Knowing at a very young age that cooking was what he wished to do, Irwin became employed as a dishwasher and prep cook at the Bonnie Brae Restaurant in Cornwall. Immediately following high school graduation, Irwin enrolled in the 2-year Professional Cook Program at the Culinary Institute of Canada. Being eager to learn and hungry for experience, Irwin sought employment in Europe and was successful. He first worked at the Hotel Bellevue in Luzern, Switzerland in the position of Saucier. From Switzerland, he moved on to Hannover, Germany where he worked at Shue’s Restaurant in the Hotel Schweizerhof, a Michelin Star-Rated restaurant. After 2 years in Europe, Irwin returned to PEI and once again, to the Bonnie Brae Restaurant. Shortly thereafter, he accepted the position of Chef at Joseph’s Restaurant in Charlottetown. After 10 years at Joseph’s, Irwin and many other Josephs’ staff moved to Papa Joe’s Restaurant, a sister restaurant. Irwin has worked with the Jabbour family for 24 years.
Irwin has been a member of the Canadian Culinary Federation since 1992. Since joining the CCFCC, he has been an active member involved in many events – both locally and nationally. Irwin has been a member of Culinary Team PEI on 7 different occasions. In addition to competing, he has judged numerous provincial and regional CCFCC sanctioned competitions. Irwin is currently the president of the Prince Edward Island Association of Chefs and Cooks.
Irwin is an Island-born chef who enjoys cooking regional cuisine using available local ingredients concentrating on flavour and presentation. Irwin’s many years of experience and work ethic is respected by his peers. He continues to be committed and actively supports the culinary profession. He is also recognized by local farmers, producers and artisans using Island products extensively throughout his menus. He resides in New Haven, PEI with his wife and four children.
Irwin was Best of Sea Chique Chef of the Year 2016 and Semi Finalist 2016 Garland International Chef’s Challenge.
“I am very fortunate to be a chef on Prince Edward Island to be able to work with such a large variety of seafood and endless other fresh ingredients to pair with it.”
~ Chef Irwin MacKinnon