As the new year begins, we caught up with Seth Riekenbrauck(Class of 2021). A student in the Summer 2020 program, Seth proceeded to complete Level 2 in April 2021, graduating with Honours.
Before enrolling in Stratford Chefs School, Seth obtained a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and spent two years working for the town of Tillsonburg, Ontario and the City of London, Ontario. Although he was interested in botany, 3-D modelling, and municipal law, Seth quickly realized that working in an office was not for him and that he would have to follow his true passion, a career in culinary arts.
Based on a recommendation and detailed description of the program from alumnus Tanner Wituick (Class of 2019), Seth took the opportunity to visit Stratford Chefs School and participate in a Lab Dinner, led by Senior Instructor, Chef Neil Baxter. Seth was blown away by what the students were learning and creating and knew, in that experience, that he had found his school! Eager to jump-start his second career, Seth didn’t want to wait any longer than necessary and decided to enrol in the 2020 Summer Program. Although he considered waiting until October, Seth was without employment at the time and feared he would second guess himself or lose his enthusiasm and motivation if he waited.
After a short delay due to the pandemic, Seth and his six classmates commenced their program on July 6, 2020. In Seth’s opinion, having a smaller class size was a huge benefit. With fewer classmates, Seth stepped up and pushed himself, realizing that there was no one to hide behind if things went wrong. Seth showed up and gave it his all, every single day. The smaller class also meant that Seth was more easily able to develop strong connections with his fellow classmates, industry peers he respects and values to this day.
Seth thrived that summer of 2020 and relished the opportunity to not only develop his craft through Practical Cookery and Pastry classes, but also study Nutrition in InstructorTheresa Albert’s backyard and acquire Wine Education from Sommelier Bob Latham. At the end of every week, Seth had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Baxter to get personal feedback, sage guidance, and unique insight to his future in the culinary industry. Seth showed up daily with passion, commitment, and determination!
Seth went on to complete Level 2 in April 2021. Looking back on his Stratford Chefs School education, Seth notes that going directly into Level 2 from the Summer Program wasone of the most rewarding, yet challenging experiences in his life.
“I believe I put my best foot forward. Balancing kitchen and dining room service, homework, and living alone for the first time was quite the challenge; but my struggles only made making it to the finish line (graduation) that much more rewarding.”
Since graduating, Seth has been working for Chef Brandon Clemens, starting at The Bruce Hotel in Stratford, Ontario and, most recently, at Eden in The Rimrock Resort Hotel, Banff, Alberta. Taking a page from Chef Clemens, Seth has been able to learn many new culinary techniques, styles, and plating methods. In fact, Seth has learned well and had the opportunity this past summer, in Banff, to run a station by himself. In true Seth fashion, he pushed himself every single day and, in the end, was promoted for his efforts.
Seth is extremely happy and challenged at Eden, but looks towards the future with excitement and anticipation. He plans to move back to Ontario, down the road, and continue to work for and learn from top chefs, perhaps taking time to work in a bakery and refine his bread-making skills.
We can’t wait to hear where you travel and what you do next, Seth!
Thanks to your generosity, led by our wonderful anonymous matching Donor, we are thrilled to have surpassed $27,500in our End of Year Fundraising Campaign, which kicked off on Giving Tuesday.
With your support, the Stratford Chefs School will maintain an unparalleled standard in the field of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality. Your donations will support Campus Upgrades, Curriculum Updates, Students, and our Writer in Residence Program. Thank you!
Student Chef DinnersResume January 10, 2023
DINE IN and PICK UP available
As part of their hands-on training, SCS Students prepare and serve innovative multi-course Dinner menus, overseen by their Chef Instructors, for you to enjoy Tuesday through Saturday. There is a unique menu each night.
Our International Inspirations Dinner Series – four course menus inspired by internationally renowned chefs and interpreted by our student chefs – winds up next week, and will be followed by our fun and creative Student Designed Menu Series which begin January 17, 2023.
Summer and Fall 2023 Professional Program Applications Are Now Being Accepted
Are you looking for a career in the culinary industry? Whether you plan to become a Red Seal chef, food photographer, food blogger and writer, business owner, recipe developer, recipe tester, or any one of the dozens of culinary careers that our graduates pursue, Stratford Chefs School is the place to start working towards your goal.
What sets our program apart? Take a moment to hear from Randi Rudner, Stratford Chefs School Program Manager as she describes the unique benefits of our 32-Week Professional Program.
Interested in hearing and seeing more? Book a Campus Tour and explore our Professional Kitchens, Dining Room, and Learning Centre.
“When I decided to be a chef, I made it a goal to pick the best culinary school in the country to build a solid foundation. I chose the Stratford Chefs School, mostly for its reputation for producing talent, for its intense training program, and for the intimate student – teacher ratio. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am in my career without the connections I made and the skills that I learned there.”
Carl Heinrich | Executive Chef and Co-owner, Richmond Station, Toronto | Stratford Chefs School Class of 2005 | Top Chef Canada 2012
“The Stratford Chefs School provides the training to create world-class chefs who are comfortable working in any kitchen environment. Its immersive, approachable, interactive curriculum provided me with the tools and confidence that I needed early on in my career to make the transition from the school setting to the workforce. Perhaps most important to me are the lasting friendships that were made, the ongoing support from the SCS community, and exciting collaborations with other alumni.”
“At the Chefs School, I was given the opportunity to challenge myself, and expand the limits of my culinary skill and knowledge. SCS gave me the ability to trust in my own skill and allowed me to expand my knowledge. Now I confidently pass that skill and knowledge to my students.”
Mel Athulathmudali | Teacher, Strata Montessori | Owner, Chef Mel Catering | Stratford Chefs School Class of 2016
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SCS Favourites: 20 of the Best Stratford Chefs School Recipes You Can Cook at Home!
Stratford Chefs School, Class of 2015
“As a recipient of the Support a Student Chef award I can testify to the value of this program. The bursary I received went a long way toward relieving some of our financial stress. My dream is to one day be a food writer, specifically writing a food blog and hopefully cookbooks. I’m so thankful to have received the Support a Student Chef award; by supporting me through Chefs School. I have been brought that much closer to realizing my goals.”
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.
Our approachable Chef Instructors and Guest Chefs bring diverse experience and culinary backgrounds to our collaborative, real-world learning environment.
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.