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March 30, 2009

Award-winning Irish chef calls Cape Town home

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How does an Irish chef end up cooking Asian food in South Africa?

Conrad Gallagher – the youngest chef ever to win a Michelin Star – has been all over the world in the course of his hugely successful career.

Knowing that he has lived in Dublin, New York, Los Angeles, Japan, France and Monte Carlo, some might wonder why he has decided to settle in Cape Town.

“The climate is wonderful, as are the people and the culture,” Gallagher says. “I have easy access to other countries for my consulting business and, of course, my wife is South African.”

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Gallagher launched his restaurant, the Geisha Wok and Noodle Bar, in December 2007. This Asian-fusion style restaurant can be found at the five-star Cape Royale Hotel in Green Point.

Gallagher says, “Geisha is cool, casual and lots of fun. The cooking is really easy-going and comforting.

“I have always loved Asian cooking and although I have cooked European food in my restaurants, I always cooked Asian food at home,” he continues.

“I have spent time in Japan and China and have always been impressed with simplicity.”

What Gallagher enjoys most about his job is inspiring young people to be creative and work hard, training young chefs to reach their highest goals.

He plans to launch a second restaurant, Conrad’s Kitchen, later this year, which promises to be more sophisticated than the Geisha Wok and Noodle Bar.

To all international visitors thinking of coming to Cape Town, Gallagher is emphatic in his advice: “Pack your bags and hurry – it’s the best city in the world!”

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