Past Dinners

The 9th Celebrity Chef Dinner with Chef Paul Finkelstein – March 2017


In 2004, Finkelstein founded a culinary club inside Stratford Northwestern Secondary School, where he teaches, operating it as an alternative to the cafeteria. In 2011, Finkelstein’s students went to the Governor-General’s Rideau Hall in Ottawa to work with Chef Louis Charest, helping him cook for William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during a royal visit.  Closer to home in Stratford, Finkelstein’s students interact with local farmers and other food producers in addition to visiting celebrity chefs, such as Michael Stadtlander and Jamie Kennedy, who share with them their knowledge and skills.


Chef Finkelstein is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.  In Marchn2017 he received a Meritorious Service Medal from Governor General, David Johnston, to nationally recognize the efforts he has made to improve the relationship kids have with food.

Chef Emma Cardarelli


The Eighth Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

June 2016 with Chef Emma Cardelli (Nora Gray Restaurat, Montreal, QC)

Chef and owner of Nora Gray in Montreal (recently ranked 24th best restaurant in Canada), Cardarelli’s Italian influence and cuisine is garnering her and her team a lot of attention these days. Having worked with the likes of Joe Beef owners Frédéric Morin and David McMillan and later Antonin Bonnet from Paris, Cardarelli’s influence on the food scene in Canada’s great food city is palpable.

The Seventh Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

November 2015:with Chef Rich Francis (District Red, Six Nations)

Chef Joshna Maharaj

The Sixth Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

April 2015 with Chef Joshna Maharaj (Ryerson University, Toronto)

The Fifth Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

October 2014 with Chef Roary MacPherson (Sheraton, St John’s, NFLD)

Chef Christopher Jess and Chef Roary MacPherson

The Wellington Centre for Sustainable Agriculture hosted chef Roary MacPherson from St. John’s Newfoundland. The staff and students from the Food School at the Centre Wellington District High School helped to create a beautiful meal of lobster, crab and cod, while using some longstanding Newfoundland ingredients like hard tac and buckthorn berries. We raised nearly $6,000 at this dinner, it was a huge success!

Chef John Higgins and Food School Students

The Fourth Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

January 2014 with Chef John Higgins (George Brown Chefs School, Toronto, ON)

Chef John Higgins and the crew from Centre Wellington District High School

WCSA hosted Chef John Higgins. He’s cooked for Buckingham Palace, is a judge on Chopped Canada, lead the Canadian Culinary Olympic team and run some of the top hotels in North America. Now the Director of George Brown’s Cooking School, John brought a special flare of Scottish cuisine to our community. Smoked whitefish, coddled eggs, lamb and cranachan left the guests begging for more!

The Third Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

May 2013 with Michael Howell (Tempest, Wolfville, NS)

Chef Michael Howell and the students of CWDHS

Chef Michael Howell, Food School Students

In May 2013, we hosted our first out-of-province chef – Chef Michael Howell of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Putting on a lobster feast and promoting sustainable fisheries in Nova Scotia, the staff and students were blown away by this chef’s passion for Slow Food and beautiful food. An amazing night and $5,000 was raised to help promote good farming amongst our youth!

The Second Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

January 2013 with Zane Caplansky (Caplansky’s Deli, Toronto)

Anita Stewart, Chef Zane Caplansky & Food School Students

Chef Zane Caplansky carving dinner.

In January 2013 WCSA hosted Chef Zane Caplansky of Caplansky Deli in Toronto. This second dinner boasted a take on Zane’s wildly popular menu, smoked meats, BBQ platters, fried foods, all with a hand from the  students at Wellington District Secondary School..

The event was a huge success. Not only raising important funds for the start-up of the student farm program, but also a new relationship with a great food enthusiast for local sustainable food systems. The event raised $5,000 raised to promote good farming amongst our youth!

The First Fergus Celebrity Chef Dinner

May 2012 with Chef Jeff Crump (Bread Bar, Pearl Hospitality, Hamilton)

Chef Jeff Crump, Food School Staff and Students

Chef Jeff Crump and the kitchen crew from CWDHS.

In May 2012, our celebrity guest Chef Jeff Crump, executive chef at The Ancaster Mill and Earth to Table:Bread Bar , put on a spectacular meal with the staff and students at The Food School in Fergus. Jeff’s passion for food of the highest quality has been a guiding force in our province over the years, and indeed he has set a real tone about food integrity in our country. Recently, Jeff, along with his partners, negotiated the development of some very exciting farm opportunities in his area and the WCSA is so pleased that he graced us with his culinary prowess. Jeff also teamed up with his pastry chef in 2009, Bettina Schormann, to put out a beautiful cookbook. Earth to Table lays out in stunning detail, the connections to the land that every great chef must make.



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