Fireworks Feast: from fine dining to gourmet picnics
"We had built our business with the goal of bringing strangers from around the world together, to sit shoulder to shoulder at feast tables, and share a memorable meal," says Chef Michael. “[In 2020], we went from providing this unique fine dining experience to, essentially, a high volume take-out model. That's quite a pivot."
How does a unique dining experience in Eastern PEI, which famously celebrates the communal aspect of a feast, learn to adapt when COVID-19 restrictions necessitate a new approach to social gathering? Fireworks Feast, part of the Inn at Bay Fortune and Inn at Fortune Bridge family of visitor destinations, was one of many popular summer experiences hit by the hard reality of a pandemic.
Chastity and Chef Michael Smith had spent years meticulously curating the ultimate maritime feast experience in beautiful Rollo Bay. "We had built our business with the goal of bringing strangers from around the world together, to sit shoulder to shoulder at feast tables, and share a memorable meal," says Chef Michael. “[In 2020], we went from providing this unique fine dining experience to, essentially, a high volume take-out model. That's quite a pivot."
The new Fireworks picnic baskets became a hit. With the iconic feast tables temporarily stowed away, and rigid safety measures in place to keep staff and customers comfortable, patrons were still able to embrace the quiet intimacy of the properties. A scrumptious, locally sourced breakfast could now be brought to your room, or you could dine outside on the expansive grounds where many of the ingredients are grown.
Chef Michael notes, "All of our decisions were made first and foremost from the standpoint of our team's safety. ACOA's support allowed us to stabilize and ensure our staff was taken care of, so we could keep the business open and bring something valuable to our visitors.” In an otherwise challenging year, local patrons were grateful for an opportunity to celebrate the bounty and culinary creativity inspired by the Island.
Soon, Fireworks will be able to return to the communal experience that made it famous. In the meantime, the owners are busy preparing for the 2021 season, and may even have some new ideas cooking for the near future. They thank the local community and the federal government’s small business programs for giving Fireworks the life it needed as we wait for the province's doors to open to the rest of the country and beyond.
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