Text message 18/9/2019
‘I’ve totally f*****d up my dates and double booked myself, and I’m too scared to call you, have ya got a backup plan?’
There is no backup plan for the brilliant Jess Murphy, our very special guest for this years ’WILD ATLANTIC WORDS‘ literary festival here in Castlebar. nd so, the issue of the originally double-booked date was overcome by simply organising the event for a few days earlier
Jess is head chef and along with her husband Dave, is co-owner of KAI café and restaurant on Sea Road in Galway.
Approaching its 10th year, KAI (‘nestled in between a church and a gay bar’), this Galway icon has received countless awards, including a Michelin BIB Gourmand.
For years, Jess has been a noted and consistent champion of small Irish food producers, and this work was recognized last year when she was announced as the Blas na hEireann food champion 2019.
As Irish Times food columnist, her literary credentials for the WILD ATLANTIC WORDS FESTIVAL were undoubtedly in place, but it was also very exciting to hear Jess tell us about her work with a project that documents the food stories of the many immigrants and nationalities that now call Ireland their home. ‘Here’ promises to be a unique recipe collection which Jess hopes will be in print by next year.
Enthusiastically engaging with the ‘Desert Island Disc’ format of the evening, Jess also revealed for us her 5 favourite cookbooks/ food writers which she listed as follows …
‘Crazy Water, pickled lemons’ by Diana Henry
‘The prawn cocktail years’, by Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham
‘You’re all invited’ by Margot Henderson
‘Moro’ by Sam & Sam Clarke
‘The Kitchen Diaries’ by Nigel Slater
Discussing her love for these books and the recipes therein, Jess simultaneously gave us an account of her culinary journey to date from New Zealand to Galway. It was a great evening, with plenty of wonderful stories, and we’re extremely grateful to Jess for making the trip to us in Castlebar despite having to change her dates, come via Tullamore and nurse a full-on dose of the flu.
She left us with the promise to return for a Friday night pop up sometime in 2020 and with an Apple tart in hand, baked by Ann Mc Mahon earlier that day in her honour.