Using the whole hen — Kai demo part of festival plan to highlight Galway as real food destination
Jessica Murphy of Kai Cafe and Restaurant.
By Martina Nee
The Galway Food Festival is about getting behind local producers and making the west of Ireland a real food destination, says Jessica Murphy of Kai Cafe and Restaurant who will be one of the many exhibitors during the much-anticipated bank holiday foodie event.
The Galway Food Festival takes place from Thursday March 28 to Monday April 1 and promises to be jam-packed with fantastic food and free, family-friendly, events keeping foodies entertained and informed. This is the second year that the festival has been held and after last year’s success it is expected many more visitors will be flocking to the extended food village for the open-air markets, restaurant trails, cookery demonstrations, food tours to local artisan producers, foraging trips, food talks, tastings, as well as wine and beer workshops.
More than 75 restaurants, food outlets, and food producers will be participating in this year’s festival. One of those participants is Ms Murphy who will be holding the ‘Using the Whole Hen’ demonstration on Friday, March 28, at 3pm along with JP McMahon of Eat@Massimos.
Commenting on the upcoming festival and Kai’s participation, Ms Murphy said: “It is a really good time to get together with different restaurants and producers. To promote Galway as a real food destination we try to be the best ambassadors we can for local food and suppliers.”
In fact, everything about Kai Restaurant has been about being sustainable and promoting local suppliers, an ethos that was derived in part from Ms Murphy’s own experiences of working within the food industry in Galway. Originally from New Zealand, Ms Murphy moved to Ireland some years ago to work with reknowned chef Kevin Thornton before finally moving to Galway where she worked as cheesemonger at Sheridans and head chef at both Ard Bia and No8. Then two years ago, Jessica and her husband David opened Kai Cafe and Restaurant at Sea Road and it has proved a hit with foodies all over Galway.
“I wanted to be by the sea. I loved the vibe of this city, it’s very bohemian, there is a good buzz about it. Working in Galway I got to know the relationship between the chef and the suppliers, where it is grown, and about building up that relationship. It is hugely important. I’m a member of the slow food movement which is about knowing exactly what cow is killed, on what farm, how it is bred, or the soil produce is grown in. It has taught me the ethos of how important it is to know where everything comes from.
“This ethos has been brought into Kai which is about being local, sustainable, and supporting the local people. We made a point when we opened that everything would be from Galway, the food we use, even the table-tops were made here. We used old scaffolding boards from building sites in Galway for the walls. It is all about supporting the local economy.”