less convinced. But I do believe in spiritualism, I believe that there is more to our existence and the moments we share we each person in our life. But I believe that my existence is my own, and I need to enjoy it the best I can. If I sound like a rambling homosexual here; it’s because I am.
KK: Long after this experience you wind up in NYC, studying Linguistics and English at Columbia, which wasn’t for you and you accidentally came out of the closet to your mother thinking you were talking about your sexuality rather than school. How old were you when you came out and how did your mother react?
SM: I was always the black sheep in my family. My parents grew up poor and homeless. So their focuses were on education and money, and like good parents they only wanted me to have better. So they pushed us to be. My father is an aerospace engineer for Boeing, my mother is a Realtor/self-proclaimed business mogul (think Kris Jenner but the Claire’s version) and my Brother is an aerospace engineer. I’m a glorified microwave. I originally went to Columbia to pursue linguistics and English lit, but I went through a very dark period with a sexual awakening moment in New York as well as a vehement rejection to doing this degree that was expected of me, instead of what I wanted to do: cook. So I ended up dropping out of school and applying for Culinary school without my parent's knowledge. That summer I hadn’t told my parents that I had dropped out, but I was going through a really terrifying moment with my sexuality of like...fully actualizing my queerness. I think queer people go through a moment of understanding that they are queer but not fully allowing it to be expressed and loved, and then a more mature moment of queerness where they fully actualize it and express it and are not ashamed. So anyway, my moms go-to for having a deep talk with me is “let’s go for a drive.” Now imagine my 5-foot mother - who has to sit on two pillows to see over the dashboard of her truck - driving...that’s scary enough, now add the fact that I hadn’t told her I dropped out of school/suck dick at night. So we go on this little trip, and after like...an eternity of silence (it was 5 minutes) she says “I know.” And my internal gay scream was so loud I felt my eyes bulge out of my head. So thinking I would cut to the chase before she did, I told her I was gay. What I didn’t know was that she was saying that she knew I dropped out of school, not that I was gay. She pulled over to the side of the road and we sat there for another eternity of silence (also only 5 minutes) and she broke the silence and said she loved me. Unfortunately, I still got in so much trouble for dropping out of school.
KK: It’s nice to have a chill family, especially being a juxtaposition from the town that you were almost baptized in. How did you go from Columbia to culinary school?
SM: I’ve just always wanted to do two things in life; make people happy, and make art. And I was always too ADHD to actually sit down and paint, so I funneled all that energy into food. Food always allowed me to be hospitable and make experiences for people through an art form. And that was all I ever wanted.
KK: You have worked in some of NY’s top restaurants. What is day to day like in a Michelin Star restaurant?
SM: Hard. It is hard to be in a high stakes high-stress Michelin star environment. It is even harder to be an out gay man in this environment. I would get disregarded as being “emotional,” or disregarded for my opinion being too “out there.” The hospitality industry is incredibly toxic with masculinity and archaic beliefs that are still ingrained in the chefs that we celebrate every day in modern times. And I hope that I can be part of some energy that brings awareness to it. This subject is one that I am quite passionate about, but I don’t think we have the page space for me to go in depth. But shoot me a message on Instagram and I would love to talk about this with anyone who feels marginalized by their personal expression in industry’s that are not acceptable.
KK: What’s the kitchen culture like? What kind of personality can survive it?
SM: Kitchen culture is an incredibly masculine “bro-y” culture where there is a lot of locker room behavior. It takes someone who is able to adhere to these predispositions and a “yes man” personality. You basically have to sit there and say yes to literally anything, no matter how asinine or degrading the request from your boss is; there is no arguing.
KK: What advice would you give younger people who want to go into the competitive realm of fine dining?
SM: Do not be a yes man. And I’m not saying go in there and not do your job. But go in there, work hard, but don’t just go in there blindly saying “yes” to everything. Think. Voice your opinions (within professionalism of course) and be an individual. Be creative.
KK: Do you dream of opening your own restaurant one day?
SM: Not exactly a restaurant...I want to open an art space that does food at its forefront. But I love so many things; ikebana, ceramics, art, music, plants...all those things. Ultimately I want a space that reflects these aspects of my personality. And hopefully my personality is enough to pay the bills.
KK: Where can people get more of the sassy Scott Murry?
SM: You can find me on the corner of Canal and Broadway. Or at @s.murry_
KK: I love talking to you, I do it almost daily. Thanks so much for taking the time out to play dress ups and tell me all your childhood traumas, that part was my fav. Love you lots Scott xx
SM: I love you too! Thank you for welcoming me into such a wonderful family. And thank you for building a culture and community of inclusivity and love.