Chef Bryce Murphee

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | September 13th, 2012 | Chef Interviews

From Colorado, we head approximately a thousand miles southeast to our next destination:  Austin, Texas. Austin is the home to urban an American Grill, which is located at the Westin Domain.  With a tagline of “fresh fare with urban flair”, how could we resist?  Add to that a menu with a number of creative items, including the Chef’s Soup of the Moment, and we were hooked.

We were able to speak with Executive Chef, Bryce Murphee, to learn more about urban’s menu, ingredients, and more.

TT: What local produce items are being used in your dishes currently?

CM: Local micro greens, local baby lettuces, local citrus like grapefruit and oranges, mushrooms, bib lettuce, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, stone fruits that are still in season, peaches are on their way out but figs are on the way in, and sweet corn.

TT: It was mentioned that you participate in a CSA.  What ingredients do you receive from that?

CM: We don’t use it regularly, but could definitely use it in a wine maker dinner. We are servicing too many people for day-to-day use of one.

TT: Have you created any special menu items that highlight the local produce?

CM: The summer tomato salad, Fredericksburg peach glaze pork chop had its glaze origins in local peaches, the apples in the empanada- pretty much all of the salads are made with local availability in mind.

TT: Is the Chef’s Soup of the Moment inspired by seasonal ingredients?

CM: But of course… We have an unwritten rotation of eight soups; it’s very seasonal and nine out of ten times we walk to the cooler and see what we have fresh and available for inspiration.

TT: What is your favorite dish that includes local produce?

CM: The summer tomato salad with cambozola and rosemary croutons

TT: As you include seasonal produce in your menu, how often do you change your regular or special menu items?

CM: The regular menu changes 4-5 times per year. Special menu changes are daily, depending on day or occupancy. We have anywhere from 1-3 specials a day. They completely depend upon what we have that is seasonal.

TT: Do you work with any farms in particular?

CM: We use Fresh Point; I talk to my produce guy once a week, and we go off a big produce newsletter and grower list that talks about what is in season.
We use among other places:
Sweet corn from Jonah Farms
Herbs, organic, from Generation Farms
Gourds from Cooper Farms
Heirloom tomatoes from Red Ripe Tomatoes
Kombocha squash from Johnson’s Backyard along with baby squash and spinach

TT: What makes your menu/restaurant unique?

CM: We focus on the quality of food that we put out and not stuffiness. We have a focus on seasonal menu. We like fun/upscale twists on comfort food, and we are feeding a restaurant, hotel and catering program.

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