Meet Angela Murphy, 35, owner and head chef at Grace and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2020 recipients
BRINGING PASSION, INTENSITY, strength and resiliency to London’s dining industry, Angela Murphy has battled the pandemic with creativity and grit, all while remaining steadfastly committed to helping to solve some of the city’s most complex issues surrounding poverty, crime and drug addiction.
What has been your biggest business achievement?
Opening Grace, my own restaurant. After working my heart out for others in an environment I didn’t fully believe in, it is incredibly freeing to be my own boss. I can run my business according to my own ethics and vision. There is immense responsibility and a myriad of challenges of course, but the freedom is everything to me.
Who has influenced you along the way?
My style is a collage of so many influences, in so many different industries. I will pick a few standout examples. Chuck Lazenby is the founder and CEO of the Unity Project London, and she is an incredible force for good in this city. Margaret Coons from Nuts for Cheese is a dear friend and an extremely adept businesswoman. Jess Jazey-Spoelstra is a force in the London food scene — she has been incredibly kind to us, letting us run a pop-up out of The River Room so we could survive a serious blow pre-opening, sharing information and advice and always open to collaboration and co-operation. And I absolutely must include my parents here, Dan and Ruth Ann Murphy, as well as my grandmother, Grace Murphy herself. They gave me my creativity, my strong will, my DIY approach and my never-say-die attitude that keeps Grace going.
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If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
I think I would like to be an interior designer or a writer. Maybe I will do both one day.
What would you tell your younger self if you could offer them some wisdom?
Take accounting classes in high school! Seriously though, I would tell myself that ideas, skills, creativity and follow-through are everything. I never thought I would be in this position back then. I didn’t know how to raise financing. I struggled with depression and anxiety. I didn’t come from a place where it seemed financially possible to open my own business. As it turns out, if you work hard and you have good ideas, people will believe in you and you can find a way.
Playing dolls with my niece. I will admit, I’m way more into it than she is. Interview by Kieran Delamont