Island chef takes home national award
'It's a nice award to win knowing that you are being recognized from your peers across the country'
Island chef Irwin MacKinnon took home the Canadian Culinary Federation's Chef of the Year award at the federation's annual conference held in Charlottetown this week.
The conference brought chefs from across Canada together to learn more about P.E.I's culinary scene.
MacKinnon was voted chef of the year by his colleagues in the industry. He said receiving the award was especially meaningful because he could share it with his friends and family on the Island.
"It's extra special because my wife was in attendance and other family as well," he said.
"It's a nice award to win knowing that you are being recognized from your peers across the country."
Another award for the trophy case
MacKinnon, who's also the president of the Culinary Federation of P.E.I., has worked in the restaurant industry for 35 years, starting his career as a dishwasher and then taking courses at the Culinary Institute of Canada. He said he's travelled throughout Canada and Europe over the years, learning about different cuisine.
He now works as executive chef of Papa Joe's restaurant in Charlottetown.
He's also no stranger to winning awards. MacKinnon won Prince Edward Island chef of the year last year, and is a two-time winner of the Best of Sea.
He attributes his success to the mentorship of local chefs like Hans Anderegg, who is also a past recipient of the award.
"In my acceptance speech, I mentioned the fact that cooking is a passion and you have to do it from the heart," MacKinnon said.
He said he likes to to cook with regional ingredients like mustard pickles or pickled beets.
"Simple, local, fresh. That's how I like to cook," he said.
His favourite thing though is watching people enjoy his meals.
"Whether it's for customers or for family and friends, it's a very enjoyable trade to have and do, and I love it a lot."
MacKinnon said he plans to stay in P.E.I, while continuing to promote the Island's food.
"It's a great chef community here. The people that help me every day are equally as passionate about food and equally deserving of this award," he said.
More P.E.I. News
With files from Brittany Spencer