A young Derry man is currently cooking up a storm on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
Ruairí Gallagher, a former student at St Columb’s College, plies his trade at the renowned Terrace Seafood Restaurant in the small town of Maleny in Queensland.
The 28-year-old professional chef, who describes himself as a “proud Derry man”, recently became an Australian citizen.
Ruairi’s story, since leaving school at 16, is a veritable travelogue - with a stint in California and various jobs across Ireland before he decided to base himself Down Under.
“After leaving St Columb’s, I set sail on a culinary Journey which began in the old
Mange2 on Lower Clarendon Street were my passion for food grew and would go on to shape my entire life,” he says.
“Working in Mange2 was an experience that made me not only hungry to further my culinary career but it was where I also formed friendships and relationships for life.”
After Mange 2, Ruairi moved on to Letterkenny to work in the Quality Court Hotel.
Aged 20, he decided to travel and broaden his horizons and relocated to California where he lived for three months.
Arriving back in Ireland was, according to Ruairi, when “my journey really came to life.”
“On returning from California, I moved to Dublin and worked in the renowned Sandymount Hotel
on Lansdowne Road.
“I then moved to The Cornstore in Limerick where I finally decided to realise my dream of building a life in Australia.
“I came to Australia at the start of 2010 with a suitcase and my best friend. During my time here, I have become a qualified Trainer and Assessor in Hospitality with the desire to teach the young Australian chefs of the future.
“I spent three years working in the oldest rainforest in the world, The Daintree.”
Ruairi says it hasn’t always been easy being so far away from family and friends.
“I’ve missed weddings, Christenings and numerous birthdays and Christmases, but knowing
they are proud of me and what I’ve achieved is what keeps me going.
“As of March this year, I’ve been working in the renowned Terrace Seafood Restaurant of Maleny on the Sunshine Coast.
“Though I’ve travelled far and, despite people often thinking I speak another language, I can say that the language of food is universal.”
“I’m a proud Derry man who had a dream and decided to live it.”