February 23, 2015

He’s usually known for his controversial business deals.

Conrad Gallagher
Conrad Gallagher

But Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher appears to be turning over a new leaf.

The Letterkenny man, who famously trained at the Killybegs Catering College, has never been busier.

He is currently running his own food business in California and loves nothing better than entertaining clients from Ireland.

The Hawthorn Heights man was back in Ireland this week for a promotional tour.

And he even plans to give something back to society.

Conrad has tweeted that last year he donated 10 days to working for charities and this year he will double his efforts to 20 days!

Perhaps Conrad is seeing the light at last.



 December 14, 2014
Conrad Gallagher
Conrad Gallagher

DONEGAL chef Conrad Gallagher is in trouble again – and could face jail over it.

A default judgment of $137,565 (€110,400) has been registered in New York against the Letterkenny man and Paul Hurley, his business partner in the Purple Fig restaurant in Manhattan.

The pair were sued over unpaid wages by staff.

The restaurant, located on the Upper West Side, closed in 2012 after a series of bad reviews, with the New York Post awarding it zero stars out of five under a headline titled: “Fig-get about eating here”.

A formal investigation is now under way into Gallagher, who was made bankrupt in South Africa in 2009, and left a trail of debts behind him in Ireland again two years ago.

He claimed he didn’t own the Fig Leaf and was merely a consultant.

Hurley says Gallagher was responsible for paying the staff.

However Dubliner Hurley has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to pay $100,000 in wages to staffers at one of his other businesses.

He did a plea deal with the New York State Attorney General’s Office has allowed him to avoid a jail sentence.

Now a new investigation is under way.

Former workers are pursuing the civil case – and there may now also be a criminal investigation.

Gallagher was last believed to be in Orange County, California, where he was running an outside catering company called Vanity Catering & Events.

His website for the business however crashed in November and has been down since.




 March 31, 2014

He used to causing shockwaves in his personal and public life.

Conrad Gallagher
Conrad Gallagher

But controversial Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher felt a tremor for real this week when he was caught up in an earthquake in Los Angeles.

The Letterkenny chef is setting up his own online food business where the 5.4 quake was recorded.

Gallagher said “Just experienced our first earthquake.Okay, 5.4 earthquake in my back yard! Scariest thing ever,” said Gallagher.

Other Irish residents to tweet about the earthquake included Claudine Keane, wife of Irish soccer star Robbie Keane.




 February 10, 2014

CONRAD GALLAGHERTHE knives are out again for Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher amid new claims he didn’t pay staff at a New York restaurant.

The Letterkenny culinary king has been trying to carve out a new career in the States, but faces being thrown out of America if he loses a court case against him.

His venture in the Big Apple was so bad, that one newspaper critic refused to give it any stars in a rating from one to five.

Last week Gallagher set up yet another new venture in Orange County, California, offering five-star catering services to clients. He has had rave reviews there already, one blogger writing the Donegal man’s food was “better than anything I’ve ever tasted in the USA.”

However a lawyer representing former staff at ‘The Purple Fig’ – which went bust 14 months ago in Manhattan – claims he’s been unable to track down Gallagher to serve him with court papers.

Robert Wisniewski is representing 40 former staff; they say they were paid below the minimum wage, but never they never received salaries or tips.

“It is our belief that due to his failure to pay his debts, he has deliberately gone off the grid,” said the lawyer, who was able to serve some of the papers in California two weeks ago.

They are also suing Paul Hurley, another Irishman involved in the venture.

Former worker Nick Robinson claims in a statement that when he asked Gallagher for payment, he was told to speak to Hurley, but when he spoke to Hurley he was told to speak with Gallagher.

The Donegal man has left a trail of debts behind him from several ventures in recent years.

After being declared bankrupt in South Africa in 2009, he returned to Ireland to star in TV3’s Head Chef show.

But he left suppliers and staff without money when restaurant ventures in Sligo and Dublin went bust.

The Purple Fig in New York was slated by the critics, with New York Post food writer Steve Cuozzo describing Gallagher as a “cut-price Gordon Ramsay.”

Cuozzo was scathing in his review – giving it No Stars.

And he also found that he had to pay cash – because the restaurant’s credit card facility wasn’t working.

The same thing happened in Gallagher’s last ‘cash only’ Dublin restaurant.

You can read Cuozzo’s review here

If Gallagher has to appear at a civil case in New York and loses, he could lose his working visa and be chucked out of America.




 December 16, 2013

Controversial Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher has found himself in the middle of a lawsuit taken by staff of a restaurant he was involved in.

