Photo courtesy of Tim Greenway

DAMARISCOTTA — Have you ever craved a healthy comfort food, and at the same time just really wanted a donut?

Join host Cherie Scott at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, as she welcomes Leigh Kellis, the next special guest in Lincoln Theater’s free series “Talking Food in Maine: Intimate Conversations,” which explores Maine’s culinary scene. Come learn the story behind Leigh Kellis, a mother whose craving for something satisfying led to her creation of The Holy Donut in Portland and Scarborough.

With no resources and few skills to open a donut shop, Leigh Kellis started with the means she had. First, Kellis created her donut: made with fresh Maine potatoes, using as many local ingredients as possible, made by hand and cooked in a small fryer four at a time. She made these first batches of donuts in her home on Munjoy Hill in Portland and got local coffee shop Coffee by Design to start selling them — a dozen each day.

By learning, adjusting, and sharing samples, Kellis’ wholesale donut business grew to 40 dozen donuts a week, then to 100 dozen donuts a week. After one year, the business expanded to a retail location on Portland’s Park Avenue. Kellis, her father, and one employee continued to grow the business, all while maintaining the quality Kellis’ homemade potato donut. The following year, Kellis opened another location along with her brother in law, Jeff Buckwalter, on Exchange Street in Portland’s Old Port, and shortly thereafter expanded to their largest location in Scarborough – complete with a drive-through.

Today, The Holy Donut has nearly 80 employees and makes 2 million donuts per year, with rotating flavors including old fashioned, lemonade, Allen’s Coffee Brandy and dark chocolate sea salt – the most popular flavor. The business also offers sweet potato based donuts, seasonal flavors, vegan and gluten free choices, and even donut cakes.

Host Cherie Scott was born in Mumbai but now calls Maine her home. In 2015, she launched her culinary blog,, to share her signature recipes and nostalgic anecdotes of her youth in Mumbai. Cherie recently curated a culinary series on regional Indian cuisine offered exclusively at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School in York. To celebrate Maine’s upcoming bicentennial and gastronomic talent, Cherie launched Mumbai to Maine’s podcast with “Maine’s Bicentennial Food Podcast” — a bi-weekly culinary podcast sponsored by Maine Magazine’s Eat Maine. Each episode showcases Maine’s most creative and accomplished culinary taste-makers, food innovators, cookbook authors and entrepreneurs.

The conversation starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater, located at 2 Theater St. More information on this free event can be found on the Lincoln Theater website,

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