Alondra Galvez (Class of 2003) has travelled a great distance both personally and professionally in life. Accompanying her along the way were the tastes and memories of her grandmother’s kitchen as a young child growing up in Reynosa, Mexico. At age 11 she moved to Canada and her adopted country gave way to another culture of cooking, but her roots were never far behind her. “I remember the time I was going to be a chef,” says Alondra. “I had started working at the original York Street Kitchen with Susie Palach (Class of 1987) and I just fell in love with the lifestyle. It felt like I was home. I fit in and felt welcome."
At age 18, while working at YSK, Alondra found herself thinking, “Chefs are cool, so I wanted to become a chef and everyone in Stratford at that time was going to Stratford Chefs School.” She enrolled shortly thereafter. When asked what she found special about SCS she says, “The labs were exceptional, hands-on experiences working with food that was so different. Working closely with the instructors, meeting the other students. It’s a lifestyle. You get drawn to each other.”
Stratford Chefs School gave Alondra the confidence to seek out experiences and to move forward in cooking, travel and ultimately in business. Upon graduation Alondra spent three seasons apprenticing at Bijou Restaurantunder original chef co-owners and SCS grads Aaron and Bronwyn Linley (Class of 1996). Travel took Alondra to the far reaches during off seasons, but she always returned. She enjoyed working at The Old Prune for three seasons and spent five years at SCS as the senior service instructor, as well as managing The Bakery at Pazzo.
Now a triumphant new chapter is unfolding for Alondra as the Chef-Owner of the instant hot spot, El Cactus Taco Shop in downtown Stratford. “It’s an amazing new experience, one I’ve always dreamed of,” says Galvez. “I get to bring some of my culture here and share it with the people of Stratford.”
Gracias, Alondra. Stratford is grateful for your return!