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    Christopher Molloy

    Christopher Molloy

    Putting Donegal’s food community on the map | Letterkenny, Donegal

    The set-up at the Lemon Tree Restaurant in Letterkenny sounds like a recipe for disaster. Three brothers, plus one other chef, in the kitchen working together; no titles, no hierarchy, no head chef! Front of house, their two sisters and a cousin. All of them have been there from the very beginning, when the restaurant was opened by Christopher Molloy’s parents, two decades ago – and it works.

    Christopher started his career on wash-up aged 13 and went on to train in professional cookery at Killybegs College. His father had been a cook in the army, his two older brothers were chefs; he never questioned that this was also the path for him. 

    Apart from some time spent working and travelling in Australia and regular travel centred around ‘food experiences’, Christopher has made the decision to stay put in Donegal. Faced with the option of taking a job in Dublin a couple of years ago he looked around and thought “why would I move to Dublin when I have the best of everything here?” This realisation gave him a renewed determination to promote native Donegal; its beauty, its produce, its food landscape, and he has since become active in events and media eagerly showcasing the food of his county.

    Christopher is passionate about the community that exists around food, and for him in Letterkenny this community is particularly tight-knit; with, for example, meat being sourced from his uncle’s farm and mussels from “a guy I play football with on Saturdays”. Christopher wants to build that sense of community and also put these he knows on the map. Naturally he has a strong sense of how central the family business (from farming and retail to hospitality) is to Ireland and Irish tourism and he wants to showcase this. He wants visitors to realise that this is a place to come to not only for the breath-taking scenery, but also the food, and he wants young chefs to realise there is plenty to keep them here or to bring them back.