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Spring Gala is final assignment for Stratford Chef School students

It will be the final big project for the class of 2024, who will wrap up their studies at the beginning of March
Elora Mill is the venue for the class of 2024 Spring Gala, with a multi-course dinner and auction.

The countdown is on for Stratford Chefs School’s elegant spring gala.

Hosted at Elora Mill, the event commemorates the class of 2024 with a multi-course dinner and auction.

The event marks SCS’s 40th anniversary and celebrates its graduating class.

“It's an event that has a lot of history with the chefs school,” said Kim Cosgrove, executive director of Stratford Chefs School.

Entering its 27th non-consecutive year, the gala has taken place at various venues in Toronto and Stratford. The school settled on Elora Mill because it’s located an hour away from both cities. 

“We have a lot of alumni connections there,” explained Cosgrove. “Also, we have our main support bases in Toronto and Stratford, so Elora is nicely halfway between those two.”

Cosgrove added that Elora Mill offers a stunning setting to match the upscale event.

“The venue is an experience unto itself,” she said.

Stratford Chef School has organized a bus service to make it easier for Stratford residents to attend the gala without needing to make the round-trip drive or spend the night in Elora. 

It will be the final big project for the class of 2024, who will wrap up their studies at the beginning of March. Led by Randi Rudner and the chef instructor team, the students will put on a multi-course dinner for gala attendees.

“The students spend the week beforehand prepping the menu,” said Cosgrove. “Then they divide up into teams at the event and take part in making each of the courses as a team.”

Guests can expect to enjoy dishes like leek terrine with black winter truffle and 48-hour braised beef short rib, along with sips from event sponsors Nicholas Pearce Wines and Elora Brewing Company.

“The menu is designed by the instructors with input from the students,” said Cosgrove.

Starting things off is bubbly and hors d’oeuvres curated by alum chef Ryan Crawford of Ruffino’s Pasta Bar and Grill, in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

The gala will includes a live auction with prizes geared towards food lovers.

“It’s mostly experiential, hospitality-based items,” said Cosgrove. 

Toronto’s Richmond Station, helmed by SCS alums Ryan Donovan and Carl Heinrich, will auction off a private five-course dinner for eight cooked at the winner’s home.

Other auction items include a two-night stay, dinner for two and private wine tasting at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s acclaimed restaurant Pearl Morissette, which is led by SCS alum chef Eric Robertson.

“Our clientele generally tend to be looking for great food experiences and we very luckily have access to those things,” said Cosgrove. 

Cosgrove noted that students will be on the floor at food stations during the beginning of the reception, preparing hors d’oeuvres before guests’ eyes and chatting with event attendees. 

“One of our students’ favourite things is working at the dinners and interacting with the clients,” she said. “So we like to carry that through to our formal events.”

For more info and to book your tickets, head here.

Stratford Chef School class of '24. Photo courtesy of Terry Manzo