Trained in New York City, Tamara Murphy honed her craft while working at various top restaurants in the area. In 1988, drawn to the Northwest’s bounty of fresh ingredients, Tamara decided to move to Seattle. While working at Dominique’s as a Sous Chef, Tamara was selected to participate in the Bocuse d’Or competition. She represented the West Coast as one of twelve finalists at the prestigious event. In 1990, after two years at Dominique’s, Tamara was offered the opportunity to serve as Executive Chef at Campagne, near the Pike Place Market.
Nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, Tamara was one of four finalists for chefs under thirty years of age. She continued to receive nominations from the James Beard Foundation, and in 1995 was named the Best Chef of the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. In addition, Food and Wine Magazine dubbed her one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America. Other publications such as Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Food Arts and The New York Times all profiled Tamara and her unique culinary style. Meanwhile, local critics such as John Hinterberger, Johnathan Susskind, Tom Sietsma, and “Seattle’s Best Places” showered Tamara and Campagne with rave reviews.
In 1993 Peter Lewis decided to open Café Campagne. Tamara enjoyed the process of opening the Cafe, and the challenge of overseeing two restaurant operations. Hailed by the press as yet another Tamara Murphy success, the café soon became the darling of Seattle foodies. After numerous successful years at the helm of both restaurants, Tamara decided it was time to open a venue of her own.
Partnering with Bryan Hill, the former General Manager and Wine Director at Campagne, Tamara was anxious to be part of a restaurant that was truly about community. Brasa is the culmination of their many years working in the industry, and has been an opportunity to create a restaurant that is truly about the people, cuisine, and wine they love.
Brasa opened March 1st 1999 and has been wildly successful. Seattleites love the creative food and sensual ambiance. It garnered an outstanding review from Nancy Leson of the Seattle Times. Tamara was honored to return to New York in June, 2000 to cook for a special James Beard Foundation event, which was chronicled in the Seattle Time’s Pacific Magazine. Both Food and Wine and Gourmet magazines have recognized Brasa as one of Seattle’s top tables.
The prestigious Zagat Survey 2003 has again named Brasa as Seattle’s Top Food in Mediterranean cuisine and given the restaurant high Most Popular, Top Décor, and Rooms ratings for its dramatic interior. Voters state that “Everything’s a winner” and on the “unforgettable, creative” cuisine, emhpasizing the “imaginative” and “memorable” dishes created by Tamara.
Tamara has been an ardent supporter of FareStart and Share Our Strength / Taste of the Nation. With a focus on children’s causes, she has been a featured chef at the Auction of Washington Wines, the second largest charity wine auction in the country, benefiting Children’s Hospital. She has also been featured at the March of Dimes annual Star Chef’s Gala for the last several years. Tamara makes it a point to be extremely supportive of school children, both through her many donations to school fundraisers and by hosting groups at Brasa, where she invites them into her kitchen and actively involves them in the culinary experience.