Culinary Capers

November 2014 / Newsletter

Stratford Chefs School Team Takes 1st Prize at Taste Canada’s Cook the Books!

On Sunday Oct 19 our team of students presented their assigned recipe from Chef Jason Lynch’s cookbook Straight from the Line, Malaysian Lobster Coconut Curry, to the Canada Cooks the Books judges panel.

On Monday Oct 20 our team was awarded first prize in the competition!

Congratulations to team members Richard Gunn, Katie Ludwig and Angie Mohr.

A special thank you to Chef Instructor Ryan O’Donnell who served as the faculty advisor for the event.

Our Students Win Big

In addition to this impressive trophy the students each won: a 6 quart Kitchen Aid stand mixer in their choice of colour, a paring knife from Henckels, a day in the test kitchen at Maple Leaf Foods and dinner with their Executive Chef, a molecular gastronomy kit, and a chef's jacket. Pretty impressive!

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So You Want to Write a Cookbook?

The Stratford Chefs School is pleased to announce that our 2014 Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer in Residence, Lucy Waverman, will be offering a Writing Workshop in Toronto on Sunday November 30, 2014, from 2-5pm, entitled ‘So You Want to Write a Cookbook?’

As one of Canada's favourite culinary personalities, Lucy Waverman brings her sharp wit and mouth- watering recipes to aspiring home chefs across the country. Lucy's knowledge and expertise as a celebrated author, editor, columnist and teacher highlighted her as a top candidate for the JHGWIR Selection Committee and culminated in her unanimous appointment as this year's Writer in Residence.

Lucy will be in residence with the Stratford Chefs School from November 25th until December 6th, 2014.

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So You Want to Write a Cookbook?

Sunday, Nov. 30th, 2-5pm

2 Bloor St E

Toronto, ON

Presented by: Stratford Chefs School 2014 Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer in Residence Lucy Waverman

Cost: $50 per person

Location: Harper Collins Offices – 2 Bloor Street East, 20th Floor, Toronto (room number to be confirmed)


Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be served

Participants should come prepared with a cookbook idea and a recipe, or a column idea and recipe or an article idea and recipe

Reserve: Space is limited - email to book your space today!

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Student Bio - Mel Athulathmudali

My name is Mel Athulathmudali, I am in my mid 40's with almost 20 years seniority at an airline, and with almost no professional cooking experience at all. I am also a first year student at The Stratford Chef School.

You may wonder how a 46 year old, with years of experience in the airline industry, doing a job he loves, becomes a first year student at Stratford Chef School studying with people less than half his age. Well, this is my story.

It all starts with my parents. They raised their 3 children in Dundas, Ontario, and while doing so, instilled in us a love of food, a thirst for knowledge and above all the confidence to follow our dreams. Since early childhood, my parents shared cooking duties with us and some of my happiest childhood memories are of us in the kitchen together, laughing, talking and cooking. I have always had a passion for food, and while at university, was able to begin exploring it by working for my parents at a small cafe they owned. I also helped at the catering company with which it was associated. It was an adventurous beginning to my culinary journey. I left that behind for a job in the television industry, which was a departure from the kitchen, but allowed me to develop my creative side while learning about business. One summer, after finishing a particularly gruelling shoot, I took some time off to write and decide whether or not I really wanted to do this for the rest of my life. It was at this time that some friends approached me about coming to work for an airline. It would feed my need for travel and change, while giving me the new experiences I so craved in my life. At worst, it would be a chance to travel for free for a summer. I applied, got the job and looked forward to an exciting summer of travel and learning. Well that summer job has lasted for 19 years. During these years, I have had the incredible opportunity to visit nearly every continent on earth, explore the most amazing places, and meet the most amazing people, and have loved every minute of it. I've always been interested in cooking and food, and in my travels I have explored many countries' food cultures and traditions. I love talking to people working in the kitchens of restaurants about their food and why they eat what they do. This is what I consider to be the most important perk of my job.

