Culinary Capers

January 2016| Newsletter

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In This Edition:

Happy New Year!

The Stratford Chefs School is abuzz with upcoming guest chefs and events.

We look forward to having you join us for an exceptionally busy semester.

Our Annual Gala Fundraiser is Quickly Approaching

Sunday February 28th prepare for a night to remember.

The Stratford Chefs School 26th Annual Gala Dinner and Auction at George Restaurant in Toronto, brings together food lovers and school supporters for an evening of superb dinning.

Our students are front and centre at the Gala, behind the scenes preparing the meal, out front serving our patrons in style, and running the Gala Auction throughout the evening.

Alumnus and Chef Instructor Ryan O'Donnell will be at the helm of the kitchen and has developed this year’s menu. O'Donnell, Executive Chef of Mercer Hall in Stratford, is known for his innovative dishes and pride in Perth County products.

Dinner is a four-course meal and although not vegetarian it will showcase the versatility of the humble vegetable. Celebrating the best produce, O’Donnell’s menu will play with textures, colours and flavours, making the vegetable the star of the plate.

Our wine instructor and chefs carefully select wine pairing. Additional beverage partners include The Vine Agency and revel caffè.

Chris Blake, renowned auctioneer will be back holding the gavel. An extensive catalogue of curated auction packages includes distinctive gifts, one-of-a kind experiences, dinners and events. Silent and live auction items are priced for every budget and will be sold throughout the evening.

As a Non-profit educational institution, the Stratford Chefs School relies on fund-raising efforts like the Gala to keep tuition affordable and maintain excellence of training. The Gala accounts for 40% of fund-raised revenue every year.

We thank our returning supporters both individual and corporate who continue to join us for this event— and look forward to having new guests join the Stratford Chefs School community.

Tickets are $500 per person ($300 tax receipt issued) and alumni pricing is available. Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling the school.

Dinner Labs Resume

January 2016 | International Inspirations Series

Experience international chefs' renowned styles, interpreted by our student chefs

$55 per person, wine pairings included

Dinners from Tuesday to Saturday | Seatings start at 6:30pm

Location | The Prune, 151 Albert Street

Tuesday January 12 | waitlist only

Inspired by Gordon Ramsay

Butternut Squash Velouté with Sautéed Cèpes, Scallops, Parmesan Crisp, and Mushroom-White Truffle Tortellini

Seared Loin of Tuna with Poached Veal Fillet and Caper Dressing

Roast Saddle and Leg of Rabbit, Cauliflower, Haricot Blanc and Young Lettuce

Apple Parfait with Honeycomb, Bitter Chocolate and Champagne Foam

Wednesday January 13

Inspired by Atul Kochhar

Stuffed Pappadoms

Goan Fish Croquettes with Cucumber Salad and Tomato Chutney

Peppered Chicken Curry

Almond Lamb Curry

Stir-fried Spinach

Turnips with Ginger and Nigella Seeds

Home-style Lentils


Rich Cashew Nut Ice Cream with Roasted Fruit

Thursday January 14

Inspired by Frank Pabst

Kusshi Oysters with Pickled Vegetables, Cucumber Jelly and Horseradish Foam

Sesame-Crusted Pacific Scallops with Japanese Eggplant

Smoked Black Cod with Beluga Lentils and Beet Straw

Hazelnut Financier with Vanilla Poached Pears

Friday January 15 | waitlist only

Featured JHGWIR Gabrielle Hamilton $85+HST

Braised Octopus with Potatoes

Mustard Greens Salad

Grilled Pigeon on Seeded Toast with Warm Parsley Vinaigrette

Olive Oil Cake with Candied Orange

Saturday January 16

Inspired by: Anne Desjardins

Maple Marinated Trout with Fennel Juice Vinaigrette

Medallions of Fresh Duck Foie Gras with Mead Jelly and Brioche

Arctic Char with Soft Potato Purée and Olive Oil Sauce

Hazelnut Cake with Caramelized Apples and Maple Syrup

Reservations required:

519.271.1414 or

Menus change daily, please check the website for details


Lunches on Friday and Saturday|Seatings start at 11:30

Location| Rene's Bistro, 20 Wellington St.

