Chef Name: Ben Murphy
Title: Head Chef
2011 New Zealand Link Chef of the Year winner
2011 WorldSkills Gold Medallist, Young Chef of the Year winner
2011 Young Spanish Chef of the year winner
2012 Young National Chef of the Year winner
2016 (The Woodford) Evening Standard London Restaurant of the Year
2016 Chef to Watch Good Food Guide
2016 Breakthrough Chef of the Year, Food and Travel Awards
2016 British Emerging Talent, Walpole Awards
3 Rosette Launceston Place
Recently Featured on Great British Menu 2021
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
The earliest food memory I have was regularly eating turkey dinosaurs and smiley faces as a kid.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
Gordon Ramsay inspires me. Since an early age, watching Boiling Point and seeing the attention to detail that goes into a “fine dining” restaurant has made it something I strive towards. He of course has done incredibly well for himself and all his restaurants are a success. As a young cook it’s clear that this is something that any other chef would dream of achieving.
Pierre Kofmann, a mentor of mine and a true friend! I was very lucky to get a job with him as soon as I left college. He moulded me into the cook I am today. The classic French cookery that I learnt with him is something that plays a part in all my food now.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
Sat Bains (Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian), and Quay: Food Inspired by Nature by Peter Gilmore. Both books are very meaningful and two of my favourites because the content is also easy to understand.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Salt and lemon.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
Alinea. It’s a restaurant that I’ve watched on YouTube, Chef’s Table, and it’s an experience I’ve always wanted to witness.
And who would you take as your guest?
My guest would be Norman Fu, my college lecturer / mentor and also great friend. We go out to eat in many restaurants together and I think he’d be a perfect guest to bring.
What do you look for in a good chef?
I never employ anyone on their ability to cook. I look at what vibe / energy they can bring to the kitchen. Are they on time, are they passionate and are they willing to learn. These are the most important things for me. The rest will come.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
For any chefs starting out in the career, my advice would be to target what food you want to learn. Is it pub food? Or “fine dining” or perhaps more brasserie / comfort food. I think knowing what food you want to study and learn is very important. Ideally having a chef you look up to as well – trying to work for them is key because then you start to learn about their philosophy. Hours are of course long but what you put in is what you get out. The money will come.
How has the pandemic affected your restaurant? And how did you adapt and evolve throughout?
Luckily we were able to reopen in May 2021. It was very upsetting having to close during the pandemic, but D&D were very supportive throughout.
During the pandemic I started cooking in people’s homes – once the lockdown lifted but when the restaurant was still closed, I decided to offer an experience of taking the restaurant to people’s own homes instead. I prepared all the food at my own home but cooked and interacted in other people’s, and even took the restaurant’s plates and cutlery.
As well as that I’ve been doing live one-on-one tutorials. Some followers from social want to learn the basics of cookery at home, so I’ll set up my camera and demo while they practice at the same time.
I’ve also worked on new dishes. I’ve caught up on sleep and I’ve watched nearly everything on Netflix. I had to get into a routine to help my mental health. Going from working 90 hours a week to a standstill was tough.
Can you share any wisdom from the experience so far with others? Have you changed? Has your cooking changed?
Since starting out at 19, I feel my cooking has developed and changed massively. I’ve worked hard to gain as much experience as I can, until eventually taking on my first head chef role, and finding “my thing” and what I feel guests will enjoy. The journey hasn’t been easy at all. I’m still nowhere near where I want to be and I’m constantly learning every day. This industry and cooking career has matured me and made me understand about discipline, hard craftmanship and also teamwork.
I feel very fortunate to have worked for some of the top chefs in the world.
Chef Ben Murphy is Head Chef at Restaurant Launceston Place
Address: 1a Launceston Place, London
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7937 6912
mymuybueno Visits: Launceston Place