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food envy

'Fresh food is alive': How Jessica Murphy of Kai keeps it real in the kitchen

Ireland’s Best Chef 2018 on how Instagram brings the story of her restaurant to life.

JESSICA MURPHY IS a legend already in the Irish food industry.

The winner of Ireland’s Best Chef 2018 at the Irish Restaurant Awards in May, Jessica and her husband David set up Kai Restaurant in Galway over seven years ago.

It has become a unique landmark on the Galway and Irish restaurant scene, highlighting the best of local produce in inspiring, fresh and colourful menus.

“I wanted to be a chef since I was seven years old,” Jess recalled. “I wasn’t into school, so at 16 I left and went to wash dishes in Hastings.” She adds:

I got my big break there when I was 17 years old, manning the microwave for the Mississippi mud pie, then adding the squirty cream. I loved it.

So what next? “From here I went to catering college, then Australia, and the rest is history.”

The @kai_galway Instagram account is a true mirror of life at Kai, full of stunning food photos, daily kitchen antics, ingredient inspiration and life in Galway.

“I think Instagram is important to have for the restaurant, but not in a contrived way,” explained Jess. “I just showcase what we are all doing in Kai, who we work with and how the restaurant is on Sea Road. We just give an insight into what we do here.”

“We absolutely do not plan our posts or anything like it. We are telling the Kai Restaurant story on our online platforms and Instagram is really the best place to do that.

“It is just real life, we work with food, with people and we are in Galway’s West End – I could be talking about showing pictures of that all day!”

“I take all the photos for our Instagram. What makes a good food shot is real life combined with laughter, bubbling pots – a mix of the chaos that exists in all our lives. In-season food will always pop; it’s fresh, it’s alive. Like a white bread sambo isn’t going to look great, but it will taste unreal.

“I like to show the reality because nowadays people are shocked it seems when you do!”

And what are Jess’s favourite Irish Instagram accounts? She names Fingal Ferguson of Gubbeen Farm (@fingalferguson), Science Gallery (@scigallerydub), Ernies Shop Galway (@ernies_shop), and The Nut Shed (@nutshed_).

Whiskey, food and unbelievable cakes: Kate Packwood on her mouthwatering baking photos>

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