Conrad Gallagher
Conrad Gallagher

The Letterkenny-born businessman is named in court documents by former staff at the Purple Fig restaurant in New York.

Gallagher, 42, and others are being sued under labour laws that cover the treatment of workers.

But former Michelin star chef Conrad said he is not facing a legal battle.

“There is no lawsuit being filed against me. I was only a consultant for that restaurant, and was never an owner or director.

“I went in, set it up and left again,” he said.

Gallagher has enjoyed a colourful past including a stint in a New York prison as well as being declared bankrupt after a number of business deals went sour.

But he has managed to bounce back yet again and is now running Vanity Catering and Events in California.

The on-line catering company promises high-end food at the right price.





 December 10, 2013

Donegal celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher is giving it another go – this time in Hollywood.

Conrad has started an online party food business.
Conrad has started an online party food business.

The Letterkenny cook has tried numerous ventures since leaving Ireland a couple of years ago.

And this time the former Michelin star chef has opened his own online catering company.

Vanity Catering does online upmarket catering for weddings, sixteen birthday parties and all sorts of high-brow functions.

And just weeks after being set up, Conrad is catering for his first Hollywood wrap party with more than 1,200 guests this weekend.

The chef is running the company with wife Candice out of their offices in Newport Beach, California.

He has also secured a contract for a wedding for 800 guests at Newport Beach next June.

But in between the major money gigs, Conrad is happy to pay the bills.

For $580 including free delivery, Conrad will provide a buffet for 20 people.





 July 11, 2013

Celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher’s latest venture has hit the wall.Conrad Gallagher

The Donegal cook, who once boasted to be the youngest Michelin star chef, was hanging out in LA where he opened his latest venture ‘PoshBurger Bistro.

But after a series of mixed reviews and mishaps since it open in March, the restaurant has now closed.

Gallagher, 42, from Letterkenny, was doing the cooking at the restaurant in Summerlin while his wife Candice was working out front of the eaterie.

One famous newspaper, the Las Vegas Weekly, compared Gallagher’s burger menu to Noah’s Ark.

“The menu is like Noah’s Ark, as the more common Black Angus is accompanied by lamb, wild boar and venison,” although specials such as elk, ostrich and duck were “conspicuously absent during my visits,” said the reviewer.

The signs for the Donegal man’s latest venture looked ominous only weeks after opening.

Only a month after opening, employees reported that they weren’t getting paid.

Within two months, a local butcher reported that he wasn’t getting paid and another vendor said he reported PoshBurger to the district attorney’s office.

Gallagher said he had plans for a small Las Vegas empire which included a small boutique food, wine shop and cooking school store called Gallagher the Grocer.

However, this too appears to be on hold.



 June 3, 2013

Conrad Gallagher is back and this time he’s flipping burgers!

Conrad is hoping there is cash in burgers!
Conrad is hoping there is cash in burgers!

The Letterkenny-born chef, who doesn’t doesn’t know defeat, has opened up a restaurant called PoshBurger Bistro in Las Vegas.

Conrad is doing the cooking while his wife Candice is serving out front of the restaurant.

The chef, who trained at Killybegs Catering College, was once considered the most talented cooks about and picked up a Michelin star aged just 27.

But he went slightly off the rails and left a trail of debt behind him.

He was declared bankrupt in South Africa in 2009 and moved to America where he relaunched himself as a consultant chef.

His new venture has received mixed reviews.

BUt the one thing you can always say about the Hawthorn Heights man is that he never gives up.




 January 29, 2012

Controversial Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher has quit Ireland again – leaving another trail of debt behind him.

Just a year after returning and setting up restaurants in Dublin and Sligo, the Letterkenny chef has emigrated to America.

And not for the first time a number of his suppliers claim they have not been paid.

Gallagher left Dublin just before Christmas with his wife Candice and their two children.

He has set up home in Los Angeles where he is listed as a ‘restaurant consultant.’

However not everyone is sad to see the back of him.

Maurice Kettyle of Kettyle Meats in Letterkenny claims Gallagher, from Hawthorn Heights, owes him about €7,000 for produce he supplied to his restaurants.

“He has conned the country again. If I was broke I couldn’t afford the airfare to LA let alone set up a new life there.

“There were two big deliveries that went unpaid, it was about €7,000. The cheque bounced.

“I contacted him a number of times and it was the same old story. Now I hear that he has left the country.

“It is difficult enough to do business without this type of behaviour. I don’t know how he can take in money and not pay his debt, signs, staff and suppliers,” fumed Mr Kettyle.




