Q&A with Murphy’s Ian Winslade

ATL Food Chatter: August 1, 2011
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Ian Winslade was raised in England and worked in restaurants in London, Bermuda, New York and Los Angeles before taking up residence in Atlanta in the 90s. Buckhead Life Restaurant’s Group Bluepointe, where he was opening executive chef in 1999, is probably the restaurant to which his name has been most closely associated over the years. He’s also worked for Tom Catherall at TomTom, Prime Steakhouse, and Shout; the local Jean-Georges Vongerichten concepts Spice Market and Market Buckhead; and more recently at Buckhead Bottle Shop and shuttered 5th Street Cafe.

Winslade latest gig is executive chef at perennially popular Murphy’s in Virginia Highland, where he follows in the footstep of other high-profile Atlanta chefs including Gerry Klaskala, Shaun Doty, and Hector Santiago. Like those before him, Winslade is finding the balance between putting his touch on the menu (note the Asian overtones in new items like miso soup with shrimp and herbs and the sesame in the mustard sauce for strip steak) while upholding classics like the shrimp and grits and Tollhouse pie.

Q: How did you and Tom Murphy make this happen?
IW: Tom and I began talking in April, and we had several really good dialogues over a few weeks. I began at the beginning of May, part-time, and once my kids were finished with school I took over my role full-time.

Q: What has been the biggest adjustment at your new job so far?
IW: The biggest adjustment has been for me to assimilate myself into a longstanding restaurant. I have actually never taken over from another chef, and so to adopt someone else’s systems and also introduce new ideas has been a good challenge. It is very difficult to win over a longstanding crew, and that has been an interesting time for me, too. The guests also showed a lot of concern, and I got grilled by several of them to ensure I would not remove certain favorites.

Q: What are your short- and long-range plans for your tenure at Murphy’s?
IW: My short-term plan was to come in, analyze the business, understand the way it runs, and how I could compliment it. I feel that I have pretty much achieved that goal. Now, I am developing new ideas, tweaking some of the old ones, and trying to gently put a small stamp onto this incredible restaurant. My long-range plans include the possibility of helping Tom expand and develop new ideas and concepts. I fully hope that I will have my hands in the food at Murphy’s for a long time.

The Atlanta stop on the 2011 Celebrity Chef Tour, which benefits the James Beard Foundation, will be hosted by Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta executive chef Robert Gerstenecker and will feature James Lewis from Birmingham’s Bettola and Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Lexington, KY. These three acclaimed chefs will be joined by some of the city’s best bartenders in Park 75 Lounge for a cocktail party on Friday, August 12th. A six-course dinner complete with pairings will be served Saturday, August 13.

Buckhead. Bill Addison first reported that Tomohiro Naito is looking to sell his original Vinings location of Tomo to concentrate on the restaurant’s new digs in the 3630 Peachtree Road skyscraper that houses the Ritz Carlton Residences.

Decatur. CL’s Besha Rodell broke the news that Watershed will close August 6 after 13 years in Decatur. The plan is to reopen in another location by the end of the year with current chef/partner Joe Truex at the helm when it reopens. *We’re hearing that the new location will likely be in South Buckhead.*

Teri Rogers sent out an email to local media this evening stating that she has closed Rail, formerly Farmstead 303. Her other restaurant, Feast, remains open.
Eater Atlanta first reported that newcomer No. 246 will host Spaghetti Suppers on Mondays, beginning August 1. Guests will have a choice of 3 spaghetti entrees, a salad, garlic bread and a dessert for $24.

Downtown. As Bill Addison reported on Twitter, Social Resto and Wine Bar has closed.

Inman Park. Inman Park has officially joined Atlanta’s food truck movement. The Inman Food Park opened Saturday, July 30 at 255 Highland Avenue and will be open every Saturday from 6-9 pm., according to its Facebook page.
Little 5 Points. Camelli’s Pizza is planning to open a second location at 337 Moreland Avenue, according to What Now Atlanta. It reports that the standalone building will be built from the ground up and feature a roof top deck.

Midtown. 5 Napkin Burger, the local outlet of the upscale burger concept taking over the Nickiemoto space, will open on August 15. The restaurant is sponsoring a contest in conjunction with its launch: Describe/design the best burger that represents Atlanta by September 5 and win $1,000 in “burger bucks” to spend at the restaurant.

Jose Rego has rejoined the Riccardo Ullio team to helm Escorpion. The former Sotto Sotto and Fritti chef is revamping the menu of the recently opened “tequila bar and cantina.”

Poncey Highland. Eater Atlanta is reporting that the opening of HD (Haute Doggery), Richard Blais’s gourmet hot dog emporium, is being pushed back until fall. Citing unnamed but “extremely credible” sources, EATL says that the delay is due to parking permit issues raised by the surrounding neighborhood.

. Taqueria del Sol is gearing up for its annual celebration of hatch chile season with a special menu and “block party-like” festival on September 11.

Question of the Week: What nationally known spice purveyor has recently opened its first Georgia location?

PS . The answer to last week’s QOTW—What ATL pizza chain is taking its pies to DC this fall?—is Mellow Mushroom, opening in Adams Morgan.

Do you have restaurant openings, closings, or other news to share? Email James Oxendine at atldiningchatter@gmail.com