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P.E.I. chef’s life-long passion recognized globally

Chef Chris Colburn is photographed at Dalvay by the Sea, where he has worked since 2016.
Chef Chris Colburn is photographed at Dalvay by the Sea, where he has worked since 2016.

Dalvay, P.E.I. – Chris Colburn loves bringing the taste of other countries to mouths of Islanders.

And recently a global travel magazine has honoured the executive chef at Dalvay by the Sea Heritage Inn and Dining Room for his passion.

On Dec. 2, Colburn was recognized for his gifts as a chef on, which also named the Island the culinary capital of Canada. The online travel magazine has over 700,000 unique monthly visitors to its site.

“It’s an honour to be recognized in a positive light. Prince Edward Island’s nutrient rich earth and waters provide us with a bounty of ingredients unmatched in North America. Articles like this certainly help spread the word.”

Colburn was born and raised in Denver, Color., where he majored in biology at the University of Colorado and he has been cooking for over 10 years.

He has cooked and worked at renowned restaurants in Colorado, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Nantucket, Miami and now Prince Edward Island.

Danny Murphy of DP Murphy Inc. hired Colburn in 2016 shortly after he moved to P.E.I. to manage Dalvay by the Sea.

“Working for the DP Murphy organization continues to be a rewarding experience,” said Colburn.

The restaurant has been a summer resort hotel since the 1930s. It is located at the east end of Prince Edward Island National park on Dalvay Beach. The inn and restaurant currently operates from May to late September, offering both accommodations and dining.

Colburn has had the chance to work with many talented chefs, cooks, prep cooks, and dishwashers around the world during his career, including chefs Jeremiah Tower, Bryan Moscatello, Jeff Worster and Susan Handy, but there is nothing quite like cooking in P.E.I. alongside his wife Sous Chef Karen Henry, a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Arts at Holland college in Charlottetown, he said.

Colburn also mentors students studying at the Culinary Institute in Charlottetown and facilitates internships at the restaurant with the college.

Chef Austin Clement, a program manager at the Culinary Institute, says Colburn’s passion and comfort in the kitchen is the true measurement of a chef.

“A true chef is most comfortable in their element and their true element is in that kitchen where the music around you is not the brass section or the drum section, but the pots and pans, the dishwasher and the hustle and bustle.”

He said he agrees that P.E.I. has become the top destination in Canada for food and culture, especially because of Colburn and the Dalvay by the Sea.

“I love Dalvay. It’s like stepping back in time. It’s a very unique place. As you get out of the car and walk across the yard it’s like being put back in another time and you expect to see JFK or somebody on the front lawn mowing. It’s just an amazing experience.”

Colburn is currently on Koh Chang Island in Thailand’s Trat province.

He and his wife have spent the last decade travelling the globe and the food and menus he creates are deeply inspired by these travels.

“My plan for the future is to make Dalvay by the Sea the top dining destination on Prince Edward Island and beyond.”

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