Chef’s special : James Murphy

James Murphy, Executive chef, Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

James Murphy’s career turned full circle when he took up the role of executive chef at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, having worked as a commis chef in the hotel’s former incarnation in 1980. The hotel relaunched last year after a multi-million pound refurbishment by owner Principal Hayley.

How long have you been in the catering business?
It’s sometimes hard to believe it but I’ve been in catering for 34 years now.

What’s your career highlight so far?
Without a doubt it has been returning to the Grand Central Hotel to head up to the kitchen. I originally worked in the Central Hotel in 1980 as a commis chef for two years so it’s great to be part of its renaissance and nurturing an enthusiastic team who are young in their careers and excited about what the future holds here.

Describe your own food?
In a nutshell I would describe my food as simple, honest and flavoursome.

What’s the price of a typical three-course meal (without wine)?
Around the £33 mark.

Why should someone visit your restaurant?
We’re right in the heart of the city centre, we have a menu brimming with dishes to suit every palate and the restaurant itself is a beautiful place to dine.

Describe your staff
I’m very proud of my team here and it is a privilege to work with them. They are creative, passionate and 100% committed to delivering a first class dining experience for all our guests.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Ask Susan, my rock.

Is there any food you dislike?
It’s more the case that some ingredients dislike me so garlic and spicy foods are a no no.

What’s your favourite wine?
I’m more partial to a nice Port.

Not counting your own, which is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
It’s a tough question as there’s so many great restaurants across the country but if pushed I’d have to say either Ondine in Edinburgh or Andrew Fairlie.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
Black pudding – it’s a natural product, the best in class and it’s full of flavour.

What makes a good chef?
A good chef is passionate, committed, confident enough to take risks and willing to take the good with the bad. There are always ups and downs in any kitchen but it’s all about learning and improving. No matter where we are in our careers, we can always learn something new.

What’s a tip ever chef should know?
You’re only as good as your last service.