New Zealand-born chef Jess Murphy has lived in Ireland since 2003 and has been based in Galway since 2005, where she opened her award-winning restaurant Kai with her Irish-born husband, Dave Murphy, in 2011.
Born and raised in Wairoa on New Zealand’s North Island, Jess washed dishes and worked in bars after school to put herself through catering college, then moved to Australia where she met Dave. Together they moved to the UK, then to Ireland, finally making their way to the west and Galway in 2005 after Jess had spent a year working with Kevin Thornton in his eponymous Dublin restaurant.
The winner of Ireland’s Best Chef in 2018 at the Irish Restaurant Awards, Jessica was also the Blas na hÉireann Producers’ Champion in 2019, as selected annually by producers all around the country, and is a regular Food & Wine and Irish Times recipe columnist, where she constantly puts Irish produce front and centre.
Last year Kai won one of the UK and Ireland’s inaugural Michelin Green Stars, a new accolade for best sustainable practices. She is also a High-Profile Ambassador for the UNHCR and has just released ‘The United Nations of Cookies’ book along with Eoin McCluskey, which showcases cookies recipes from refugees and immigrants from far and wide who are living all over Ireland.