He trained at the same catering college as Jamie Oliver, landed one of his first cooking jobs at a Michelin star Marco Pierre restaurant and has spent years travelling the world as a chef with Hilton Hotels.
But now, after nearly 25 years in the elite culinary industry, Cheshire-born Craig Gallimore has set up a new catering business in South Kirkby and is helping to train a new generation of passionate chefs.
Craig, 44, and his partner Sally Wheeler, also 44, launched A&S Catering in the town’s Langthwaite Business Centre in March.
The business is named in memory of their late son Aiden, who died at just four weeks old, and is dedicated to their daughter Sienna, aged four.
While Craig, whose father and grandfather were both award-winning chefs, has enjoyed a successful career travelling the world as a chef in Michelin star restaurants, he said Aiden’s death sparked a change in lifestyle.
“Cooking has been in my blood from a young age, but when Aiden passed away, it put it into perspective that it’s not all about my career, there’s much more to life,” he said.
Craig and Sally set up A&S Cake Designs in South Elmsall, where Sally has always lived, as something they could both throw themselves into after Aiden’s death and have sculpted five-feet cakes, the size of grown adults. After an invite to look around Langthwaite Business Park, they decided to expand the business to A&S Catering.
Craig said: “My love of cooking never went away and the business meant I could still do what I loved close to my family.
“Part of what we are now trying to do with the business is put something back into the community. I love a challenge and this is something different that’s helping others.”
Craig has already begun working with local organisations to enable young people to undertake work experience and training at the restaurant. He hopes to work more in future with people with disabilities and those who have problems in their personal lives.
Craig left home at 16 to train as a chef in Lyon, France, before attending the prestigious Westminster Catering College in London.
He landed a job at Marco Pierre’s then London restaurant Harveys but spent much of his life as a catering consultant.
He was sent in to struggling businesses all over the world, including schools, hotels, prisons and even oil riggs, to improve food quality.
His career has seen him travel to Dubai and Brazil but his highlights include cooking at the Hilton in Tokyo and Helmsley Hotel in New York’s Central Park.
Craig also represented the country in international culinary Olympics and World Cups, bringing home 26 gold medals.
For more information about Craig’s business, visit www.ascs-web.com