“…Scott Linkletter, owner of Cows ice cream, joined us for a fabulous meal at Shipwright’s Café, a converted famhouse in Margate. Chef Calvin Burt did a masterful job on the panseared trout, harvesting fresh herbs and side vegetables from his little plot on the rural property…..”

- Saltscapes Jan/Feb 2008 by Marie Nightingale

Les courges. On les voit dans les supermarchés, on les soupèse, on les tâte on les regarde sous tous leurs angles. Après plusieurs secondes de réflexion, on les remet parmi leurs semblables en se disant: la prochaine fois peut-être. Et le manège recommence. Pourtant, les courges, abondantes à ce temps-ci de l’année, sont nourrissantes, faciles à cuire et à apprêter, et très polyvalentes. Elles peuvent se servir de la soupe au dessert. L’imagination est la seule limite. Dans le cadre du Festival de la citrouille, la citrouille étant une courge, La Belle-Alliance a fait un partenariat avec le supermarché Superstore à Summerside pour y tenir une activité de cuisine éducative sure les courges.

Cette activité a eu lieu le mercredi 24 octobre et le chef invité était Calvin Burt du resturant Shipwrights Café, non loin de Clinton sur la route 6. En L’espace de deux heures, il a fail cuire et servi une soupe à la citrouille, un mets d’accompagnement à base de courge, ainsi qu’un dessert et pas n’importe lequel: une crème brûlée à la citrouille. Et oui. En plus, il a montré comment servir une courge spaghetti, et il a donné beaucoup d’information sur les courges en général, sur les façons de les conserver et de les prépare.

Le chef Calvin burt a entre autres donné sa propre recette de soupe à la citrouille. On commence avec une livre de citrouille, une demi-livre de patates et un oignon. On coupe tout cela en cubes et on fait revenir dans le beurre, en commençant par les oignons. Une fois que tout cela a pris un peu de couleur, on ajoute le bouillon de poulet, environ cinq tasses. On porte à ébullition et on réduit le feu pour laisser mijoter jusqu’à ce que le tout soit bien tendre. On réduit en purée au mélangeur. On ajoute au mélange deux tiges de poireau en tranches revenues dans du beurre, et on laisse mijoter au autre cinq minutes. Avant de servir on ajoute de la crème environ une demi-tasse et on sert garni de graines de citrouilles. Les assaisonnements sont simples poivre et sel.

Le mets d’accompagnement qu’il a préparé était très surprenant. Vous prenez une courge d’hiver, vous la faites cuire au four pour qu’elle soit tendre. (Si vous mettez votre courge entière au four, il faut la piquier, sinon, elle explose). Une fois cuite et refroidie, on ouvre la courge et on jette les graines. On réduit la chair en purée, on ajoute du sirop d’érable, on étend dans une moule qui va au four et là, pour surprendre toute la famille, on jette sur le dessus des mini guimauves, assez pour tout recouvrir. « J’ai développé cette recette pour inciter les enfants à manger des courges et des légumes », dit le chef, tout simplement. On enfourne et on laisse au four jusqu’à ce que la préparation soit chaude et que les guimauvres soient dorées. Mmm!….

Lors de l’activité du Festival de la citrouille, même si le chef Calvin Burt ne parle pas le français, on avait prévu un animateur pour traduire les informations et les questions. Cela a très bien fonctionné.

- Courges d’hiver bonnes et pas chères (Jacinthe Laforest La Voix Acadienne – Le 7 novembre 2007)

The Shipwright’s Café occupies an old farmhouse built in the eighteen-eighties in one of the prettiest parts of the Island. Cavin Burt moved here from Tyne Valley several years ago and now has a huge organic garden as well as an extensive fruit-and-vegetable farm. Travellers can’t believe that plain country cooking can be this good. The seafood chowder, made with blue mussels, shrimp, scallop and whitefish, is famous in these parts, but the cream-of-asparagus soup is almost better. Malpèque oysters, mussels, fresh Atlantic salmon and beef tenderloin are the things to look for, as well as a well-known local dish called Mrs. Montgomery’s chicken, stuffed with bread-crumbs laced with summer savoury. The most expensive dish in the place, believe it or not, is the paella with aioli, the rice cooked(for once)exactly as it should be. The breads are all homemade; if you want to sample the oat-bread, have a sandwich for lunch. They also make their own bread pudding and, in September, their own pumpkin pie. There’s a children’s menu too. Just don’t expect quick service. Island people like to move slowly, and think you should too. Prices look high but they always give value for money, and are proud of it.

