My name is Gavan Murphy. I am a chef specializing in healthy cuisine and
this is my story:
I hail from the Emerald Isle, land of greenery, sheep, pubs and Guinness.
Currently I live in Los Angeles, land of sunshine, traffic, movie stars and
paparazzi. I’m most often asked what the #*%! does an Irish guy know about
food, let alone healthy food?
Had I been asked that as a kid I wouldn’t have had a clue, except for the
fact that I just loved food. I pretty much ate all I was given plus anything
else I could get my hands on, especially anything that was sugary and sweet.
I didn’t grow up on fast food as the kids do now-a-days, nor did I grow up
in restaurants. I grew up around the dinner table eating Mum’s creations. My
Mum cooked the typical Irish fare of meat and potatoes every night, yet that
was not the problem. The problem came in the form of cakes, biscuits, sweets
and fizzy drinks, all of which were accessible in and around school. All of
those sweets made me a chunky monkey. And to top it off I wasn’t into
exercise and sports. It wasn’t so much that I was lazy, I just really didn’t
want to have to get changed in front of others. I was embarrassed. I was the
guy hiding in the toilets during P.E. class or the one wearing a T-shirt in
the pool. Being a teenager is tough enough, being a tubby teenager is no
Moving swiftly on. I became more aware of the type of food I was eating once
I got into my mid-teens because I actually started playing sports and in
conjunction with eating better, I began losing the weight. My love for food
never dissipated, yet thankfully my sweet tooth did. Instead I began
developing a new appreciation for eating proper food, which kept with me
through my college years in Dublin. After college I headed off to Martha’s
Vineyard for the summer where I got my first restaurant job washing dishes.
I loved it. The hustle and bustle of the kitchen was electrifying. I worked
hard but the chefs worked harder. I knew just from watching them that was
what I wanted to do.
Upon my return to Ireland I wasted no time and headed to the lush
countryside of Cork to train at the infamous Ballymaloe Cookery School.
Situated in the middle of a 100 acre farm, half of which is organic today,
Ballymaloe was a pioneer in sustainable cooking. What was grown on the farm
and what was locally reared is what we used in our cooking and what we ate.
I learned the importance of eating fresh, farm to table food and the
importance of using quality ingredients including meats. Pairing this
knowledge with the way I grew up eating (I’m talking proper homemade food
eaten at the dinner table NOT including the sugary stuff) is where my style
and flavour were born.
In 2000, after working in restaurants throughout Ireland and London, my
journey landed me across the pond to sunny California–I couldn’t handle
anymore of the Irish winters! Los Angeles, being the mecca of health and
fitness (I saw that at Gold’s Gym) was the perfect destination to continue
my career in healthy cooking. I began working for a number of prestigious
L.A. based catering companies and was hired as a consulting chef on the
Body-for-Life Program for EAS, a multinational sports and nutrition company.
At that time Cindy Crawford was following the BFL food program so guess who
was hired to be her personal chef cooking healthy nutritious meals? That
would be me. Timing couldn’t have been better. With that experience under my
belt I ultimately transitioned into working as a full time personal chef
specializing in cooking healthy meals.
I was fortunate enough to find true love at my local pub (I might be healthy
but I am Irish!) and boy did I get lucky. Not only did I find a great missus
but I also gained a great business partner. We started out with a small food
blog called–wait for it–The Healthy Irishman (cheeky but spot on) showcasing
healthy recipes. That idea snowballed into The Healthy Irishman, Inc., our
stellar catering company here in tinsel town, which I’m very proud to be a
part of with my missus.
I’m also proud to say my recipes have been published in books and magazines
and I’m a regular contributor to other websites. You name it, I do it, all
in the sake of healthy eating. And I still find time to provide recipes for
our blog, which is now a part of this site. Not too shabby for a small town
Irishman! Of course I have bigger goals but my focus and passion remain the
same with everything I do: to show people that cooking doesn’t have to be
complicated and healthy food doesn’t mean bland or boring. We’re advocates
of buying local, seasonal and sustainable foods and I encourage people to
get away from the convenient “out of a box” food and to get back to the
basics of home cooking. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t have to be
flashy, just damn tasty! And that’s what an Irishman knows about healthy