For Fishers resident Kelsey Murphy, life hasn’t slowed down after being selected as the winner of Season 11 of ‘Master Chef,’ a reality TV show starring wayward British chef/kitchen judge Gordon Ramsey on the Food Network.
On the contrary, life has gotten faster for Murphy, a mother of three young children who operates her restaurant, Inspo, out of Fishers Test Kitchen. As she is changing careers from physical therapist to full-time chef, she is also writing a book.
Murphy was selected the Season 11 winner by “Master Chef” judges Ramsey, Joe Bastianich and Aarón Sánchez his four-course meal of steak tartare canapé, lobster ravioli starter, crispy duck starter and blueberry and lavender panna cotta dessert.
What follows is a Q&A interview with Murphy, who competed against 15 contestants over 18 episodes of Season 11, which first aired June 2, 2021.
Q: What was your experience as Master Chef?
A: It was frankly incredible. It’s like such a whirlwind and such a cool experience, but obviously super stressful. We were filming before and after the pandemic, which added a kind of completely different layer to the whole experience. We went out and started filming like Feb, March 2020 and then we got shut down because of COVID and then I had to go back and finish filming seven months later when I was 25 weeks pregnant with my now 18 month old. . So, it was such a stressful environment, but it felt like a great learning experience. Not even like in cooking, but just like, it sounds a little lame, but like in self-discovery.
Q: So what was Gordon Ramsey really like?
A: He just has such a passion for teaching and educating and really getting the best out of everyone. Although he has this character he plays on TV, it’s definitely different in real life. He’s not that bad in real life. He’s all about tough love and if you understand that then I feel like you can learn a lot more from him. You know, like when he yells, it’s like, don’t take it personally, it’s just his thing. I respect and admire him so much.
Q: How did you discover cooking?
A: I grew up in the kitchen, but it wasn’t until college, honestly, that I started having a passion for it. Only because, for some reason, I was very drawn to cooking television. Like I love watching Food Network and all the cooking shows. That’s where I started learning all the little tricks and all my technique and just learning. I just absorbed it all watching Food Networks. Honestly, I didn’t even read any books or anything, I just watched, learned and practiced.
Q: What is your favorite thing to cook?
A: So if I have a day and just want to cook one thing for myself or just for fun, I love making homemade pasta. It’s definitely like my favorite thing to do. I think there are so many possibilities with that. So many pasta shapes and so many different things you can do with it, and to me, it’s so authentic to make the dough and roll the pasta and make sauces. So that’s definitely my favorite thing, and that comes from being part Italian, I think.
Q: What is your favorite dish?
A: I love seafood, I’m a huge fan of seafood. Like fresh seafood, it’s something I’m very passionate about, and if I ever have a more fine dining establishment, that will definitely be enough seafood oriented. But if you were to ask me like my two favorite foods of all time, honestly, they are french fries and peanut butter.
Q: What do you do when you’re not cooking?
A: Just run. I have three children, they are 5, 3 and 1, so that’s usually what I do. But also, I’m a big exercise person. I like running. And honestly, in my free time, I still really enjoy being in the kitchen. I like to cook for my kids and do fun things in the kitchen that aren’t work related.
Q: What would you say to someone who wants to get into the kitchen?
A: Do not be afraid in the kitchen. I think that’s the most important thing, just experiment. And don’t think it has to be perfect. I think that goes with everything we try to do. I think a lot of times when we try to do something new, we avoid it because we’re afraid that we won’t be perfect from the start. Or we don’t want to release something until it’s the best thing ever, and that just takes time. And these days it’s so much easier with the internet and YouTube and all those things to access education, especially in food. You know, there’s so much information out there that anyone could be a professional chef.
Q: Is there anything else you think people should know about your background?
A: It’s so important, at least to my story, that I’m a mother and I’m still dealing with parenting and being the mother of these three kids while building something really big, and I’m going to take it as far as possible. can go. I think that’s really important, like telling moms that you don’t have to choose just one, you can do both very well. And it won’t always look perfect and it always will. It is very useful to bring your children with you on this trip. Like today again I had my two boys with me today and took them to the restaurant while I had to cook and while it sure isn’t perfect with my babies like running around in the back of the kitchen and it’s chaos, they can watch mom in her element. So, to me, it feels a lot more like a family trip than me sacrificing my parenthood or sacrificing being with my kids to do my job and build that career. So that’s really what I’m trying to do and show everyone, like moms, and even dads, that you can do both.
The test kitchen
Fishers’ test kitchen opened in 2020 as the restaurant industry reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it remains open as a place where young entrepreneurs can gain experience in operating a restaurant and experimenting with various foods.
The Test Kitchen is located at 9713 District North Dr, Suite 1210 in Fishers and is home to Gordito’s Rust Belt Tacos and Tortas, Chef Kelsey Murphy’s Inspo and One Trick Pony Diner Style Burgers.
“(The Test Kitchen) is a newer concept, but it’s really a way to show the community that there are fun ideas out there and there are really talented people in their community who have the ability to do great food,” said Levi Kinney, COO and owner of Gordito’s Tacos and Tortas.
To learn more, visit fisherstestkitchen.com.