Stratford Life

Stratford Chefs School: The Ideal Place to Train in the Culinary Arts

More than just Canada’s premiere culinary school, Stratford Chefs School offers an unparalleled learning environment. Our state-of-the-art facilities and acclaimed instructors will provide you with the skills and expertise to excel. Our location in the heart of Stratford, Ontario makes us truly unique.

Surrounded by rolling countryside and charming Victorian architecture, Stratford fosters creativity and passion. As a student, you’ll hone your talents in the kitchen, and find inspiration outside the classroom. 

Stratford Ontario

Historic Downtown Stratford (Photo courtesy of Air Canada EnRoute)

Immerse yourself in Stratford’s food culture with visits to farmers’ markets, artisanal food shops, and fine restaurants. Connect with local chefs at Stratford’s lively cafes, bars and brew-pubs.

The friendly staff at Stratford Chefs School provides incoming students with the School’s curated Rental Accommodation list to help them find suitable housing.

‘‘We are all incredibly proud of Stratford and its unique appeal to visitors from all over the world. Local businesses, events, and cultural institutions set a high bar in special experiences, customer service, and entrepreneurial ingenuity that results in huge benefits to the local economy, jobs, and the social fabric of our city.”

-Carrie Wreford, Co-Owner Bradshaws & Kitchen Detail | Past Board Chair, Stratford Tourism Alliance

Stratford Bridge

Stratford’s natural beauty (Photo courtesy of Destination Stratford)

What Is Stratford Like?

Stratford is a small city of 32,000 about an hour and a half west of Toronto, best known for its four cultural pillars; theatre, food, art and music.

Situated in Perth County, Stratford is surrounded by some of Canada’s most productive 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 the winter the city is just as pretty, with snow glittering from church spires and treetops.

The Stratford Festival, established in 1953, transformed the former railway town into a magnet for artists, writers, performers and musicians. A cultural haven, Stratford was an obvious place to establish the Stratford Chefs School in 1983, which in turn attracted, and graduated, some of the country’s best chefs and hospitality professionals. It is no surprise that a large number of visitors make an annual pilgrimage to Stratford for theatre and culinary experiences that rival the best on the continent.

Stratford Festival Theatre and Arthur Meighen Gardens

Stratford Arts

Stratford Chefs School’s Long Table Dinner event in 2017 took place in Market Square outside the historic City Hall in downtown Stratford.


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, a public library, galleries, book stores, spas, cafes, breweries, banks, and of course, restaurants, lively bars, and food shops.

A highlight of the winter season in Stratford are the Chefs School student-led Dinners for the public that run Tuesday through Saturday evenings from late October through late February.

Stratford Chefs School
Dinner Service Stratford Chef School

Student Chefs prepare and serve Prix Fixe Dinners for the public as part of their training at Stratford Chefs School.


For art aficionados, the city offers a number of commercial galleries and studios. Gallery StratfordAgora GalleryGallery 96, and Village Studios exhibit works year-round by visiting and local artists. During the theatre season Art-in-the-Park is a regular feature adjacent to the Avon River.

Stratford’s historic neighbourhoods feature numerous well-preserved Victorian houses, many of which become winter residences for Chefs School students and Bed & Breakfasts during the summer theatre season.

Perth County is home to a wide variety of farmers’ markets and artisan food producers, many of whom have long-standing relationships with the Chefs School.


Stratford restaurants are popular spots for winding down after a long day, or for rubbing shoulders with the theatre community after a performance. Many popular restaurants in the city have Chefs or owners who are Stratford Chefs School graduates.

For music fans, a variety of live concert events, from large to small, happen throughout the year. Stratford is home to Stratford Summer Music, a 6-week summer festival, and the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, which performs an annual season of concerts from fall through early spring. As well, Stratford has an active chamber music group called InnerChamber, a Music and Opera Appreciation Society, and the Stratford Concert Choir, among others. 

The night-life is vibrant in Stratford with downtown hotspots such as The Starlight and The Relic Lobby Bar offering cocktails, a friendly vibe and often live music, too. Stratford is also the home of pop star Justin Bieber; the Stratford-Perth Museum offers an exhibit that highlights his ‘steps to stardom.’

Stratford Art in the Park

Art-in-the-Park, Stratford

The Relic Lobby Bar, Stratford

Maestro William Rowson Stratford

Maestro William Rowson conducts the Stratford Symphony Orchestra

Table Reservation