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James Murphy

Executive Head Chef, Cameron House Hotel

  • What was your favourite subject at school?

I didn’t really have a particular favourite subject at school, despite achieving good grades and generally doing well. It wasn’t until I attended Glasgow College of Technology taking a course in Hotel Management that I really began to enjoy learning and came into my own, particularly during the cookery and catering classes.

  • What was your first job?

While at school I washed cars and had a paper round, as many people did. When attending college, I worked as a K.P. during my 8 week placement and thrived off being in the culinary environment.

  • Which is your favourite restaurant /hotel?

My favourite hotel in Europe would have to be the Cavalieri Rome and Hilton Malta. In my home country of Scotland I would say The Bonham in Edinburgh. Favourite restaurant…it’s impossible to pick!  Some of my favourites however would be the Ox and Finch, Bella Vita (local to my home) Andrew Fairlie, and the Blue Elephant in Hilton Malta. A few years ago I was privileged to have eaten in L’Ortolan Shinfield in Reading, headed up by John Burton Race, which was a wonderful experience.

  • How do you inspire your team

For me it’s all about leading from the front. I would never expect my team to do a task if I wouldn’t do it myself. I educate, support, and give tools to do the job to the best possible standard, and look upon them like they are part of my family. I always let my team know that with their commitment, support and enthusiasm to work hard we have a fantastic team producing great results, and that without them it wouldn’t work.

  • Which person in hospitality have you most admired / inspired you?

Anton Mossiman. He is a gentleman, a father figure, a great teacher and mentor, and without his encouragement and guidance I may not be where I am today. He still sends Christmas cards every year and has done since 1982! I truly admire him and feel very privileged to have worked with him early on in my career.

  • How do you manage your stress levels?

Stress levels in the kitchen can become high at times, but I always ensure to never let it affect how I am with the team, as acting in a stressed manner does not help anyone. I believe the pandemic taught the hospitality sector a lesson in staff wellbeing, and the importance of taking time out. I am a keen gardener and enjoy walking, foraging for wild mushrooms and spending time with my family especially my 4 , soon to be 5, grandchildren.

  • Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and why?

I’m not much of a social media user, but I do have all three. I use Facebook most, to keep in touch with many friends and previous work colleagues. I feel social media is one of the best ways forward to promote wellbeing for chefs and other hospitality colleagues, by encouraging a healthy work – life balance.

  • If you had not gone into hospitality, where do you
    think you would be now?

I have absolutely no idea…possibly lost! I wouldn’t change my career in hospitality for the world – I have been very fortunate to achieve recognition and success through my work, and to have made many good friends over the years.

  • What did you do on your last days off?

I went walking with my beloved wife through Bellahouston Park, which is routine on my days off – we did this all the way through lock down. We love to see the change in the seasons, now for example (February) we are seeing all the snowdrops crocus, and daffodils popping through. We also spent time with our granddaughter, and new twin grandsons. We are lucky to be able to pick up our other granddaughter from her nursery in Kilmarnock. It’s such an uplifting moment to see the smile on their faces when they see us.

  • What do you do to relax, to support your wellbeing?

To relax I love to garden and listen to music. I’m also a big football fan, and have a small passion for horse racing, which my wife is not such a fan of!