Weekly Grill: Launceston Place head chef Ben Murphy on creating simple, no-nonsense food, and vegans who eat butter and cream

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Ben Murphy and I’m 28 years old. I’m head chef at Launceston Place in Kensington and I’ve been cooking professionally for eight years now. Cooking has always been a personal passion, so being paid to do what I love is a bonus.

What’s new at Launceston Place?

We are really happy to have just received three AA rosettes. The restaurant also had a refurbishment recently, and we’ve welcomed some great new staff to the team. The menu has also changed to fit the season, as it always does.

Head chef Ben Murphy

What’s your earliest food memory?

My mum and dad aren’t massive foodies; my food upbringing was rather simple, something I will never complain about because I was always fed, but chicken dinosaurs and potato smiley faces were top of the list, followed by Bird’s Eye fish fingers, chips and beans.

Tell us about the best meal you ever had

I’ve eaten at a few high-end restaurants and one that always comes to mind is Michelin two-starred The Ledbury in Notting Hill. Brett Graham creates incredible food that’s well-balanced and executed, with fantastic service and a great atmosphere. It’s an experience I will never forget.

Outside Launceston Place

What’s your favourite dish?

Choices! I struggle to pick a favourite – the whole menu at Launceston Place is based on food I love to eat. I have an allergy to shellfish so you’ll notice that the shellfish selection is quite small. Simple produce that speaks for itself without too much playing around is what we have created. The most popular dish on the menu is our vegetarian celeriac dish served with mint and pecorino.

What’s the best thing about the London food scene?

The best thing is how competitive it is. Every restaurant wants to be the best in its own area, which I think is healthy and keeps everything in London so exciting.

And the worst thing?

Staff shortage has had a massive impact on restaurants recently, whether in the kitchen or front of house. Luckily for us at Launceston Place we’re okay at the moment.

What’s your favourite food-related anecdote?

We once had a vegan customer who was okay with eating butter and cream.... I will say no more.

Find the restaurant at 1a Launceston Place, W8 5RL. For reservations call 020 7937 6912, go to launcestonplace-restaurant.co.uk or email launcestonplace@danddlondon.com