Chef Chris Molloy of The Lemon Tree Restaurant was crowned Donegal Chowder Champion at the recent county Chowder Cook-Off. Hosted by ‘The Food Coast – Donegal’s Good Food Initiative’ the county cook-off took place at the Hooked! Maritime Festival in the LYIT Tourism College, Killybegs and chef Chris Molloy will now to go on to represent Donegal at the 7th annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off competition in Kinsale early next year. Donegal is hoping to retain the title, after Inishowen chef and restaurateur, Kieran Doherty, brought the award home to the county for the first time last year.
Nine chefs took part in the county cook-off competition but it was Euro-toques chef, Chris Molloy’s seafood chowder that won the public vote in Killybegs. Situated in the heart of Letterkenny, The Lemon Tree is a family operated restaurant with over 15 years’ experience. Chris has worked in the restaurant since the age of 13 and took over as head chef a number of years ago. He studied culinary arts in Killybeg’s Tourism College and is hoping to perfect his recipe in a bid to be crowned the 2017 national All-Ireland Chowder Champion. Chris was delighted with his win at the county cook-off and is already looking forward to Kinsale:
“I’m over the moon to be crowned the Donegal Chowder Champion and I’m particularly delighted to be taking the title back through the gap to Letterkenny. I’d like to thank everyone who helped out in any way and pay special tribute to Eve-Anne McCarron of The Food Coast – Donegal’s Good Food Initiative for organising the event and looking after all of us. Our passion at The Lemon Tree is to source local and sustainable produce, which is an easy task given Donegal is blessed with great food producers. I’m looking forward to representing our county in the All Ireland Chowder Cook-Off next year and will be doing my very best to make sure we can make it two in a row for Donegal.”
Adding to this, Eve-Anne McCarron, Local Enterprise Office, Donegal County Council, said: “The standard from the county finalists at this year’s competition was excellent. The food industry in Donegal is building year-on- year and we’re delighted that The Food Coast is at the forefront of developing the sector. We received great feedback from visitors, local and international, on the day and I’d like to thank the Killybegs Community Council and the organisers of the Hooked! Maritime festival for their support. Special thanks also to Sean Duffy of Killybegs Tourism College and his team for hosting the event and their support on the day. We wish Chris and everyone at The Lemon Tree the very best of luck in the next stage of the All-Ireland Chowder Competition.”
Other finalists that took part in the county cook-off were: Castlemurray House (St. Johns Point), The Lemon Tree (Letterkenny), The Seaview Tavern (Malin Head), Seamus Pat’s Shop- Cafe (Greencastle), Dawros Bay House (Rosbeg), Ahoy Cafe (Killybegs), The Bayview Hotel (Killybegs), The Tara Hotel (Killybegs) and Florence Food Co. (Letterkenny).
For more information on The Food Coast – Donegal’s Good Food Initiative visit www.localenterprise.ie/donegal or contact Eve-Anne McCarron, Local Enterprise Office on 074-9160735. Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020