Gavan Murphy, a private chef and caterer, moved to Venice from the Emerald Isle nine years ago. The Irishman is still just as enamored with the perky plums and year-round greens at the Santa Monica Farmers Market as the day he arrived. After making one too many beurre blancs abroad, Murphy has shifted his stateside culinary focus to healthier dishes. The self-dubbed “Healthy Irishman” has a glorious mess of produce forward recipes and homemade ketchup-stained stove top photos on his website (he may have given up beer battered fried fish, but chips? No way.).
We recently rang him up to find out why he's traded blaa and hearty beef stew for dill hummus and steamed mussels with star anise (his wife Christy, a Texas native, is a vegetarian, but read-on, there's more to it than marrying a reformed cattle rancher).
Squid Ink: What brought you to Los Angeles?
Gavan Murphy: It was a very basic thing called sunshine. When you have about six hours of daylight in Ireland in the middle of winter, and you come over to Santa Monica on vacation, it's hard to go back.
SI: How did you get into cooking?
GM: I spent a summer in college working at a restaurant in Martha's Vineyard. I just loved the whole kitchen vibe — the screaming, the hectic pace, everything.
SI: Sounds fun. And the healthy angle?
GM: It's really just being here, you want to eat all of these great fruits and vegetables at the market. In Ireland, when you come home from school at four o'clock and it's raining and already dark, your mum makes you stew or something filling like meat and potatoes to warm you up. My mum was a good cook, but I like to make healthier things, focus more on fresh, seasonal ingredients. You can't do that so much in Ireland.
SI: Anything you particularly miss food-wise from back home?
GM: Not a dish so much as the family six o'clock meal every evening when you were a kid. And Sunday lunch is a big thing in Ireland, it's a time when we all make a point to be together.
SI: Do you cook the family meals at your house?
GM: We're always so busy, and my wife has taken over most of the cooking duties because I'm cooking so much for work. She runs the business end of things. She's a great cook, but as you can imagine cooking at home can become a point of “conversation” between us.
Call (310) 577-3137 for The Healthy Irishman catering and personal chef inquiries. You can follow Gavan Murphy on Twitter @healthyirishman.