 October 24, 2011

Culinary genius Conrad Gallagher is branching out and opening a takeaway!

But his customers can think again about the Letterkenny chef sweating behind a greasy counter serving battered sausages and quarter pounders.

The well-known restaurateur is opening his own range of ready-made meals for supermarkets and top stores.

The range of upmarket dishes called ‘Cooked by Conrad Gallagher’ include corn-fed chicken and ox-cheek stew.

Despite claims that the range will be available soon, the dishes are not on the shelves just yet.

And neither is the website



 July 26, 2011

The High Court has adjourned a winding up application for companies operating two of chef Conrad Gallagher’s companies until next Friday.

The Revenue Commissioners have petitioned the court to wind up Boutique Restaurants Concepts Limited and Super Potato Limited, which run Salon des Saveurs restaurant in Dublin and Conrad’s Kitchen in Sligo.

Mr Gallagher is not listed as a director of either company, which are in the names of his wife, Candice and his mother, Evelyn, respectively.

The Revenue is seeking the winding up over unpaid taxes.

A statement issued on behalf of Gallagher in response to the Revenue Commissioners’ petition said there was “no question of any monies due not being paid”.

“Boutique Restaurant Concepts and Super Potato take their legal and company requirements extremely seriously,” it said.

“The companies were concerned and surprised to learn of the notice as they had not received any prior notification in relation to the matter. They immediately contacted the relevant authorities to arrange a meeting to resolve the matter.”

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy agreed to a request from lawyers for both sides to adjourn the matter for hearing next Friday.



 July 4, 2011

MIGRANT worker Rishi Mohiputlall was finally paid wages due to him for over a year by celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher today.

The Letterkenny man paid up €1,400 after a public action outside his restaurant Salon des Saveurs on Aungier St. was postponed last Friday lunchtime.

Mr Mohiputlall, from Mauritius, worked in Gallagher’s restaurant for a period in 2010, and had still not been paid.

Following numerous attempts to retrieve his wages, including an official complaint to the Labour Relations Commission, Mr Mohiputlall decided to go public on the issue.

Last Friday’s action was organised by the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum, established by SIPTU and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), to support Mr Mohiputlall in trying to obtain his wages and to draw public attention to such practices in the restaurant industry.

Reacting to the news that Mr Gallagher had transferred wages owed in full to the worker’s account, Mr Mohiputlall said: “I am very happy to finally have received the money I was owed, but I believe it shouldn’t be so difficult to simply get paid your wages. I was very grateful for the support of fellow workers in the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum.

“If workers stand together and support each other, it’s good for all of us and we can stop these types of abuses. These are tough times for low-paid workers and we need to take a stand together.”

Ms Helen Lowry of MRCI told “We are delighted for Rishi that he has finally been paid, however we believe that it should not take over a year of repeated attempts, a legal case at the LRC, and finally the threat of public denunciation to ensure that employers pay their staff their wages.

“This is not an isolated incident – our experience shows that non-compliance in the restaurant industry continues to be a real problem, and must be addressed. This can be done by workers organising collectively for change, joining a trade union, and reporting abuses to the authorities.”

According to Pat Ward of SIPTU: “This experience shows that, now more than ever, we must ensure protections remain in place for low-paid workers who need them most.

“The Restaurant Association of Ireland, who has led recent attacks on workers’ wages and conditions, should spend more of its time trying to get restaurants to comply with existing labour law rather than cut workers’ wages.’ The Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum believes that a successful industry is possible while providing fair and decent conditions for workers.”




Just when he thought things couldn’t get worse for him, Conrad Gallagher now has one of Ireland’s most notorious criminals on his tail.

Gardai have confirmed that Martin ‘The Viper’ Foley was looking for the Letterkenny chef when he entered his restaurant La Stampa last week.

Convicted gangster Foley told cops he was working for a former supplier of Gallagher who he claimed was owed €16,000 by the Donegal businessman.

Conrad, who left South Africa after building up €200,000 in debts, has claimed The Viper wasn’t after him.

“There are several people he could have been in to see,” he said.

But cops say they are satisfied it was Gallagher whom Foley wanted to speak to.


The gangster, who runs a debt recovery agency, was held at the restaurant.

The debt allegedly owed by Gallagher does not relate to his new restaurant The Dining Room at La Stampa which is owned by businessman Louis Murray.

Meanwhile Gallagher has until 1pm today to pay a former employee more than €1,400 in wages which he never got.

