MasterChef Kelsey Murphy Gives Her Take On Ghost Kitchens - Exclusive

In today's world, eating a restaurant meal can look different than it used to. Sure, you can still get your white tablecloth waiter service, or enjoy a fast casual sit-down lunch. But these days, you can also enjoy so many of your favorite restaurant meals without leaving your house, thanks to the rise of delivery services like Grubhub and more.

And naturally, the evolution of our dining habits has led to changes in the kitchen as well. Specifically, the rise of ghost kitchens — those which have no dining room and only make food to be eaten elsewhere — is creating a new landscape for both consumers and chefs alike, and bringing restaurant experiences that wouldn't be possible before. Services like MasterChef Table, a brand-new virtual kitchen in partnership with Grubhub. Fans in select cities around the country can get handcrafted dishes, designed by some of their favorite "MasterChef" contestants, delivered right to their door.

Mashed got the chance to speak with one of the chefs involved with MasterChef Table, season 11 winner Kelsey Murphy, and she chatted all about the curated, mouthwatering menu options, and also the experience of working in a new era of restaurants. In the exclusive interview, Murphy also revealed exactly what she thinks about the rise of virtual and ghost kitchens, and what it could mean for her future as a chef.

Virtual kitchens mean more opportunities for chefs like Kelsey Murphy

Virtual kitchens are seeing a huge boost in popularity in large part thanks to the pandemic. As restaurants had to shut their doors starting in 2020, takeout and delivery operations have helped many businesses stay up and running (via National Retail Federation). But, it seems that the quarantine-induced trend is anything but. Hospitality Technology estimates that ghost kitchens will be a $71 billion-plus industry by 2027.

For chef Kelsey Murphy, the change is inevitable. "It's kind of the way of the world," she told Mashed, adding that "the only way forward is to adjust with the times and to recognize that this is the way of the future." But change isn't always a bad thing. Murphy acknowledges that "a lot of restaurant owners don't love the ghost kitchen concept all the time, because it's taking people out of dining in their restaurants." But, if you ask her, she thinks the rise of ghost kitchens is great exposure as a chef. "It allows people to get our food to the masses without them having to leave their homes, so it's great."

Chef Murphy is already seeing the benefits in her own career. She recently opened a pop-up test kitchen in Fisher, Indiana. "Now I have this pop-up where I can feed people here locally. Then I have MasterChef Table where I can feed people nationally," she said. "There's nothing better than these test kitchens that are opening up all over the country, because it's allowing me, and chefs like me, an opportunity we would never get otherwise [with] the financial backing [needed] to try to open up a restaurant.

You can check online if MasterChef Table is available to order near you on Grubhub. And follow along with the latest from "MasterChef" season 11 winner Kelsey Murphy on Instagram.