storyIreland’s Wild Atlantic Way is full of scrumptious surprises, including the Kai Café in Galway. Recently we spoke with owner Jess Murphy about her business.

What are your own roots?
New Zealand is my birth place – one of my happiest memories is spinning wool with my granny Jean. She introduced me to everything food related. She was a lady of the land back in New Zealand. Four foot 10 and bullet proof – I miss her everyday.

How did The Kai Cafe come about?
Me and my husband David had always longed to work together as a team. David was engineering for years and I was busy being a chef. So now it was 2011 and we had nothing and everything to lose. Kai had been on the back burner, until a chance meeting with like-minded folk that created Kai today.

What is the company’s mandate?
Our goal was to create a small space for everyone to enjoy the quirky whilst also enjoying the creative style of cooking that I’ve always wanted to do and share with people- Kai has allowed me to do this and for that I was always be grateful. A huge credit and thank you must go to Stephen Walton who made our vision possible.

What are the challenges of the job?
Ahhhhhh definitely working as a husband and wife team is a challenge and then of course there are the work-related challenges like planning for a vegan wedding, or even the more simple things like pickles exploding upstairs!

What are the rewards?
It has to be the fact that we have and are employed 22 fantastic staff members past and present. They are Kai family and along with what we produce there, the Kai team is what makes it all work.

Who is your typical client?
Oh everyone from young children coming in to experience fresh food with their parents to our everyday customer who pop in for a fresh pastry or our soup. Kai is for everyone and that is what makes it truly special.

What do they experience?
The philosophy at Kai Café and Restaurant is very simple, we source fresh, organic produce from local suppliers to create daily menus bursting with flavour, texture and colour. All menus change on a daily basis dependent on what is fresh and in stock from local suppliers.

In your opinion, what is the Wild Atlantic Way?
Its Galway. And the west of Ireland. And it just symbolizes everything that is truly natural and great about Ireland.

How has it helped your business?
It has helped make Galway the signature place to go. People just say now on yeah “we are on the Wild Atlantic Way” it is marketing genius and it has helped everyone. We are located on Sea Road in Galway and anyone who knows the west (the area is known as the west to Galwegians) just knows that there is a very special energy and atmosphere to the place. Kai’s atmosphere reflects Sea Road and the west community but also our locals, farmers, cheese makers and artists in the west are all carried through in every element in Kai.

What are you future plans for the business?
There is a long list here but these are definitely at the top I would love to do a Kai cook book, open another restaurant, make some cheese, carry on my dream of charcuterie, and train more female chefs to take on head roles in my kitchens.