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May 2011
The C.W. Kitchen Garden Project

This week we are launching our buy a brick campaign. By purchasing a brick, you will be ensuring that our vegetable garden plans are fully realized. Designed to replicate the English country kitchen garden, the C.W. kitchen garden will be outlined with brick pathways that are meant to, both, encourage curious students to enter the garden, and to present what we believe will be our long-term commitment to this, our first edible garden at C.W.D.H.S.

The concept is simple. Purchase one of the bricks outlined below and you’ll receive sponsorship status on a plaque outside the garden.

pathway brick 25.00
granite stone 50.00
flagstone 100.00

With all purchases/donations to this project you will receive a tax receipt. Please make cheques payable to C.W. Learning Foundation and include your address so we can mail you your receipt.

April 2011
C.W. Kitchen Garden Project

Join us for a chicken dinner and dance at the Elora Legion, Thursday, May 19th at 6:30pm. We’ll be raising funds for our new kitchen garden at the school and eating some fine dinner. $25 will get you a 3 course meal (adult sized) and $15 will get you a 2 course kids meal version (under 12 years old sized). The legion will have a cash bar available, so come and have dinner with us while we raise funds to grow food at our school!!

Tickets can be purchased at Sante health food store in Elora, The Fountain Head health food store in Fergus, or by coming to our Cafe La Ruche at the high school.

Janurary 2011

Slow Food Canadian Youth Terra Madre

Slow Food Canadian Youth Terra Madre January Update
(Please check back on the first of each month further updates!)

Greetings Canada’s Slow Food Convivia!

The Screaming Avocado Café and Slow Food Perth County are reaching out to encourage Canadian Slow Food convivia to recruit groups of youth participants from their communities to bring to the Slow Food Canadian Youth Terra Madre. This inaugural meeting of young food enthusiasts will be taking place on May 3rd and 4th, 2011. The event will take place at McCully’s Hill Farm (located between St. Mary’s and Stratford, Ontario), and will entail one evening of camping and two days of programming. The age range for participation is 15 to 17 years old.

Event programming includes cooking and gardening demonstrations, discussion forums, and taste education workshops. Participants can include school groups and/or community-based youth groups. Total youth participants will be capped at 200.

Youth will not be able to attend without being part of a chaperoned group. Based on the age group of the attendees there will be a zero-tolerance policy in place for smoking, drinking or consumption of drugs. Individuals wishing to attend must apply – the registration package will be made available to convivium leaders in the very near future.

The cost per participant is $50 for the two days, which includes camping fee, lunch and dinner on May 2nd and breakfast and lunch on May 3rd. There will be a $20 discount for members of groups who are willing to supply food for the meals – more information on this will be provided in the registration package.

Each participant must bring:
– Their own eating utensils, plate/bowl and water bottle
– Snacks
– Tent and sleeping bag
– Waste disposal materials (all participants/groups are responsible for collecting and removing all of their own waste from the site)
– Suitable clothing and footwear (the event is rain or shine)

– Washroom facilities will be available, but no showers.
– At this point, all groups are responsible for their own transportation to and from the site. However, if we are able to find a sponsor to support transportation the opportunity will be extended as appropriate. (Hint, Hint: any sponsor ideas? Let us know…)

P.S. keep feeding the Slow Fish in the corner – they’re always hungry.

October 2010

This year The Food School is pleased to be offering a fully operational breakfast program at CW. Established and managed by Chef DeBeyer, this program works to offer food to hungry students who might otherwise not be able to buy any food. Working with funds from a variety of organizations, the student food voucher allows for a free, dignity-based form of food acquisition and responds to the gap that’s found around student learning and nutritional requirements for learning.

For more information, please see our page dedicated to the Breakfast Program.

‘The snail’, writes Ivan Illich, ‘constructs the delicate architecture of its shell by adding ever increasing spirals one after the other, but then it abruptly stops and winds back in the reverse direction. In fact, just one additional larger spiral would make the shell sixteen times bigger. Instead of being beneficial, it would overload the snail. Any increase in the snail’s productivity would only be used to offset the difficulties created by the enlargement of the shell beyond its preordained limits. Once the limit to increasing spiral size has been reached, the problems of excessive growth multiply exponentially, while the snail’ s biological capability, in the best of cases, can only show linear growth and increase arithmetically’.

Slow Food Elora Dinner
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 – 7pm
Cork Restaurant * 146 Metcalf Street, Elora, Ontario N0B 1S0, Canada * 519-846-8880

With fall comes a celebration of the harvest and Slow Food Elora would like to invite you to our first dinner of the year.

To be held at Cork Restaurant, Chef Brian Mcleod will dazzle us with his Slow Food inspired meal with wine pairings from some of Ontario’s finest wineries.

As well this year, Slow Food Elora is pleased to be teaming up with The Food School for some exciting new developments. A Slow Food Elora scholarship for a deserving student, as well as a subsidized Slow Food youth memberships, this new union will prove to be a long standing relationship between the work that Slow Food does and students coming out of The Food School.

Cost: 50.00 per person – 75.00 with wine pairings
Menu: 4 course

To access tickets, please phone or email Cork Restaurant

Space is limited to 30, so secure yours today!

Taste Real Event – Guelph Wellington

Getting the Food School up and running with a great local food/chefs event is a stellar way to set the tone for the year ahead. Check out these details and pass them along. This should be a great event!

Food School Partners with 2 Organic Vegetable Farms
April 19, 2010

Jess and Fletcher

Both new generation farmers, Tarrah Young and David Fletcher have both signed on to be our exclusive vegetable growers for the upcoming seasons.
Tarrah owns Green Being Farm in Ayton and will be providing us with winter vegetables from late October through to the end of February, while David from Irvine Creek Organic Farm will be delivering his spring/summer vegetables from June through to the end of October.

