A tribute to our own Nelson Mandela……. Dr. Billy Gallagher
In 1973, fresh from London’s famous Dorchester Hotel, Dr. Billy Gallagher arrived with his wife to take up a position with local hotel chain Southern Sun. As executive sous-chef, Dr. Billy Gallagher was dismayed at the lack of formal training, low levels of competency and the absence of any apprenticeship schemes in South African kitchens.
In 1974, he helped to establish the South African Chefs Association (SACA) with the aim of nurturing world-class local chefs. Passion, culinary skill and natural business acumen saw Billy rise swiftly through the ranks of Southern Sun, to become the groups’ Food and Beverage Director by the end of the 80s.
In 1982, South African chef Billy Gallagher was elected president of SACA. He held the position for 21 years before becoming honorary president in 2003. During his tenure, the association swelled from a few hundred to several thousand members. Billy’s boundless legacy includes being a member of the first South African Culinary Olympics team; bringing the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) to South Africa; collaborating with renowned French chef Paul Bocuse to create the prestigious Bocuse D’Or competition; and becoming World President of WACS in 1996, and Honorary Life President in 2000. Billy retired in 2008, and remains a beloved mentor to the hospitality profession.
Founder of the original event of “BIDVEST WOLRD CHEFS TOUR AGAINST HUNGER’ in 1993 when 50 chefs from all over the world joined hands to raise the funds of R 50000 followed by the second event in 2003 when 100 chefs gathered again for the humble cause and raised R 1.5 millions.
This year 2011…..Bidvest World Tour Against Hunger took place from August 21, the 10-day event public fundraising initiatives, gala dinners, cook offs at demonstration kitchens and food festivals in Southern Sun Hotels in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, East London and Nelspruit. The public were able to sample speciality dishes prepared by 250 chefs from 44 countries. This was the biggest fundraising event yet undertaken within global chefs’ fraternity
Yes the ultimate goal was to feed the hungry children, but that was not enough. The objective was to bring the awareness among the South African affluent population for the need to create middle class. To raise the funds through food festivals, gala dinners, selling chefs hats with the humble message, “sing children sing” song by P.J.Powers to download, auction of official paintings and other memorabilia’s, and pledges – a promise to donate funds. To know and understand each other’s better, people need to create friendly atmosphere among the communities. Proceeds raised through this event has to be donated in the form of monthly food donations to the Akani Diepsloot Foundations, African Children’s Feeding Scheme, and nominated charities in Durban, Cape Town, Nelspruit and East London.
Why South Africa:
It is estimated that 30% of all South African children or 12 million go to bed without having had a meal all day – This is not their dream ………………..or Ours The Team: As chef Billy said in the Farewell Gala Dinner, “to get the chefs from all over the world was the easiest task” he approached the Chefs associations all over the world and response was in hundreds.
I represented the “EMIRATES CULINARY GUILD” A team of five talented chefs. Vivek K Huria – Team Leader, My Self, Chandrasena Sudusinghe, Vinod Kumar, Ammar Ekili. All carrying our badges and dignity in our hearts and responsibility on our shoulders, shedding out our personal vacation leave for the noble cause. Each one of us donated 100% of our ability by doing cooking demonstrations at the Hemingway’s Casino & Mall and producing amazing food at the Garden Court East London all day dining restaurant where the myriad of local produce, great team effort and abundance of friendship ensured a successful festival. Our team work was remarkable and bonding became stronger. The team of ECG along with other team from Kenya and Tanzania, made history in South Africa when through a crazy Idea, I enticed Scott Valentine a South African chef with great skills and fun to sell to hijack the plane to raise funds……and collected we did, we raised the wings off the plane whilst flying between Jo’burg and East London. Wow, What spirit!!!!!!……
The convener of the tour Mr. Martin Kobald was proud to announce at the Farewell Gala Dinner that the amount raised was R8 million – which exceeded all expectations, and it is thanks to the generosity of the fraternity of caring Chefs. This will go a long way to sustain our goal of being able to feed 500 children every day for 5 years.