Enjoy inspired three course menus conceived and created by Level 2 Student Chefs

$30 per person

Friday January 15 | Student Chef Kari Bauman

Bread and Butter

Not Your Average Sushi

Something Like Soup

Just Dessert

Saturday January 16 | Student Chef Amanda Van Brenk

Bacon sourdough with beef dip

Egg's nest salad

Beef with potato purée, jus foam, tarragon glass and pearl onions

Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea

Wines available by the glass or $5 corkage

Location | Rene's Bistro, 20 Wellington St

Gabrielle Hamilton Arrives

You have probably heard it too many times by now, but we are very excited about the arrival of our Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer in Residence, Gabrielle Hamilton.

Chef Hamilton is the chef-owner of Prune restaurant in New York's East Village and was named Best Chef NYC by the James Beard Foundation in 2011.

Launching her Canadian visit on January 11th 2016, Chef Hamilton will be in conversation with fellow JHGWIR and notable author Ian Brown at the Toronto Public Library Appel Salon Series. This event will be held at the Appel Salon in the Toronto Reference Library. Tickets are free but seats must be reserved here.

While in residence at the Stratford Chefs School, Chef Hamilton will work alongside students for three dinners:

Friday January 15 | waitlist only

Thursday January 21|

Saturday January 23 | waitlist only

These exclusive four-course dinners, with wine pairings, are priced at $85.00 plus HST. Reserve your seat by calling the school or visiting our website.

Sunday January 17 | waitlist only

Alumni, students and Richmond Station co-owners, Carl Heinrich and Ryan Donovan will be collaborating with Chef Hamilton at Richmond Station. Serving a four-course meal with wine pairings from Southbrook Vineyards, this sold out event is sure to be a winner. Learn more here.

Canadian Guest Chefs Series

February 2nd we welcome our first Canadian Guest Chef into the kitchen.

Some of Canada's most noted chefs, many of whom are alumni, share their skills and experience with our students while executing an outstanding meal for our diners

Confirmed Chefs include: Ryan Crawford, Arron Carley, Bryan Steele, Sean Collins, Yva Santini, Neil Baxter and Carl Heinrich... to name a few.

Stay tuned for the complete list, dates and menus.

International Chef in Residence Gino Minacapilli arrives in February

Prepare to be transported to Piedmont, Italy! Chef Gino Minacapilli will be joining us February 16th through 20th.

Gino was born Domodossola in northern Italy and grew up in his family-owned restaurant helping out in the kitchen from a very early age. He literally learned traditional Piedmont cuisine on his Grandmother’s knee!

Already sure what his chosen profession would be, Gino earned a Hotel Management diploma by the age of 19. He gained a series of internships in internationally renowned resorts in Italy and, at the age of 24, he was appointed chef and tutor at ICHM (International College of Hotel Management) in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

In 1988, Gino moved to Agliano Terme in the Monferrato, a small spa town in the heart of the Barolo, Barbaresco and truffle-producing area of Piedmont. Agliano Terme was to become his base for the next 25 years.

During his time at the boutique hotel and restaurant Fons Salutis, where he rose to the rank of head chef, he decided to specialize in regional cuisine and wine selection. Gino is now a private chef and consultant.

Gino's menus are posted online here and from what we can make out (written in Italian, of course!) they will be traditional and delicious. Piedmont is known for it's rich dishes and picturesque green hillsides, but the region has recently been cited as Italy's new food capital.

We look forward to seeing Chef Gino's menu come to life. These dinners will sell out. Make reservations while you can.

Level 1 Student Jaclyn Marsh reveals how she feels after completing first semester

Written by Jaclyn Marsh.

With Semester 1 successfully in the books, I am feeling, admittedly, completely exhausted.

Having said that, I also feel exhilarated and utterly amazed at how much I have learned in eight short weeks... Ten if you include the two week prep course.

I am definitely proud of myself for pushing through, keeping organized, and maintaining good grades.

I started with close to zero knowledge and skills, save for what had been self-taught and researched. And yet, I already had the confidence (gained without even really realizing it) to cook continuously for my family for a week over the Christmas holidays.

