Alumni Feature: Chef Bonnie Kubica

April 19, 2024

Bonnie Kubica, Chef-Owner, BE Catering, Peterborough (Stratford Chefs School Alumni | Class of 1996)

We love keeping in touch with our Alumni and showcasing their success stories! For this feature, we asked Bonnie Kubica (Class of 1996), the Chef and Proprietor of BE Catering in Peterborough, Ontario, a few fun questions about life as a Chef and got a few great tips!

Bonnie is a Graduate with Distinction from Stratford Chefs School, and has a long and storied past with catering in all seasons, in all kinds of locations and is passionate about the sustainability of our food systems.

BE Catering is an award-winning, seasonally and locally-focused catering company, proud to offer food that is made from scratch, healthy and nourishing, while still being fancy and gorgeously presented.

SCS: Bonnie, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

BK: I’m from Peterborough Ontario, and this is my home base for my business. My maternal grandmother was a chef and had her own catering business and restaurant in British Columbia, and where at 16 I travelled out to work for her one summer. She was so hard-working, with a background in mining camp cooking, making comfort food for hard working people. I have a BFA in Photography from Ottawa University, and my eyes were opened to market and ethnic foods. I remember going to Chez Piggy in Kingston one bright summer day, and ate on the patio where grapes were growing. The food was comfort food, focused on seasonality, and that’s when I realized I wanted to learn to cook like this.

SCS: What is your favourite restaurant and why?

BK: I would say Union Restaurant in Toronto: it has a casual old-world feel with genuine bistro food.

SCS: What is your favourite cookbook and why?

BK: I have so many, this is a hard question, but ones I go back to time and time again are the chefs: Yotam Ottolenghi, Anna Jones, Meera Soda and Fuchsia Dunlop.

SCS: What is your guilty pleasure food?

BK: I don’t feel guilty about any food! I would say hotdogs are a favourite, though.

SCS: What food did you think was over-rated until you tried it?

BK: A good roasted chicken. Done properly, it is sublime in its simplicity. I still love and use a version of Marcella Hazan’s Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme, salt pepper and olive oil on the skin. It’s the most amazing, simple, juiciest and flavourful roast chicken. The jus is tinged with beautiful lemon essence, and the thyme (preferably cut fresh from my garden) lends a lovely earthy tone. 

SCS: What is your favourite knife or kitchen tool?

BK: The Microplane. Clouds and clouds of zest or cheese.

SCS: What restaurant dish seemed the most intimidating, but is actually not too difficult to make?

BK: Risotto.

SCS: What’s your favourite ingredient to work with right now?

BK: It’s early Spring, so I’m looking forward to foraging and utilizing with respect, wild leeks.

Alumni Bonnie Kubica's Leek Tarts

SCS: What is a new technique or flavour you are experimenting with currently?

BK: I am delving into Chinese Cookery more and more. Ginger and rhubarb are a couple of ingredients I’m thinking about right now.

SCS: Are there any recipes from your time at Stratford Chefs School that you still use?

BK: I love the French Lemon Tart recipe, and the Chocolate Tart Recipe.

SCS: What is a fond memory from your time at Stratford Chefs School?

BK: I loved my time at Chefs School, the wonder of every day, to be honest, from the food, the wine tastings, my fellow classmates, the instructors, the kitchen environments, labs and most of all the food. Having the honour of cooking the racks of lamb for the main course for the Gala stands out to me, I was so honoured to be asked to be part of that.

Alumni Bonnie Kubica in the Stratford Chefs School kitchen as a student in 1995.

Congratulations to Bonnie on BE Catering’s 26 years in business, making happening food! Check out the website to learn more:

Founded in 1983, Stratford Chefs School is a leading Canadian culinary institution located in Stratford, Ontario with nearly 900 Alumni. The School’s comprehensive training and unique Apprenticeship program emphasizes classical culinary techniques alongside essential business skills, preparing students for success in the evolving culinary industry. The School continually adapts its curriculum to meet modern sustainability practices, maintaining its reputation as a top choice for aspiring chefs.

Photos: Top: BE Catering Leek Tarts; Bottom: Bonnie Kubica at Stratford Chefs School in 1995.

Photos provided by Bonnie Kubica

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