Do I need to be registered with the government as an apprentice before entering the program?
No. A representative from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will be present at Orientation Day to formalize an apprenticeship contract for each student.
Provincial requirements for registering as an apprentice are as follows:
- Government issued photo ID
- Social Insurance Number
- Proof of High School completion
- Ontario based address
- $40 registration fee
If you are already a registered apprentice, you will receive a new apprenticeship number and any apprenticeship hours you have already accumulated will be transferred.
The apprenticeship ID# will remain the same; MTCU will re-register you to a new sponsor group so that they can oversee your training and apprenticeship. Any skills that have been accumulated in your Training Standard book while under a previous Training Agreement with another sponsor would be valid.
How long is the program?
The program is divided into two levels. Level 1 runs for 16 weeks, from October through February. After completing Level 1, students are responsible for securing their own apprenticeship job placements from April to October, before returning to complete Level 2, which runs for 16 weeks, October through February. Graduation ceremonies take place in June.
Does the school help students obtain apprenticeship job placements in between Level 1 and 2?
Apprentices must secure their own placement, but the school is happy to help whenever it can.
The Stratford Chefs School will also provide guidance if a student is interested in what’s known as a stage opportunity. A stage allows a student to gain unpaid work experience under chefs in the kitchens of well-known restaurants. Our students have staged across Canada and in France, New York and California.
How many students are enrolled each year?
The School accommodates at most 74 students, with about 37 students in each level.
What is the age range of students?
Our youngest students are 18. Some attend immediately after post-secondary education. Others join us at older ages when they are looking to make a career change.
Does the school provide accomodation?
The School prepares a list of rental accommodations in Stratford who are interested in renting to students. Students must find and arrange their own accommodations.
Where have your graduates worked?
Our graduates have worked in many of the world’s top restaurants: The Prune (Stratford), Rundles (Stratford), Scaramouche (Toronto), Eigensinn Farms (Singhampton, Ont.), Nota Bene (Toronto), Araxi (Whistler, B.C.) Café Paradiso (Cork, Ireland), Oliveto (Oakland, California), Daniel Boulud (New York City) and others. Many of our graduates have opened their own restaurants or catering companies, and others work as sommeliers, consultants, food stylists, product developers and teachers.
If you are interested in speaking to a graduate, please contact us and we will try to find a graduate in your community.
Are there tours of the school?
Can you describe a typical day at the school?
In Level 1, Practical Cookery classes take place from 8:15am to 12:15pm. Theory classes run from 1:30 to 4:45pm. Practical Cookery and Restaurant Labs are held in the evenings from 5:30 to 9:30pm.
Can I work while I attend school?
There’s no rule against it, but the time commitment for our program – classes, lab work and assignments – would make outside work very difficult to take on. While attending School, students may be eligible for employment insurance and a representative from Human Resources Development Canada is available on Orientation Day to assist with applications. It is not possible to work and receive EI payments.
Do you offer part-time courses or courses in just pastry or food styling?
We offer only the full-time program; part-time courses are not available. Pastry, Pastry Theory and Food Styling courses are important parts of the curriculum but are not offered separately.
What is the history of the Stratford Chefs School?
Since 1983 when we opened, we have been setting the standard of excellence in culinary training in Canada. The School is unique – it is the only culinary institute in the country that is operated by working restaurant professionals. That’s why our curriculum is current and relevant – we keep in step with changing market developments in the restaurant industry.
What is Stratford like?
Stratford is a small city of 30,000, about an hour and a half west of Toronto. It’s known for its world-class theatre and its culinary excellence makes it a destination for food lovers from around the world.
Stratford, only a few hours from the Niagara wine region, is surrounded by some of Canada's most productive and lovely farmland. Crowned in 1997 by Nations in Bloom as “the prettiest city in the world,” Stratford straddles the Avon River and is named for Stratford-upon-Avon, England, birthplace of William Shakespeare. In winter the city is just as pretty, with snow glittering from church spires and treetops.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, established in 1953, transformed this former railway town into a magnet for artists and writers, academics and journalists.
A cultural haven, Stratford was an obvious place to establish the Stratford Chefs School, which has in turn attracted some of the country's finest chefs and food service specialists.
It’s no surprise that a large number of visitors make an annual pilgrimage to Stratford for theatre and restaurants that rival the best on the continent.
One of the city’s greatest charms is its leisurely pace. Stratford is a city in name only — in truth it’s a rarity: a rural town with a vibrant cultural core. Its historic downtown, organized around a Victorian City Hall, offers a surprising array of unique boutiques, professional offices, book stores, a public library, banks, galleries, bars, hair salons and, of course, food venues.
- For art aficionados, the city offers a number of commercial galleries and studios. Gallery Stratford and Gallery 96 both exhibit works year round by visiting and local artists. During the theatre season an outdoor art exhibit is a regular feature in a park adjacent to the river
- Stratford's historic neighborhoods feature many well-preserved Victorian houses, some of which become winter residences for Stratford Chefs School students
- The area surrounding Stratford is home to farmers' markets and artisan food producers, many of whom are direct suppliers to the School
- Stratford bars and pubs are popular spots for winding down after a long day or for rubbing shoulders with the theatre community after a performance
- After theatre season ends, many performers give their time and talents to fun charity events on winter evenings
- For music fans, a variety of venues around town feature jazz, folk, blues or chamber music, with local or visiting musicians and singers
- Regular movies at the Stratford Cinema are complemented by a monthly film series hosted by Gallery Stratford, which also offers courses in art and photography as well as a free lecture series
- One of the highlights of winter in Stratford is the Chefs School Dinners and Lunches
SPORTS & OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
- Cross-country skiing
- Golf, curling and hockey at Stratford's Country Club and arena
- Pilates, yoga, step and weight-training at variety of other downtown fitness centres