Rishi Mohitpulall from Mauritius worked for Gallagher for more than a month but was never paid.

Last Friday the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum planned to protest outside Gallagher’s restaurant Salon Des Saveurs but called off the protest after he agreed to pay the waiter’s wages before 1pm today.




 July 1, 2011

TOP Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher is at the centre of an unpaid wages furore today.

The Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum, established by SIPTU and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), was planningt a lunchtime ‘name and shame action’ today outside Conrad Gallagher’s restaurant, Salon des Saveurs on Aungier St, in support of a worker who is owed wages by the celebrity Donegal chef.

However the protest was postponed – after protestors gave Gallagher until Monday to pay up!

Rishi Mohiputlall, from Mauritius, worked in Mr Gallagher’s well known restaurant for over a month in 2010, and has still not been paid.

Following numerous attempts to retrieve his wages, Mr Mohiputlall took a case under the Payment of Wages Act in the Labour Relations Commission.

His complaint was upheld by the Rights Commissioner who required Mr Gallagher to pay Mr Mohiputlall his wages.

Mr Mohiputlall has still not been paid, two years on.

He told “I have tried every avenue to get my wages from my former employer.

“Today I am saying enough is enough, it is wrong to treat a worker, another human being this way. I did not sign up to work for free, and I am disgusted by the way that I have been treated by Conrad. I worked hard for him, all I want is what is owed to me”.

Mr Mohiputlall continued: “I also want to take a stand so that other workers are encouraged to come forward and report these types of abuses.”

Supporters will join Mr Mohiputlall outside the restaurant next week to show their solidarity if Mr Gallagher refuses to pay by a deadline set for next Monday.

According to MRCI’s Helen Lowry: “Understandably, Rishi wants to be paid for the work he was employed to do in Salon Des Saveurs. As a member of the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum he has asked for support to bring his case to public attention in the hope it will help him secure the money owed to him, but also to highlight such practices in the restaurant industry,”

Ms Lowry added: “Restaurant industry representatives are out there trying to undermine workers’ terms and conditions, when their time would be better spent calling for minimum decent standards for those who cook and serve the food.  Exploitation in the restaurant industry is a real problem, as highlighted by NERA and ourselves.

“This is the real issue that needs urgent attention.”

Pat Ward of SIPTU told us: “This type of non-compliance is shameful, particularly at a time when the restaurant industry is driving an attack on minimum wages and basic protections for workers, while lower-wage workers are struggling to survive. Rishi’s experience shows that, now more than ever, we must ensure protections remain in place for those who need them most.”



 June 28, 2011

A gravy boat load of C-list celebrities have been lined up to appear in Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher’s next TV series!

X Factor singer Wagner, panto queen Twink and even Crystal Swing mum Mary Murray-Burke are being served up by TV3 on the menu of Celebrity Head Chef.

Completing the main course are Apprentice contestant Geraldine O’Callaghan, Wicklow model Kohlin Harris and broadcasting nobody Michael Hayes.

Brazilian ‘singer’ Wagner and Twink are said to be getting on like an oven on fire on the set of the TV kitchen.

A TV3 insider revealed: “Conrad is whipping them into shape and it promises to be a fun series.

“They (the celebs) are there to cook and Conrad will make sure they do. If they can’t stand the heat, they’ll be thrown out of the kitchen.”

Meanwhile the Letterkenny chef has revealed the real reason why he removed paintings by Graham Knuttel from his Dublin restaurant.

It was because of comments made by Knuttel on Facebook about the Donegal man.

Said Conrad: “I used to be a big fan. What ruined it for me was a few weeks back when the IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn got jailed in New York. Graham wrote on Facebook that if he was the editor of a tabloid paper, he would get his staff to ring Conrad Gallagher and ask him what the IMF guy could expect for breakfast in Sing Sing (Correctional Facility)!!”

This was seen by Conrad an unwelcome reference to 2003, when he spent several weeks in a New York jail after being arrested in New York and eventually extradited to Dublin to stand trial for his alleged theft of paintings.

He was subsequently cleared of all charges.

“The next day I decided to take down all Graham’s paintings in La Stampa. Where are they now? I haven’t got a clue,” said Gallagher.



 June 24, 2011

Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher has come off second-best after clashing with artist Graham Knuttel.

The Letterkenny cook ordered staff at his new restaurant venture, The Dining Room at La Stampa Hotel, to remove Knuttel’s paintings.

The chef, 40, said Knuttel’s work was ‘passe’ and wanted them removed.

But Knuttel, whose work is collected by everyone from Robert De Niro to Bono, accused Gallagher of being an idiot.

