The SCS Alumni Project | July 1, 2021 • Stratford Chefs School

The SCS Alumni Project | July 1, 2021

Introducing The SCS Alumni Project | Profile: Kelly Ballantyne

Everyone knows Kelly Ballantyne of Stratford’s very own Sirkel Foods, but some may not know that Kelly is a member of SCS’s Graduating Class of 2000!
After teenage stints at RJ’s Diner and York Street Kitchen, Kelly was pulled, almost by accident, into a career in the culinary arts, attending Stratford Chefs School for her formal, culinary training.  
What Kelly enjoyed most about attending Stratford Chefs School was that she could pursue her culinary education during the winter “off season” without giving up her ability to work during the busy summer season. She viewed SCS as her ticket out of Stratford and on to her best new life in Toronto; however, working for SCS Alumna Ruth Klahsen in the kitchen at the Stratford Festivals Green Room gave her a chance to meet many actors and see many productions. She loved the job and stayed in town. Toronto’s loss was Stratford’s gain!
Sirkel Foods began in 2005 at the International Grounds space in what is now The Nancy Campbell Institute and moved into its current location at 40 Wellington Street in 2007.
Much of Sirkel’s success can be attributed to Kelly always being present. “If we’re open, I’m here!” is her motto. Kelly has also developed a winning formula at Sirkel with an emphasis on key points of customer service, fresh, quality, fast and friendly.
Kelly has always supported her community through causes such as United Way, Shelter Link, Operation Smile and through their Donation Days with proceeds generated from their Donationwich.  One dollar from every curated sandwich is donated to charity. Community has always been central to Kelly and to Sirkel’s values. Catering to locals first is key to Kelly’s success and her valued status within our Stratford community. Bravo Kelly!
Are you thinking about a career in the culinary arts? Contact Jeff Leney at for more information.

Photo: Terry Manzo



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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.

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

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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.

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