Josh Irwin & Emily Rachel welcome you to join them for the quintessential Berkshire experience
Josh started his culinary adventure washing dishes and prepping vegetables for a summer at the Southfield Store when he was 17 years old. Growing up in New York City, he was exposed to the wonders of food at a very young age. Both of his parents loved to cook, and made entertaining guests for dinner parties at their weekend home in the Berkshires a family tradition. While attending the George Washington University, where he graduated with a BA in communications, Josh worked with Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn at Good Stuff Eatery, and with James Beard-recognized Anthony Lombardo at one of DC’s most coveted restaurants, 1789, in Georgetown. He also spent time in San Francisco working as the grill master for Roli Roti, a rotisserie food truck and one of the highlights of the SF Ferry Building Farmers Market. After graduation, Josh decided to fully pursue his culinary talents and moved to Boston where he worked in several restaurants while continuing to learn from talented chefs before deciding that the best way for him to take it to the next level would be to travel. Over the course of the next year, Josh trained in a private residence in Delhi, India, cooking for fashion designer Tauren Tahiliani, riding a motorcycle around Thailand and washing dishes in exchange for cooking lessons from street cooks, and finally crimping dumplings in Shanghai in a noted Soup Dumpling shop. After rejoining Emily back in the states and getting engaged, they decided to start a new venture together and purchased the Cantina.
Emily dove into the work world at the age of 14 when she got her first job working in a wholesale/retail shop in Stockbridge learning the ins and outs of small business at a very young age. Growing up in the Berkshires, she gained experience through a variety of unique Berkshire establishments and was able to explore her creativity and knack for the retail/ restaurant world. Emily graduated from Earlham College with a BA in psychology, after 4 years in the midwest she decided to return to the Berkshires where she had the pleasure of working as the first manager of the original Helsinki Cafe in Great Barrington, as well as keeping her passion for retail alive by merchandising and managing a number small retail shops in and around GB. Continuing her passion for working with people Emily moved to Boston in the late 90’s where she was educated and trained in the spa industry. Working on Newbury Street for years she was surrounded by the restaurant and bar scene giving her some additional perspective to her small town upbringing. When Emily discovered the North Shore of Boston, she knew immediately that she had found the perfect setting to start a family and a business of her own. Emily resided in Marblehead for nearly 12 years and during this time definitely left her mark. She managed to open three separate boutiques representative of her creative, eclectic style (She, Two Girls Shop and Home Love) and co-own a Best of Boston acclaimed restaurant, 5 Corners Kitchen. In 2014, Emily decided to return to the place she was raised, to be closer to her whole family and to give her two children (Julian & Lily) a life filled with family, many of whom reside here in New Marlborough. Emily’s unique style has already proven to excite the community as she looks to create a new atmosphere in the Cantina that will without a doubt leave a memorable mark on all of those that come through its doors. Since moving to the Berkshires, she and Josh have been tirelessly working to make improvements to the property and the restaurant in anticipation of opening Cantina 229. In the meantime, Josh has worked at Nudel in Lenox and withFire Roasted Catering to continue developing his skills and technique. After a hugely successful summer season of Taco Tuesdays, there is no doubt they are ready to bring a bright new light to the town of New Marlborough, where Josh started his culinary career, and re-open the doors of the Cantina, sharing their excitement for food and his eclectic range of “world fare” cuisine.