Bill Gallagher

South African Chefs Association

Bill Gallagher’s career is too extensive and decorated to describe in great detail. From his early beginnings as apprentice chef at the Royal Country Hotel in Newcastle in England, he was employed as a commis de cuisine at the Dorchester Hotel in London, before emigrating to South Africa in 1973. He was immediately employed by the Southern Sun Corporation as executive sous chef at the new five-star Elizabeth Hotel in Port Elizabeth and was promoted to maitre chef des cuisines in April 1975. In 1977, he was promoted to the five-star Landdrost Hotel in Johannesburg, the company’s flagship, as maitre chef des cuisines, before being promoted to Group executive chef of Southern Sun Hotels in 1983. From there, it was a short step up to Group food and beverage manager in 1984 and to Group food and beverage director in 1985. In March 1988, he was appointed to the Board of Southern Sun Holdings, which is the position he currently occupies.

Amongst his achievements, Bill lists being elected as President of SACA; convening the 23rd International Congress of the WACS; election to the board of directors of WACS as director for Africa; being awarded an honours chair from Johnson & Wales University in the USA; and convening the World Cooks Tour for Hunger world-wide project in 1993.

Bill is an honourary member of the Cercle des Chefs de Cuisine d’Israel; an honourary member of La Federation Mondiale des Societies des Cuisiniers (World Association of Cooks Societies); an honourary membership of the Verband der Koche Deutschlands; an honourary member of the Chefs & Cooks Circle of Great Britain; recipient of an honourary diploma of the Societe des Cusiniers de Paris; and honourary member of the All Japan Cooks Society. He is a Master Craftsman with the Craft Guild of Chefs in England; a board member of the Johannesburg Hotel School Foundation; a member of the Federation Internationale de la Presse Gastronomique Touristique et Uinicole and a member of the Hotel & Catering Institutional Management Association in England.

He has received numerous culinary awards and medals including, amongst many others, a gold medal and silver cup when he represented SA as one of the five chefs in the National Team at the 15th World Culinary Olympics held in Germany in 1987; four gold medals and two bronze medals when he was overall team leader for the SA Chefs City Team at the 17th Culinary Olympics held in Germany in 1988; and in 1990, he was team chef and captain of the SA National Culinary Team which competed at the 6th International Gastroprag Culinary Expo in Czechoslovakia and was awarded three gold medals a second place team silver medal. He also received the FEDHASA Hospitality Industry Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 recognising him as an exceptional leader in the global hospitality industry.

Dr Gallagher’s most recent project has been the conceptualization of the South African Chefs Association’s most exciting project to date – the establishment of a Centre for Culinary Excellence, which will have far-reaching effects for the hospitality industry in South Africa, housing a library, culinary archives, computer centre and the establishment of internet-based learning material, which will be accessible across the industry.

Currently director of Public Relations and Communications of the Southern Sun hotel group, Dr. Gallagher is also Honourary President of the South African Chefs Association (SACA), and Honourary Life President of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).