The Boy on the Beach – 7 years later – What one person can do
New Zealand born chef Jess has lived in Ireland since 2003 and Galway since 2005, where she opened award-winning restaurant Kai with her husband, Dave, in 2011. Born and raised in Wairoa, Jess washed dishes and worked in bars after school to fund catering college. She met Dave in Australia and together they moved, finally making their way to the west and Galway in 2005 after Jess had spent a year working with Kevin Thornton in Dublin. The winner of Ireland’s Best Chef in 2018 at the Irish Restaurant Awards, Jessica was also the Blas na hÉireann Producers’ Champion in 2019. Jess wrote a weekly recipe column for the Irish Times magazine for over a year. Kai has had a Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2018. Kai is a place built on relationships, not awards. Jess is passionate about the people, the neighbourhood and the community that Kai is based in and built from, and the restaurant philosophy is to focus on sourcing fresh, organic produce from those local suppliers to create daily menus bursting with flavour, texture and colour. “Our suppliers have become our friends…and our extended family”. Jess and Dave opened their doors with a simple formula—high-quality produce, preferably organic or wild, sourced locally and cooked intelligently. What’s in season will be on your plate. Last year Kai won one of the UK and Ireland’s inaugural Michelin Green Stars, for best sustainable practices. When she is not feeding or minding people, she is quietly fighting for an underdog somewhere here or abroad and has been a formal high-profile Supporter of UNHCR since 2017.