But it has also been, historically, a place young cooks are forced to leave in search of better pay and work opportunities. Michael Smith’s FireWorks Feast at the Inn at Bay Fortune is more than just a restaurant. At this beautiful five-star property, nestled on 46 lush acres of riverside land, they are cultivating a sustainable ecosystem for the larger community.
Yes, there is the epic 10-acre farm with its four greenhouses and three happy pigs, where they grow 320 varieties of plants to feed the nightly communal feasts served at long, butcher-block tables.
The restaurant also works closely with foragers and marine botanists to harvest sea and beach vegetables, thereby expanding local foodways that have been previously undervalued.
Then there is the actual fireworks—the 25-foot, brick-lined, wood-burning heart of this outdoor kitchen—over which an atelier of young cooks experience the rare opportunity to learn and reinvent a vast range of old-school cooking techniques seldom used in restaurants.
But perhaps most important, the restaurant is creating an ideal climate for career growth. Instead of just scrambling in and out for the busy tourist season, the well-paid chefs, cooks and other valuable employees who make the farm and Inn go round are coming, staying and putting down roots. By dreaming big and promoting P.E.I. as a serious culinary destination, FireWorks has planted the seeds from which a vibrant hospitality industry can thrive. — ALEXANDRA GILL