Bon Appetit! – Eugene is cooking up a storm with ‘food without the fuss’

By Dionne Meehan

DONEGAL-based ready meal company Bon Appetit has taken the county by storm following the opening of their new factory in Letterkenny.

Now based on the Thorn Road, Eugene Gallen’s creative juices began flowing while operating his street food van during the pandemic.


Then catering for the Lifford area, Tyrone and East Donegal, he saw a gap in the market for ‘food without the fuss’. Having worked in the hospitality industry as a chef and restaurateur for decades, the Lifford native began testing out his products in a few local retail stores.

And from there, he moved into a small kitchen in Killygordon.

“I started expanding from there and now we have 100 retailers around the North West down as far as Sligo, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry and Donegal,” he said.

Now equipped with 14 employees and the capacity to produce 25,000 meals per week, Eugene’s brainchild has gone from strength to strength.

Offering a wide range of ready meals, Eugene ensures that all his meals are of a high quality, cooked from scratch, low in calories and high in protein.

Another quirky idea of Eugene’s was to create meals specifically for air frying.
“We are the first to bring it to market that we know of,” he said.
With massive expansion plans set for 2024, Eugene has steadily been introducing his products to local businesses by installing his new “vend-a-meal” machines.

With four currently operating throughout Donegal, Eugene spoke of their success.
“It gives employees access to a hot lunch or dinner.
“Things like chicken curry and rice or a turkey and ham dinner, there is a whole mixture of different foods.
“They are able to purchase it and heat it on-site in the canteen.
“We service them ourselves and supply the machines,” he said.


But next on Eugene’s agenda is installing a vend-a-meal machine in Letterkenny University Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“We have ideas of putting in things like salads, wraps and sandwiches so when people are there waiting to be seen that they have access to food.
“I have been down there with my dad and you can’t get anything to eat and you could be there for seven or eight hours.

“It is something we are definitely looking into and we are speaking to other hospitals about it as well,” he said.
Now preparing to launch his brand all over Ireland, Eugene is planning to stock his products in 400 shops throughout the country. “We will be seeing a good expansion here over the next few years,” he concluded.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007
Every Thursday
Every Monday

Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland