Located in Margate, Prince Edward Island, Shipwright’s Café draws in locals and tourists from around the world. Chef Calvin, with his love for local ingredients and culinary flair, has made Shipwright’s Café a major destination on the Island culinary scene. In many ways Calvin’s return to this area of the Island is very much a homecoming. Being raised just minutes away in the small scenic village of French River, his family has called Prince Edward Island home since 1774. His father was a fisherman and his mother was an exceptional cook, making the Burt household a destination for the relatives “from away” and a inspiration for true Island hospitality. The Seafood was straight off the boat and the vegetables where straight out of the Garden. The inspiration for Shipwright’s.
Listed in Anne Hardy’s ‘Where to Eat in Canada’, Shipwright’s Café reigns within the top 100 restaurants in the country. With its well rounded menu and great ambience, Calvin cooks up a storm in his beautifully restored farmhouse nestled just minutes outside of the town of Kensington, Prince Edward Island.
As proprietor and Chef of the restaurant, Calvin has achieved what most young chefs hope to fulfill in a lifetime, own and operate their own restaurant. Although Chef Burt was only in his twenties when he opened his restaurant, he had quite a journey to get to that stage.
At the age of fifteen, Calvin started cooking at New London Lobster Suppers where he gained his kitchen legs, while doing very high volumes of food service due to the many bus tours that came to the Suppers in the summers. Soon after working at the Lobster Suppers and graduating high school, Calvin attended the Culinary Institute of Canada in the fall of 1988. Here he studied for two years to then graduate in the class of 1990.
Inbetween his two years at the Culinary Institute of Canada, Chef Calvin chose to do his work term in Banff Alberta where he worked for six months in the Canadian Pacific Banff Springs Hotel.
After a successful two years at the Culinary Institute of Canada, Chef Calvin Burt moved on to work at the Canadian Pacific Hotel and Resort Prince Edward located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. After quickly getting settled in, Calvin would continue working at the Prince Edward for ten years. Soon after completing his experience at the Prince Edward, Calvin moved on to the O’Leary Community Hospital for six months, for a look at institution cooking.
In Febuary of 1998 Chef Calvin Burt with his wife Christine Schulze put forth an investment of a lifetime, his own restaurant. Shipwright’s Café was born in Tyne Valley, Prince Edward Island. Being only in his twenties, Chef Calvin Burt began making a name for himself to eventually earn a most predominate reputation. After three years in Tyne Valley, Calvin decided it was time to move to a new location. The historic farmhouse in Margate, just a few minutes outside of the town of Kensington with its beautiful rolling hills became home. Here is where Shipwright’s Café would be re-born.
Once nestled down in Margate, Chef Burt wasted little time in building up his reputation. Serving a contemporary regional menu, Calvin has been able to impress many locals and tourists from around the world. With his main focus being on local foods, Calvin with the help of his family and staff began working on a garden around the restaurant which has become one of the biggest features of the restaurant.
With a contemporary regional menu, Calvin and his talented staff offer products such as Prince Edward Island grown chicken, beef, and lamb, along with the garden’s own fresh herbs and vegetables, supplemented with the help of local organic farmers in the province.
The gardens include items such as beets, potatoes, lettuce and greens, herbs, onions, carrots, swiss chard, zucchini, squash and many more vegetables. With an incredible view over his very own garden and into the rolling hills of the Island, it left the chef trying to decide if he is a cook who gardens or a gardener who cooks.
Shipwright’s offers a very calm and relaxing environment for special occasions or those seeking a great meal with comfort that can exceed even their own home. Currently entering its sixteenth season, Shipwright’s has a remarkable reputation of being one of the top restaurants in Prince Edward Island.
With his successes as the owner and operator of Shipwright’s Café, Chef Calvin Burt has other pastimes for the Winter months of the year while Shipwright’s is closed. Having first achieved his Red Seal certification in the early nineties, Chef Burt has taught the course for young and aspiring chefs in Summerside. You can also find Calvin on Monday night’s at the local Super Store, where he has taught for the past eleven years in their Cooking School. Learning as much as he teaches with such theme nights as Thai and Asian Cooking.
Calvin Burt has also recently joined ACORN “Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network” . His avid interest in local and organic practices find a community with years of farming experience here. Chef Burt has had a strong passion for public awareness in the matters of organic and local foods and hopes to continue sharing information with his guests at his restaurant.