Star chefs grace Stratford Culinary Fest


Dale MacKay, seen here at work at Ayden Kitchen and Bar in Saskatoon, will be among the chefs demonstrating their skills at Stratford’s annual culinary fest. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

Story by Sandra Williams-Herve
Vacay.ca Writer

STRATFORD, ONTARIO — Outstanding chefs and talented musicians are ready to thrill audiences at the Savour Stratford Culinary Festival. The event is taking place this weekend (July 19-20).

“We are pleased to welcome some of Canada’s most exciting chefs to Stratford to share our uniquely Canadian culinary adventure,” said Cathy Rehberg, marketing manager Stratford Tourism Alliance. Rehberg said there could be as many as 30,000 people visiting Stratford to sip, sample and savour all the treats during the culinary festival.

There are several reasons why this is the perfect opportunity for you to get out to Stratford and taste the flavours of Southern Ontario.

Celebrated Chefs

On July 19, join chefs Dale MacKay (Ayden in Saskatoon) and Derek Dammann (Maison Publique in Montreal) as they put on a show at the GE Café Chef Series. Both of their restaurants ranked in the top 10 of the recently released 2014 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide.

The two chefs promise to amaze you with their five-course demonstration-style class. This is a rare opportunity to meet and interact with two of Canada’s most respected chefs. On the menu will be the best of Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec cuisine.

Speaking of Celebrated Chefs … and Restaurants

Many great chefs who have worked in Stratford have gone on to do great things across the country, including Stratford Chefs School graduates James Walt of famed Araxi (No. 42 on Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants list), Rich Francis of District Red in Six Nations, Ontario, and Carl Heinrich, winner of Top Chef Season Two and owner of Richmond Station in Toronto.


Craft Beer & Wine Pavilion, on tap Saturday, will feature a tantalizing assortment of cocktails created by local mixologists. Visit the Taste of Ontario Artisan Alley to discover new and favoured bottles from across the province. The event promises to be an illuminating afternoon of tasting and testing from a wide selection of leading Ontario brewers, winemakers, distillers and cider producers. Admission to this event is free and sample tickets can be purchased for a $1 each.

Great for Kids

Hear the sounds of laughter from children throughout the day at JENN & Larry’s Emporium of Wonders. This is an amazing addition to the annual festival that’s not to be missed if you have a child, or are a child at heart. Expect to be entertained by the action-packed spectacle that takes place under a multitude of tents. Challenge your threshold for all things icky by devouring a bug feast with chef Jeff Stewart and discover just how tasty an Earth Sundae can be. All the workshops, shows and events are free, and will run from 10 am to 3 pm.

Check out the Kids Tent for more information.

Groove to Some Tunes

Live entertainment will be available throughout the weekend, including Lara MacMillan, Beside The Box, Poynter & Payne, George Meanwell and Lindsey Burns & The Lonelies.

Grand Tasting

One of the biggest events will be The Grand Tasting on Sunday afternoon. It will take place near York Street. Thirty local chefs will work with local food producers and farmers to create magic. Jazz vocalist Ori Dagan and the Riley O’Connor Trio will perform. Tickets for this event are $100 VIP, $75 general admission.

Sandra Williams-Hervé is a writer, actress, and producer who divides her time between Toronto, Canada and Paris, France. She was bitten by the wanderlust bug early in life and has visited just about every continent. After growing up in Ontario, she hopes to visit all of Canada’s diverse provinces.

Leave a Reply