About Jess

Jess Murphy has been a High Profile Supporter of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency since 2017. Jess is a New Zealand born chef and is the co-owner and founder of Kai Restaurant in Co. Galway, Republic of Ireland. 

Jess has written articles on her experiences with refugees, spoken about her work with UNHCR through podcast interviews, and has supported UNHCR through events, including being heavily involved in the Refugee Food Festival which took place around Ireland in 2018 and 2019. She has also organized a ‘Far-Fetched Dinner’ in Michelin-Starred restaurant Loam, Co. Galway, involving 3 Syrian chefs and bakers partnering with 3 Michelin-Starred Irish chefs. The group designed and prepared a set menu, inspired by Syrian cuisine and what the three chefs loved to eat and cook that reminded them of home.

Based on her experiences with UNHCR, Jess is currently developing an idea for a book made up of recipes by people living in Ireland who came to Ireland as refugees.

Field Visits

In April 2019 Jess travelled to Lebanon and Jordan with UNHCR to spend time with Syrian refugees who had been selected for resettlement in Ireland before their departure. Jess cooked and shared food with the families, finding common ground between them and documenting some of the food heritage that risks being lost after nine years of war in Syria.