The Hardest Thing Marc Murphy Has Experienced While Preparing Food For Ukrainian Refugees - Exclusive

There are uplifting parts to "Chopped" judge Marc Murphy's days, volunteering with World Central Kitchen in Poland. "One of the most beautiful things is actually seeing the humanity of other people that come and help," Murphy told Mashed in an exclusive interview. "Some of these other chefs that are working with me, that are donating their time, and paying their way over here and getting a place to stay like myself. They drop everything and come and help people. It's pretty amazing that we have people like that out there." 

Murphy has been cooking meals for Ukrainian refugees for a little under a month. Each "cauldron" that World Central Kitchen uses can make enough stew for 1,500 people. "We're using beets, we're using horseradish, we're trying to go with [the refugees'] pallet," Murphy told Mashed. Not long ago, he and his fellow volunteers started making sandwiches, which are more practical for refugees on the move, getting on busses to anywhere they have family, friends, or acquaintances. 

Every day is a 12-hour-long guessing game. At World Central Kitchen in Poland, there's really no telling how many meals you'll need, or where and when you'll need them each day. "The numbers are changing all the time. Sometimes, the borders are busy [and] we need 1,500 meals," Murphy says. "[Or if] the border's not very busy today, we only need 400 meals. We want to be able to be ready at a moment's notice. Even boiling water for 1,500 people, there's no moment's notice for that. It takes a while."

That's not the hardest part of the job. 

What 'troubles' Marc Murphy about his work with World Central Kitchen

Marc Murphy misses his family at home, but he FaceTimes them. Long hours and early mornings are no doubt difficult, too, but par for the course. "I'm a chef, I'm used to working hard," Murphy told Mashed. "I'm used to going through the grind." 

Murphy's also done "large cooking" before, but nothing on this scale. "This is pretty consistently large. This is quite amazing," he reflected. That's due to the scale of the conflict. As of April 4, the UNHCR reports that over 2.4 million refugees have crossed into Ukraine. As early as mid-March, the agency was ringing alarm bells due to the inordinate number of child refugees. Between February 24 and March 14, its statistics indicated that 55 children were fleeing the country per minute. 

Bearing witness to the war takes a toll. "Emotionally, the hardest thing is watching these women and children crossing the border with their suitcases, with this look in their eyes. They're void of ... They're tired, and I can't even imagine, they don't know where they're going, " Murphy said. "They don't know what they're going to do, most of these people. They're like, 'They're bombing my country, what the hell?' It's amazing to see that, it's troubling." 

To support Marc Murphy and World Central Kitchen, head to Chef's Instagram page to donate to his fundraiser. You can also help fundraise by setting up your own fundraiser via Facebook or Instagram. It's a powerful tool and an easy way to encourage friends and family to donate to organizations like World Central Kitchen. To date, people have raised more than $50 million using Meta's apps for relief efforts for the people of Ukraine.