Donegal is renowned for its seafood, and a special event last week put our premium product in the spotlight with the help of some expert chefs.

Last Thursday saw Donegal County Council’s Tourism Unit, The Food Coast Donegal, and ATU Donegal host ‘Donegal Seafood Signature Dish’ Event on the Killybegs Campus of ATU.

The evening which was a celebration of all things seafood in Donegal saw five local chefs preparing their ultimate seafood dishes to an audience of interested stakeholders. The chefs were supported by students of the Culinary Arts programme at ATU Donegal.

Chefs Garry Anderson, Chris McMenamin, Colin McKee, Peter Campbell and Tim Dewhirst. Photo: Donegal Woman

Chef Garry Anderson of Anderson’s Boathouse Restaurant and the Seafood Shack in Killybegs kicked off the celebration is well known for his talent when it comes to seafood having been crowned Ireland’s Best Seafood Chowder back in 2019. He prepared a mouthwatering seafood croustillant which is a popular dish in his restaurant.

Seafood croustillant by Chef Garry Anderson

Donegal’s Best Chef Duo Chris McMenamin & Colin McKee who recently took over the kitchen at Biddy O’Barnes then showed how to cook a deliciously simple dish featuring seabass. They were interviewed by the MC for the evening Noel Cunningham who is also a former colleague of the two from Harvey’s Point Hotel.

Chefs Chris McMenamin & Colin McKee
Sea Bass. Photo: Christina J Irwin Photography

Peter Campbell from Outside Catering Donegal demonstrated to the audience how to prepare a Seafood Nage, a broth featuring Donegal’s own maritime gin, An Dúlamán for Sliabh Liag Distillers. It was beautifully served in a scallop shell and was full of flavour.

Chef Peter Campbell. Photo: Donegal Woman

Peter Campbell’s Seafood Nage. Photo: Christina J Irwin Photography

Throughout the evening the guests were treated to a selection of tasty canapés prepared by Tim Dewhirst, Culinary Arts lecturer at ATU and a number of his students. The canapés highlighted the range of flavours that can be achieved using locally caught and sourced fish and shellfish.

Canapés. Photo: Christina J Irwin Photography

Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, John G McLaughlin commended the event saying, “Celebrations such as this demonstrated what is possible when it comes to our food offering in the county. We want to take opportunities such as this to encourage food outlets across Donegal to celebrate the richness of product that we are lucky to have in the county and use as much Donegal products and seafood as they can.”

Cathaoirleach Cllr Jack Murray who spoke at the event said that, “We want to reinforce the message that when visitors come to Donegal we want them to go home reminiscing on the memorable food and drink that they had across the county. We want them to tell their friends and family that some of the best food that they had in Ireland and along the Wild Atlantic Way was in Donegal.”

Participating Chefs and ATU Students with Representatives from The Food Coast Donegal (Donegal LEO). L-R standing: Eve-Anne McCarron (LEO), Chef Garry Anderson, Chefs Chris McMenamin & Colin McKee, Chef Peter Campbell, Chef Tim Dewhirst, Maggie Campbell (LEO). L-R bottom row: Sean Bovaird, Aoife O’Donnell, Adam Harte.