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‘Right now, brunch perfectly sums up self-care for me’ – We catch up with chef Jess Murphy of Kai

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By Lizzie Gore-Grimes
18th May 2020
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‘Right now, brunch perfectly sums up self-care for me’ – We catch up with chef Jess Murphy of Kai

New Zealand-born chef Jess Murphy has been cooking in Ireland for over 17 years. For the last nine years, together with her husband David, she has been running her restaurant Kai on Sea Road in Galway, winning countless awards for her flavour-driven, unfussy food.


“We opened Kai in 2011, in the middle of the recession,” begins Jess, “all we had was a box grater and a selection of pots and pans from our home kitchen. But we made it work, and I’m confident we can do it again.”

At the moment Kai is closed as Jess says she prefers to wait until she has had time to fully develop a menu that she is happy with to offer a take-away or a Kai-at-home style offering. “I don’t want to rush it. That said, we are watching our life savings dwindle away so we won’t take too long!”

Rainy days are here

I have never been happier in my life to see an Aer Lingus plane. I honestly nearly cried

Jess is glad though that herself and David always took a doomsday approach to their finances and made sure to save for a rainy day. “And let’s face it this is definitely that rainy day,” she says with grim determination.

But in the face of the crisis there is much that Jess is grateful for and feeling positive about. “Mostly I am just absolutely delighted to be back home in Galway.” Jess had travelled back to New Zealand to see her parents in late February and only just managed to get out on the second-last flight. “We just about managed to get on a flight to San Francisco and then got a mercy flight home to Dublin from there; I have never been happier in my life to see an Aer Lingus plane. I honestly nearly cried.”

War-time cooking and frugal food

I think everyone is more mindful than ever of waste

Currently, Jess is busy making plans to reopen Kai once the government lifts the restrictions (hopefully in late June). “We’re basically starting right back at the beginning again,” says Jess. “We will spend the next weeks surgically cleaning, repainting and even rebuilding certain parts of the restaurant in order to ensure both our customers and staff have the safest possible environment once we reopen. We will overcome and adapt, I’m determined to!”

Try it yourself: Jess Murphy’s cauliflower fritters brunch recipe

 

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Time to get brunch ready! ??? We’re delighted that Jess Murphy @kai_galway has shared her tried & tested recipes with us, one of them being her easy and impressive Cauliflower & Feta fritters ?Jess tells us that ‘These are quick and easy recipes for a quick brunch, lunch or supper, all made with cupboard stables that most of us have to hand and have been meaning to use since 1993! I’ve included some great ingredients that are made on our wonderful island of Ireland like Kerrygold butter, St Tolas cheese and Dunany Flour’ Happy cooking! #athomewithkerrygold You can find the full recipe on our website, follow link in profile https://kerrygold.com/uk/ie/recipes/cauliflower-fritters/

A post shared by Kerrygold Ireland | Butter (@kerrygoldirl) on

I think a lot of people will relate to Jess talking about the element of war-time cooking and frugal living that has become the norm in many homes around the country right now. “I think everyone is more mindful than ever of waste, and as more and more people are becoming great cooks at home, they are no doubt noticing that you’re often left with plenty of delicious left-overs.”

The beauty of brunch

While we are all madly missing our trips to the hair salon and nail bar, brunch is the one treat we can indulge in at home

This is where brunch comes in. “Brunch, no matter, what day of the week you serve it, is the epitome of self-care to me,” states Jess. “While we are all madly missing our trips to the hair salon and nail bar, brunch is the one treat we can indulge in at home. The bonus of brunch means you’re cooking less (as one meal covers two) and it just sums up the best bits of lovely, lazy family time together.” 

I wanted to create a recipe that is easy to make, super tasty and also brilliant to use up leftovers. Anything can go into these fritters: spuds, peas, spinach, chard, you name it.”  

“We are so lucky here in Ireland with the quality of the home-grown ingredients we produce. Irish dairy produce is the most affordable artisan product you can treat your family to – stacked full of nutrients with nothing added but care. Everything tastes better with butter!’


Kerrygold’s new #AtHomeWithKerrygold series enlists the help of their favourite kitchen experts who have shared tried and tested recipes for you to make at home. From impressive brunch recipes, to date night hits and ideas on what to bake with kids there is something for everyone! Follow @KerrygoldIRL on Instagram for easy-to-follow video tutorials on each recipe.

Click here to view all of the recipes.