'Squimps*': Exceptional Alternatives • Stratford Chefs School

'Squimps*': Exceptional Alternatives

Written by Jules Faulkner, 2018-19 JHGWIR Student Blogger

It’s difficult to talk about your teachers without sounding like a colossal seat-smoocher, but I’m going to risk it.

One of the things I really love about working with our chef instructors is the amount of effort all of them put into making each dinner exceptional for every guest. Vegetarians, for example, don’t have to smile politely through a token eggplant-parm’ afterthought. Where it’s possible, every effort is made to integrate their needs into the menu the rest of their table is enjoying. Chef Booth is particularly good at this. He’s very creative; actually, all of our teachers are, but Chef Booth has an undercurrent of whimsy that inspires things like “squimps.”*

Squimps (pictured below in process) are pieces of butternut squash, shaped like shrimp so they could be plated the same way as the actual shrimp dish that was on our menu a couple weeks ago. They were a hoot to make, didn’t take long and it seemed like such a simple thing, but I was rather taken aback by how great they looked in the broth all garnished up with micro greens. I guess it’s easy to take the vibrancy of some vegetables’ colours for granted, but it was totally worth the effort to make the composition work. I wish I’d thought to take a photo of the finished dish.


Part of the reason I bring this up is that I’ve noticed the odd comment pop up here and there on the SCS social feeds from people who were wanting to book one of the lab dinners, but didn’t think we could / would accommodate special dietary issues. Please, don’t let that stop you. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, gluten-free, vegetarian or whatever else, as long as we know ahead of time (ideally when you make the reservation), we will do our best to come up with a suitable alternative that’s just as exciting. As challenging as that can sometimes be, it’s good for us to learn and practice this kind of adaptability.


*SQuash + ShrIMPS = squimps

What Sets Stratford Chefs School Apart

Innovative, World-class Program*

Our unique program model is method-based, hands-on, experiential, work-integrated learning, safely adapted to Covid-19 protocols.

High Quality Program*

An enriched, immersive curriculum with exceptional standards and small classes. Collaborative, experiential learning through practical classes, Dinner Labs, and Dinners To Go, with strict adherence to Public Health requirements.

Expert Instructors

Our approachable Chef Instructors and Guest Chefs bring diverse experience and culinary backgrounds to our collaborative, real-world learning environment.

Not-for-Profit Model

Profits are reinvested into our program and facilities; fundraising helps keep tuition costs realistic.


SCS is widely recognized for training cooks who become the best chefs. Our reputation is built on Alumni success stories.


*This Employment Ontario Apprenticeship In-Class Training is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.  


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