New Zealand-born chef Jess Murphy has been selected as the Blas na hÉireann Producers’ Champion 2019. The Producers’ Champion is selected annually by Blas na hÉireann producers, based on a survey that goes out to the entire Blas network, a network which covers every county in Ireland with producers from across the food industry.
Jess 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. The philosophy at Kai is to focus on sourcing fresh, organic produce from local suppliers to create daily menus bursting with flavour, texture and colour, with menus entirely dependent on what is fresh and in stock from the Kai family of producers.
Winner of Ireland’s Best Chef 2018 at the Irish Restaurant Awards, Jess also writes for the Irish Times where she puts Irish produce front and centre.
Speaking at the Award ceremony, Jess said “Our suppliers have become our friends and our extended family. Kai reflects Galway’s Sea Road and the west community of locals, artists and hungry eaters, as well as being a showcase for amazing local farmers, cheese makers and suppliers and our extended family of Irish producers who grow and create mind-bogglingly brilliant and delicious ingredients. I am proud to have been voted Blas na hÉireann Producers’ Champion 2019 by people I have such respect and admiration for - it’s a pleasure to work with them and their fantastic produce.”
Previous winners include Neven Maguire, Simon Coveney TD, John and Sally McKenna and Shane McArdle - all very different individual voices speaking up for Irish food.