Trip to Europe’s largest market for star chef

A young chef from Mellor-based Stanley House Hotel and Spa has returned from a European trip to one of the world’s largest markets.

Blackburn-born commis chef, Lewis Gallagher, enjoyed a tour of Rungis market near Paris as part of his bursary for winning the prestigious 2013 Acorn Scholarship.

Accompanied by his mentors who included head chef at Grill On the Hill, Andrew Parker, he gained first-hand experience of the 234 hectare market, which receives over 1.5 million tonnes of incoming produce every year.

The tour included visits to the fish hall, the newest area of the market, the poultry and fruit and vegetable sections. In addition, Lewis was introduced to leading suppliers such as The French Garden, a UK importer and distributor of specialist fruit and vegetables.

Lewis said: “The trip was extremely fulfilling for me as one of my main aims when applying for the scholarship was to sample high quality food at its source.

“When we first arrived to Rungis in the early hours of the morning, I couldn’t quite believe the scale of the food halls, it’s like a city within a city. I have a huge passion for fresh ingredients and so learning about the full spectrum of produce available is an important part of my development as a chef. Developing links with such key distributors will really help to establish myself.”

As part of the trip, Lewis also had the opportunity to sample classic French cuisine at one of Michel Roux Jr’s favourite restaurants, Le Dome.

He added:  “Tasting the Napolean mille-feuille and traditional fish soups was such an experience. I’m really looking forward to using some of the produce and French techniques within our repertoire of dishes at Stanley House.”

Lewis Gallagher was awarded the Acorn Scholarship, an annual national competition championed by star chef Michael Caines, by beating nine other finalists for a £7,000 bursary. He was also the second runner-up in the National Young Chef of the Year competition held last year.

Lewis will soon spend time with culinary mastermind, Michael Caines himself, at his restaurant in Devon later this month. The Rungis Market trip was organised by Lisa Jenkins, product and suppliers editor at the Caterer and Hotelkeeper and James Wellock, UK supplier.