Three minutes with … Appellation executive chef Daniel Murphy
Having grown up in the Barossa, how did you start your career as a chef?
I started out working in a busy cafe in the Barossa. Like many chefs my first job was as a dishy. One Sunday one of the breakfast cooks cut herself pretty badly and had to go to hospital, leaving the kitchen short. I stepped in to help as best I could as a nervous 15-year-old. I loved it and I’ve never looked back. Being in the Barossa also means that you’re surrounded by amazing home cooks. Great food and healthy veggie gardens are a part of our lives here. There’s no escaping it even if you wanted to and, luckily enough, I didn’t want to.
You previously worked at Appellation, and your return sees you working alongside your wife, pastry specialist Emily Laubsch. How did you meet, and what does it mean to be working together?
Emily and I actually met in the Appellation kitchen. It was about five years ago now, I had just come back from travelling in Europe and I got a job as chef de partie and Emily was working pastry. We both took some time off to work in other kitchens in Australia and overseas but the opportunity to work together in the place we met was too good to pass up so here we are, married now and back where it all began. It just makes sense for us to be cooking together. Long hours, hard work and dedication come hand-in-hand with hospitality. It’s great to share that passion together and I think it shows in our menu.
Who does the cooking at home, and what’s your favourite dish?
Honestly we don’t cook a huge amount at home, we work together most nights and when we have days off we like to head out and have someone else cook. When we do cook at home it’s something simple and homely. Emily’s lasagne has to be my favourite without a doubt.
Favourite wine to pair with a meal?
I really like supporting new and up and coming producers and right now I love Edenflo. The winemaker, Andrew, does a great Riesling/Gewurz which is fantastic with almost any seafood dish. He also makes a beautiful old vine Shiraz from Eden Valley that is medium bodied enough to be versatile across a wide range of dishes. Our kitchen has a strong connection with the wine team in the restaurant so we’re always trying new things. I have a new favourite every week.
What is it like to be living and working in a community of local producers and winemakers?
It’s why we do what we do. To have an array of lettuces, fruits and vegetables dropped at the kitchen door, picked that day is wonderful. Also the winemakers who drop their deliveries through the kitchen are always keen for a chat so we’re kept in the loop. We are all in this together and that’s what makes our region special and unique.
What is your experience with travel and food overseas, and how do you try to incorporate those experiences into the kitchen?
Both Emily and I love travel, any chance we can get we are on a plane heading somewhere, trying different cuisines, experiencing different cultures. We’re constantly learning and our menu will continue to evolve as we continue to travel the world.
What excites you today about Barossa’s tourism, food and wine scene?
The Barossa as a community is focused on culinary tourism because we understand that our everyday food experiences are actually pretty extraordinary and we also have a strong desire to share that with people. The guests of this region get a backstage pass into the food world that we live every day, a true connection to where things are grown. They can find that in our restaurant or in a local cafe, at the farmers’ market or even at our Foodland. Barossa is a true food community and our restaurant is made better by constant collaboration and that’s really exciting to me.
This article was first published in the March 2019 issue of SALIFE.