“Conrad is just an idiot looking for publicity,” he said.

Gallagher rowed back after the row insisting he meant no disrespect to Knuttel.

“Graham is a great artist and I have no personal problem with him whatsoever.

“But they (the paintings) have been hanging around here on the walls for 20 years or so, so it was time for a new look,” he said.

However Knuttel hit back saying Gallagher asked him to draw a painting which featured Gallagher as the centre-piece along with four other great chefs.

“That is the nearest thing he would have ever got to being a great chef,” swiped Knuttel.

The artist said the painting never went ahead as Gallagher never came up with the €5,000 deposit for the work.




 June 14, 2011

HE may have run up debts of hundreds of thousands of euro in his last ventures in South Africa, but tonight top Letterkenny chef opens his THIRD restaurant in Ireland.

And it’s proof – he says – that good chefs can survive in business if they listen to their financial advisers.

The Dining Room at La Stampa Hotel in Dublin, is owned by businessman Louis Murray, but will be fronted by the Donegal chef.

He also runs Salon des Saveurs on Dublin’s Aungier Street, and sister restaurant Conrad’s Kitchen in Sligo.

Conrad insisted today: “I’m surrounded by good chefs and by good finance people. I’m hoping to split myself between the two restaurants, if that works out successfully, that’s great.

“Right now, Salon has a very loyal following but if I see it as a natural draw, that everyone comes here (La Stampa), I will have to address that in the coming months.”

The top chef says good food at value for money prices are the key to success. A three-course lunch at his new eaterie costs €18.95.

“The Conrad Gallagher brand is about value for money — whether you buy a €200 or €26 bottle of house wine. You get the same respect. We treat everybody the same. Barristers or plumbers,” he added.

Starters range from €7 for pea emulsion soup to €12 for caesar salad, mains vary from €14.95 for confit leg of duck pie to €24.95 for seared tuna with a sesame crust and there is a selection of shellfish, salads and steaks.

“It’s going to be a very tough year but I’m ready for it,” said the comeback chef.



 June 13, 2011

ALL top chefs have egos – but it appears the success of Donegal chef Conrad Gallagher has irked a cookery rival.

The big Letterkenny chef was on the guest list for a ‘Taste of Dublin’ event last week to honour Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe fame.

But Conrad failed to show up.

However one chef who did was Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody Country House Hotel….and he was vitriolic in his comments about Gallagher, host of a recent popular TV3 chef show.

Said Dundon: “He (Conrad Gallagher) has had a ridiculous amount of media coverage for a man who has left such a mess around him.

“I don’t understand that and I’ve told him to his face.

“He is a loveable rogue, but right now I am not speaking to him.”

Gallagher has been a huge success again back in Ireland since leaving massive debts behind him in South Africa.

He has two restaurants – one in Dublin and one in Sligo.



 May 30, 2011

SUPER chef Conrad Gallagher is set to return to TV3’s screens within weeks – with a celebrity version of the show.

Last week Cork cook Harry Marquart was crowned the country’s best amateur chef after winning the first Headchef series.

Now Conrad is planning to put some Irish celebrities through their paces in his kitchen.

The Letterkenny man confirmed filming starts shortly.

“We’re shooting it in the next few weeks and it will be on TV for July and August,” said Gallagher.

Meanwhile on the business front the Donegal chef is making some changes.

He has moved his Sligo restaurant from an arts centre to Rockwood Parade in the centre of the town.

He is also opening a brasserie part of his La Stampa restaurant in Dublin. It’s thought he will call it ‘The Dining Room’.



 April 21, 2011

HE has survived a tough US jail, testicular cancer and going bankrupt.

But Letterkenny chef Conrad Gallagher’s latest project would appear to be taking its toll on him.

Television viewers will get a glimpse of the normally calm chef as he cracks under the pressure of TV3 Head Chef reality cooking show tomorrow night.

Gallagher struggles to hold back tears and he rubs his eyes shouting “Jesus Christ” as he in forced to eliminate another contestant from the hit show.

A TV3 spokesman said “Conrad has formed a tight bond with the contestants and each week he finds it extremely difficult to let another potential Head Chef go.

“Conrad saw great potential in, and took a real liking to, the next contestant he eliminates from the competition.”

But Conrad is forced to let his head rule his heart in making his final decision and admits “I can’t go with my heart here, I have to make an educated decision, based on the fact that I have to pick a winner”.

Head Chef episode 3 will be broadcast tomorrow night at 9pm on TV3.