I cannot exactly pinpoint my favourite thing learned thus far, but in a broad sense I can say that I enjoy knowing how simple certain things can actually be.

Things that seemed too daunting to even attempt (sauce preparation, braising, deep-frying, making confit, butchering whole animals, baking bread from scratch to name a few...) are now easily accomplished!

If I had to highlight one thing I have really enjoyed, even though I find it challenging, it would be making bread and pastries. There is something about the accuracy, science, and meditative kneading that is just so incredibly appealing to me.

My greatest challenge was adapting to the long days, the full, busy schedule, and staying organized enough to complete the necessary readings, assignments and test and exam preparations.

Since I came to the School without any background in restaurants, I challenged myself to learn very quickly. For me pretty much every technique was new - even if I had been cooking with certain methods, I hadn't known what they were called or why they worked. Something that is very beneficial with this course is the fact that we learn the science behind the cooking: the "why", and not just the "how". It allows various techniques to be applied to just about any food....and I guess that is where the creativity can begin.

Next semester, I am looking forward to Gabrielle Hamilton's visit to the school and her instruction in class, as well as the arrivals of the other guest chefs, such as Chef Ryan Crawford from Backhouse in Niagara.

As for my summer work placement, I am leaning towards a local restaurant, but nothing has been solidified as of we'll see!

Thank you for sharing Jaclyn! We look forward to watching your journey continue.

We are Now Accepting Applications for 2016

Are you passionate about a career in the Culinary Arts? Or do you know someone who is looking for the perfect school to hone their skills?

The Stratford Chefs School is now accepting applications for Fall 2016.

Join us to see what it is like before committing.

Meet with the School's Recruitment and Admissions Officer, Robert Friesen. Ask questions about the program, financial aid and life in Stratford.

Train in real restaurant kitchens and dining rooms

Learn some basic practical culinary terms and techniques

Watch our talented chef instructors demonstrate knife skills and food preparations

Take home examples of the kinds of recipes you would learn as a student

Book your personal visit here or contact our recruitment officer Bob Friesen for more details.

Email: or

Call: 519.271.1414

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Ryan Donovan, Nigel Howard, Timothy J. Leonard, Dr. Dennis Nuhn


Dan Donovan, Carl Heinrich, Eleanor Kane, Shelley Windsor, John Wolfe


Terry Manzo


The Compudoc and Switch Wifi


Bustard Chrysler


Cave Spring Cellars, Hidden Bench, Le Sommelier, Malivoire, Rosewood Estates, The Vine Agency


BMO Financial Group

Metcalf Foundation


President's Choice

revel caffè

SAUCIER $1,500+

Sarah & Jason Bandey

Foodland Ontario


David Lester


Claudia Baskerville

Karyn Dirse

Karen Fleming

Hans & Lydia Habegger

Judith Horner & Hammond Bentall

Sharon McKay

Vicki & Max Lass

Vicki & Tim Pritchard

Rheo Thompson Candies Ltd

Susan & David Tamblyn

Sunlife Financial

Barbara Young


Elizabeth Baird

James Chatto
Catherine Galligan

Lighthouse Lemonade Inc.

Sandra & Jim Pitblado


Nancy Allen

Elizabeth Baird

BMO Financial Group

Lynda & David Bowen


Dr. Robert Close

Sandra Collier & Thomas Verny

Carol Duncan

Kathryn Fleming

Gayle & Larry Folliott

Ann Gawman

Eleanor Gow

Paul Hellyer

Allison Howard

Eleanor Kane

Leanne Landers

Ann & John Lang

Michael Lutzmann

Connie & James MacDougall

Gary Miller

Ross & Fran McElroy

Ivey Richard

Chris E. Reed

John Reed

Barbara Schubert

Gordon & Elaine Steed

Lawrence Sweet

Stratford Tourism Alliance

Bertha Thompson

The Hillbrook Group

Stratford Chefs School

The Stratford Chefs School is a world renowned, not-for-profit educational institution. It is now entering its fourth decade training young Canadian chefs through a unique, industry-driven program. Stratford Chefs School is supported by Service Canada and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Charitable No. 119199958 RR0001