- Where to eat in Canada (06/07 edition by Anne Hardy) One Star

Somewhere, somehow, somewhen, I am going to be served a better cup of soup than I had last week the evening we visited the Shipwright’s Cafe in Margate. Of course, that will happen in heaven, if I’m lucky enough and the cafeteria there is up to snuff. As far as earthly delights go, though, this tiny Island gem of a restaurant will fill the bill quite nicely. It sits in the rolling countryside in beautiful Margate, between Stanley Bridge and Kensington. It occupies the ground floor of a tastefully restored 1880′s farmhouse, where proprietor and chef Calvin Burt lives with his family. This is fine dining were talking here. For someone like me whose standard restaurant order is a “club sandwich and a Pepsi”, choosing from food this elegantly and carefully prepared takes a great deal of thought and careful consideration – neither of which I’m particularly skilled at. So Earlene and I brought reinforcements in the persons of our friends, Barb and Mary Lou. I figured that way the four of us could order a wise range of items and I could get a nice view of the spectrum of choices. Great plan, wrong group. Three of us ordered the same thing. The place seats about 20 in two beautiful dining rooms which appear to have once been the parlour and the living room of the old farmhouse. Stunning views stream in from every window. Each room was decorated with huge baskets of lilacs and lupins(yes, I know the proper spelling is “lupine”, but the reading teacher in me won’t let me spell it that way). The tables featured fresh daffodils and tulips. Mary Lou ordered the Atlantic Salmon, baked with spring garden vegetables in a paper casing, with potatoes roasted in rosemary oil. The rest of us, after due careful consideration and many and sundry inquiries of our wonderfully patient waitress, Amanda Thompson, managed to each order the tornado of beef Shipwright’s, which is fillets of Island beef with a crushed peppercorn curst, served with a demiglaze of P.E.I.’s Rossignol Pinot Cabernet wine sauce. And then I noticed on the surprising varied – for a small place – menu (seven entrees, eight appetizers and six desserts, as well as a children’s menu), “Island Garden Vegetarian Soup du Yesterday, it always tastes better the next day”.  Now this is a theory I’ve subscribed to for years, so I checked with Amanda about today’s offering. It was cream of carrot with ginger, so I ordered up a cup. As usual, I was the only one at the table ordering an appetizer. As usual, it was more than worth it. After we were served a selection of hot homemade breads, my soup made its appearance. Served in a cute mug, it was piping hot and beautifully presented with tiny blossoms of their own farm-grown mint chives on top. And oh, it was good! It is now my gold standard for soup. I savoured every spoonful, and I tried to make it last a long long time. I was so successful that my companions were beginning to wilt before I finished and Amanda could finally bring our meals. The salmon made a grand entrance in its parchment bag, and when Mary Lou opened it the steamy medley of smells almost made the rest of us wish we had ordered it. But our beef was absolutely wonderful – beautifully cut, tender enough to melt in the mouth, cooked perfectly to our specifications(medium was jut the perfect shade of pink in the centre), and covered by the steaming glorious wine sauce. And the vegetables took one’s breath away. I can tell you that I absolutely despise asparagus but in the service of research I tried a bit of one of the two spears in the many spring vegetables on the plate. Hmmm. Apparently I’ve been eating(or NOT eating) a completely different species all these years. This was even sweet, and I quickly gobbled up the rest. Calvin is a native of French River, Culinary Institute trained (the “old school” at Montgomery Hall, he says with a grin) before an apprenticeship at the Banff Springs Hotel and has been in this spectacular location for four years after initially setting up shop in Tyne Valley. He says he carefully chooses from Island suppliers, relying on Paul Offer and Raymond Loo for much of his produce, and he features many things from his own extensive organic gardens, which patrons are invited to wander. “We try to provide a fine dining experience for all tastes, and we cater to those who appreciate vegetarian dishes”, he said after the meal from his open kitchen and servery. “We’re small enough that we can also look after people with food allergies and sensitivities, as we can substitute for just about any requirement.” For dessert we managed a bit wider assortment than we did for the entrees – Kahlua Bread Pudding, unbelievably light and delicious carrot cake and fresh rhubarb pie. All great, I can attest, after careful negotiation and distraction. As I said this is fine dining, and the fee reflects the quality – $82.09 for Earlene and me, taxes included. But, honestly, it was one of the top 10 meals I’ve ever had (outside our own house, of course, whew), whether it be on P.E.I., in Montreal, San Francisco, New York – any where. And the drive alone on an early summer P.E.I. Evening to this gorgeous area is worth it. Do you have an anniversary or special occasion coming up? You couldn’t do much better than reservations at the Shipwright’s.

- “Heavenly Dining Experience”, Bob Gray, The Guardian Friday June 24, 2005


A mixed but heavenly aroma is the first thing one experiences when walking through the door of The Shipwright’s Café in Margate this week.  The second is the sight of eight eager students watching Chef Calvin Burt’s every move as he details this day’s learning leasson in “Touch of the Classics“ course presented to innkeepers and bed and breakfast operators of Prince Edward Island. And what’s on the menu is not the expected breakfast fare. Instead, the teaching menu for this session of the six-day course, presented by the Bed and Breakfast and Country Inns Association of P.E.I. In co-operation with Tourism P.E.I., is a tasty combo of crystal clear consomme, beef tenderloin with cherry au jus, scalloped potatoes and parsley carrots and more tricks of the chef trade……”They’ve all got really good baking and cooking skills, it’s just a matter of upgrading them a little bit, just putting a little bit of a professional twist on it and it will make all the difference,” says Burt, a Red Seal chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, who flung open the doors to his Shipwright’s kitchen to share his culinary know-how with the participants of both courses. “It’s using some of the professional tricks to get them to go from maybe very small scale cooking like you do at home to the little bit of the professional side of it, which can offer some tricks and tips that can help them.”…

- Tasty Teachings by Mary MacKay April 5th 2003 The Guardian

Shipwright’s has also been reviewed in these other publications:
  • Japanese Tour Guide to Prince Edward Island 2007
  • The Lonely Planet 2007
  • Taste, recipes from Prince Edward Island’s best restaurants
  • with Andrew Sprague,  Nimbus Press, 2006
  • Prince Edward Island Memories
  • written and edited by Laurie Brinklow, Travel Memories Press, 2002
  • “Paradise Road -Eat: Maine to Prince Edward Island, 669 miles” By John Hodgman
  • Men’s Journal (October 2001)