DREAMSCAPES Fall/Winter 2017
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STARBOUND - PEI`S FIREWORKS ARE IN THE OVEN
 
(2017 - Spring/Summer Issue)

Writer: DIANE SLAWYCH



It’s not unusual for a celebrity chef to own a restaurant. Canada’s Michael Smith—best-selling cookbook author and host of Chef Michael’s Kitchen, Chef at Home and Chef Abroad, seen on Food Network Canada—has gone one step further and runs an inn as well.

Two years ago, he and his wife Chastity became the proprietors of Inn at Bay Fortune, a 15-room property with a restaurant billed as “Prince Edward Island’s best-known five-star country inn.”

NEW BEGINNINGS

The new venture is a return to familiar ground for the couple. Michael honed his culinary skills at the Inn for seven years in the 1990s (and hosted his first cooking show here called The Inn Chef) while Chastity welcomed the opportunity to share her Maritime roots.

Together they relaunched the inn with newly decorated rooms, which blend treasured antiques with modern conveniences, and opened FireWorks, a fine dining restaurant with the goal of becoming a leading culinary tourism destination.

Judging by the waiting list, they seem to be succeeding. Open seasonally from May to October, reservations for the restaurant and overnight accommodation are booked months in advance.

AN EPIC DINING EXPERIENCE

When we arrived for what promised to be an “epic interactive dining experience” last summer, a few guests were already milling about on the front lawn admiring the view overlooking beautiful Bay Fortune while sipping cocktails and locally crafted beer. We joined them and sampled a variety of hors d’oeuvres from house-made sausage to smoked salmon, all served from fire stations throughout the property. Inside, chef Michael shucked oysters from the all-you-can-slurp oyster bar while joking with guests.

Almost all the food on the menu is locally sourced and visitors are welcome to explore the grounds, where much of the produce is grown. There are heirloom vegetables in the organic farm, a dizzying variety of herbs popping up in raised beds and a few pigs in an enclosure seemingly too busy munching away on dinner to notice us.

By 7 p.m. we gathered at one of the long communal butcher-block tables for a six-course feast, not far from the 7.6-metre-long wood-burning oven where our meals were cooked. Fresh-baked bread was followed by seafood chowder, seared bluefin tuna, salad and fire-grilled flank steak.

By the time we’d finished dessert—a memorable garden tomato panna cotta—I was wishing I could linger a bit longer and spend the night in this warm, welcoming countryside getaway. Alas, it was full.

Gourmet breakfast is included. And you can’t beat the location—a 10-minute walk from the local beach, close to three award-winning golf courses, 10 minutes from the Magdalen Island ferry and an hour from Charlottetown. Next time I’ll think ahead.

 
 
 
 
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