Executive Chef Matt Murphy is a pioneer in a new breed of culinary artists who expand their prowess far outside the bounds of the kitchen. His passion for his craft, his commitment to the Gulf Coast community, his head for innovative business and, of course, that rogue-Irishman approach to cooking are just a few unique facets that shape the character of this respected, dynamic man.
By the age of fourteen, the Dublin-born Murphy was working in his grandfather’s restaurant and pastry shop, sharpening his natural aptitude for cooking into a career path. After studying culinary arts at the prestigious Cathal Brugha College, he worked in Michelin-starred restaurants such as The Restaurant in London and The Tea Room in Ireland before venturing East.
Chef Matt developed his understanding for Louisiana flavor as Sous Chef at the world-renowned restaurant Commander’s Palace. There, he combined his Classical French and Continental training, the dynamic styling of flavor he adopted from his travels and the Creole-Cajun-Soul influences of New Orleans, all of which elevated his dishes and career to the next level.
From Commander’s Palace he moved to The Ritz Carlton, New Orleans, which is the brand’s largest property worldwide. He quickly moved through the ranks to become Executive Chef. By the end of his nine-year tenure, the hotel restaurant was named “M Bistro” in his honor.
In 2009, Chef Matt was struck with a very rare, life-threatening disease, which kept him hospitalized for three months. The outpouring of support for the beloved chef from the restaurant community, as well as the public, could only be described as amazing. With eighteen-month-old quadruplets and a fifth baby on the way, the “Iron Chef” beat the odds and was home in time to welcome his new baby girl.
After making a triumphant return to the kitchen, Chef Matt opened The Irish House in 2011, his own Irish pub and restaurant. The Irish House is a culmination of his training and experience where he showcases his unique culinary perspective and is the first and only gastropub in New Orleans.
In addition to running his restaurant, Chef Matt acts as a mentor to students learning the hospitality industry at Café Hope and Café Reconcile, both culinary programs that teach life skills and offer on-the-job training programs for severely at-risk youths. He is involved with numerous charitable organizations including March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity and local groups such as The St. Bernard Project and Lantern Light. He has also helped to develop a mentoring program through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s new initiative, ProStart. Most recently he appeared on the Food Network show “Chopped” where he was crowned “Chopped” Champion.
Despite his hectic schedule, Chef Matt always has time to spend with his quadruplet five-year-olds, Molly, Margaret, Caroline and Elizabeth and his 3 year-old, Alanna. Juggling a full calendar of events is child’s play for a man used to juggling five girls while playing rugby or wrestling. The assiduity of his work cannot match his commitment to his family. Through it all the most important things to this unofficial ambassador of Irish culture in New Orleans are to live, laugh, cook and always give back.
Video by AWT Productions