A couple of years ago, I started hearing about SCS from people as a place I should look at to further my knowledge of food and cooking. I did some research, and found that the SCS was a school whose educational philosophy appealed to me. Here, students are taught more than the mechanics of cooking, they are taught the art of food. I have not been a student for more years than I care to remember, but I decided that to not apply would be denying myself the opportunity to follow my passion. My need to learn and challenge myself was stronger than my fears, so I applied. To my amazement, I got in. I started in October and have not looked back. This school and the people who are involved with it are changing my life and I could not be more grateful.

I am now entering a new phase in my life, one that has no plan, plot or roadmap. I enter it gladly, knowing that the SCS will give me the tools to navigate my future path wherever it may take me.

Photo by Terry Manzo

Meet Alex O'Shea Our 2015 Gala Auction Co-Ordinator!

Alex has had a love affair with food since birth.

Inspired by food's communal nature and healing properties, she has transformed her passion for food into a career.

Alex holds a Masters degree in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University and was recognised by the Ontario Hostelry Institute with a Top 30 Under 30 distinction.

A Toronto native, Alex has over 15 years experience in the culinary industry. She has had the opportunity to work alongside some of Toronto's best chefs, food stylists, producers, caterers and restauranteurs.

Her portfolio also includes several years working with Food Network Canada -- most recently on the acclaimed shows Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada -- while she has also worked in the fields of nutrition counselling, recipe testing and event management.

Since moving to Stratford in the spring of 2014, Alex has immersed herself into the city's rich culinary scene, programming the 2014 Savour Stratford Perth Country Culinary Festival, assisting in community culinary events and working at local establishments.

When not working in the field she loves so much, Alex can be found connecting with local farmers, cooking seasonally in her own kitchen or enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two dogs.

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Congratulations to the Friesen family!

We are happy to share the news that our Recruitment Officer Bob Friesen ('06) and his wife Jess are expecting twins in late April! Everyone is doing well and eagerly anticipating the new arrivals!

Become A Chef!

Choose the School that is perfect for you!

Learn in actual restaurant kitchens, be inspired by working professionals who are in touch with the industry and who will prepare you for its ever-changing needs and trends.

  • Train with our roster of top local, Canadian and International celebrity chefs
  • Work in small groups of 10 to 15
  • Use the finest and freshest ingredients with an emphasis upon local and seasonal foods
  • Expand your knowledge in classical and contemporary cuisine, pastry, food writing, business, restaurant design, wine fundamentals, nutrition and more
  • Graduate into a worldwide network of more than 700 talented alumni working as chefs, cooks, food stylists, cheese-makers, pastry chefs, sommeliers, restaurant owners/managers, caterers, food writers, teachers and more

Call 519-271-1414 now and book your personal visit today.

Thank You to Our 2014 | 2015 Supporters


Ryan Donovan

Nigel Howard

Timothy J. Leonard

Dr. Dennis Nuhn


Dan Donovan

Carl Heinrich

Eleanor Kane

Shelley Windsor

John Wolfe


revel caffè


Terry Manzo


The City of Stratford
The Compudoc and Switch Wifi


Bustard Chrysler


Cave Spring Cellars

Malivoire Wine
Rosewood Estates
The Vine - Rob Groh Agency

13th Street Winery



George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation

TD Financial Group

University of Waterloo Stratford Campus

SOUS CHEF $2500+

David Lester at The Three Houses

Dr. Dennis and Laurie Nuhn
revel caffè
Stratford Perth Community Foundation


Jason and Sarah Bandey

RE/MAX A-B Realty Ltd

James Walt


Jane Cooney
Karen Dirse
David and Jennifer Leaney
Linda MacDonald and Thomas Gray

Ross and Fran McElroy
Patricia McGrath
Ross Morgan

Barbara Schubert
David and Susan Tamblyn
Chip and Barbara Vallis
Dennis Vollmershausen


Elizabeth Baird
Harper Collins Canada

Sandra and Jim Pitblado



Eleanor Kane

James and Connie MacDougall

George Oleske

Hillary Purvis

Michael Stein Don

Bertha Thompson

Barbara Young