WINTER 2014 / VOL. 14 ISSUE 1
Chef Patrick Murphy
By Michelle Boyle
click on photos
Ask Patrick Murphy, chef de cuisine of Le Rêve Patisserie and Cafe in downtown Wauwatosa, Wis., what he loves about his job and he'll tell you, "The fun is endless. It's a great feeling walking away from a busy dinner service knowing there were a lot of happy guests and knowing the food our guests enjoyed was created from scratch from my team and I"
If you haven't had the pleasure of dining at this little gem, you really need to make a point of it. Just minutes from downtown Milwaukee, Le Rêve Patisserie and Cafe is an elegant, yet affordable, dining experience that treats its customers to gourmet French cuisine. Says Murphy, "To me French food is the ultimate comfort food and easily dressed up into fine dining or dressed down into pub fare."
Even at a young age, Murphy searched out good food. "As a child I always enjoyed food, sometimes a little too much. As a toddler, my mom found me digging in the fridge and I would wake her up at 2 a.m. asking her how to make pasta." After high school, he started washing dishes at a pub, quickly working his way up in the kitchen from there. "After realizing I was decent as a line cook, I decided to make it my career and do a culinary apprenticeship."
Working as a stagier, or a culinary intern, Murphy gained valuable experience at such well-respected establishments as The Blackbird and The Publican in Chicago, Café Boulud and Corton in New York City, Harvest Restaurant in Madison and Le Pigeon in Portland. A Milwaukee native, he declares that "I always come back to Milwaukee because it is home."
With a name like Patrick James Murphy there's bound to be some Irish heritage there and though he specializes in French cooking, he has "dabbled in Irish cuisine" and enjoys it a lot. "Good food is good food if it is done well." With his strong Irish background, which he harkens back to the old adage, "Murphy is more Irish than Irish itself," he can trace his heritage on father's side to Murphys who emigrated from Ireland to Canada, eventually settling in northern Wisconsin and on his mother's side are the Gallaghers who came from Co. Cork to Chicago.
According to Murphy, "Being a chef you are pretty much always on call so 'free time' needs to be taken advantage of." In the spring and summer months, you can find him participating in hurling matches as part of the Milwaukee Hurling Club. This ancient sport of Gaelic and Irish origin is played with a wooden stick, called a hurley that is used to hit a small ball called a sliotar through or above goals at opposite ends of the field. Murphy is "proud to be a part of the largest hurling club outside of Ireland. Known as the fastest game on grass, I have my work cut out for me." The matches are played every Sunday during the season at Brown Deer Park.
It's always a pleasure to learn that even the most talented and ambitious chefs eat like the rest of us on occasion. Murphy admits that "at the end of the day there is nothing more convenient then a frozen pizza, instant noodles, mac n' cheese, and pasta with red sauce." When not hard at work, Murphy and his girlfriend "enjoy when the tables are turned and we get to enjoy a nice evening out at some of our favorite spots in the city."
With Murphy as chef de cuisine, Le Rêve Patisserie and Café offers French bistro meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are both richly impressive and varied while remaining affordable. Le Rêve is a very atmospheric dining experience. In addition to fantastic cuisine, it also manages to allow the diner to momentarily forget they are still in downtown Wauwatosa and are rather in a Parisian café.
Formerly a 100-year-old bank, and up until recently still equipped with the vaults, it has undergone its amazing transformation into an authentic Parisian café largely thanks to diligent research by the owners Andrew Schneider and Therese Hittman. Le Rêve Patisserie and Café is located in the heart of the Wauwatosa Village (7610 Harwood Ave.) and will accommodate up to 80 guests.
Murphy shares, "As a chef, I am always trying
to educate myself and learn more to move not only myself forward but the
restaurant I work for as well." He has certainly done that for Le Rêve
Patisserie and Café which has become a popular destination for food
connoisseurs throughout the city.
© Irish American Post
1815 W. Brown Deer Road
Milwaukee, WI 53217