Young and Jess

Partnering with these two young farmers is a very exciting addition to the work we are doing at The Food School. Modeling these forms of small scale, sustainable and organic agriculture done by new young farmers sets an important tone for our youth and hopefully goes to inspiring some to consider a role in this vital and rewarding agricultural sector.

As well as benefiting from the food from these farms, plans are underway for getting our young cooks up to these farms to see, first hand, how and where our food for The Food School is grown.

Aside: The Food School is still working to attain land near the school for a future organic farming school program. Check back for updates.

What’s a CSA?

Chef Mowatt to be first Guest Chef
April 10, 2010
We are pleased to announce that Café La Ruche will be run by our first guest chef! Alex Mowatt ran the cafeteria at Centre Wellington for years and he was much loved by staff and students for his food and commitment to the school. On Thursday, April 22nd, CW will get to experience his food once more.

Working with the Food School students, chef Alex has proposed a menu that he will work to expedite with us and deliver as our regular lunch menu.

This is an exciting event for us and we are pleased to be having our inaugural guest chef with someone who has had such a positive food influence on our community.

hanging 8 feet tall, this is an amazing addition to our work at CW

March 1, 2010

Today we received a quilt made by the quilting club at CW. As you can tell, it is made of food jars and it is absolutely beautiful. It’ll forever hang outside our kitchen. Many, many thanks to the amazing Mrs. Compion and all of the people who helped to create this amazing piece of art.

210/2010 History in the Making!

On Wednesday, February 10th 2010, The Food School will be unveiling its new food alternative to the greater Centre Wellington High School community.

Called Café La Ruche, chefs and student cooks will be endeavoring to offer an exciting array of food that is sourced from local farms and using organic and seasonal offerings.

Committed to offering a wide range of menu items such as morning pastries and healthy breakfast specials, daily soups and salads, hot and cold entrees, fresh breads and a daily selection of cakes from the bake shop, we hope to attract a consistent clientele that loves good food.

A community wide grand opening is slated for Wednesday, March 31st. Check back often for more details as they become available.

see here for our menu

November 2009
The Food School on TV


Plating the second last of 7 courses. Leek Terrine with Roasted Root Vegetable and Ramp Butter.

Friday, November 13th, 2009
The Food School plays Restaurant

A night to remember!

Working all week, the students in Mr. Jess’ classes where preparing for The Food School’s first ever fundraiser. 30 patrons packed the dinning room at the Desert Rose Cafe in Elora for an action packed and extravagant meal with 6 different corresponding wines. The menu:

slush puppy
Grape Granite with Mint

bacon and eggs
Poached Egg with Smoked Tomato

staff soup
Shelley’s Mulligatawny

fries and gravy
Fries and a study of Ketchups

salad bar
Leek Terrine with Root Vegetables and Ramp Butter

mac and cheese
Pasta with Truffle

Vanilla Ice Cream with Peach Juice

Many thanks to Liva Saylany, Alex Maggs, Morgwn Brough, Dalton McDonald, and Mercedes LeFrancois. And a special thanks to the amazing support and participation of the Desert Rose’s owner and chef, Resa Lent.

The goods: $0.50 each or 10 for $5.00 with all proceeds going to support future Food School initiatives

The goods: $0.50 each or 10 for $5.00 with all proceeds going to support future Food School initiatives

Tuesday, October 6th 2009
Food School Sticker Contest

Well, I’ll be!

The Food School must be sticking around!

We’ve got new stickers that present to the world that we’re real (because only a sticker could do that) and here to stay (or stick as it may be). The ‘food stamp’ was designed by an amazing graphic designer in Guelph named Candace. Check out her goods here: Ballyhoo Media

The vegetable profiled on the cover is, by my humble calculations, the monster of the vegetable world. Its kohlrabi and grows perfectly in our shortened growing season and cooler Canadian climate, thank you very much. It also gets low marks by many because its from the cabbage family and has strong flavor profiles making it tricky to play with in the kitchen. So, you ask, why would this particular vegetable be chosen for the Food School’s first sticker?

Well, like any crazy idea, this one has some logic.

If kohlrabi is so perfect for our climate, why don’t we know more about it, use it more often, and celebrate that we have the climate to actually grow it well? Perhaps profiling this vegetable on a sticker that represents a program trying to reconnect youth with an ever distancing and abstract food system might cause one to think?

in the forefront, Cinderala Pumpkins (that's their name!) and the tastiest little pumpkins in Ontario!

in the forefront, Cinderella Pumpkins (that\’s their name!) and the tastiest little pumpkins in Ontario!

Anyway, here’s the contest:

If you can sell or find purchase of 25 of these limited edition stickers you will receive an amazing organic pumpkin from ReRoot Organic farm in Mapleton. Caitlin does an amazing job of growing really beautiful and tasty food. So, get yours today, it may lead you to have a ‘gourd’ ol’ time!

IWbannerintroSunday, October 4th, 2009

this email was just sent to the local paper – check back to see our progress on this initiative


I’m the chef instructor at Centre Wellington high school. I teach a program called hospitality and tourism (renamed the Food School for brevity and to make it more interesting). Between me and another chef, we teach some 300 students every year how to cook and where food comes from.

For a year now, I’ve been trying to find some land to begin growing our own food. We currently work with food from within our county and are proud to be supporting local farmers while getting the word out to our youth about the amazing food that is being grown in our area.

I’m wondering, instead of me putting in a small ad in the classifieds for land, if you’d do a story on our work here and help us get the word out that we want to start a farming program here in the school where we can teach students how to grow amazing food.

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon!

Thursday, August 27th, 2009
The Food School Catering

The upcoming year of cooking for our students is looking exciting indeed!
Over the summer, I’ve been making plans for a whole slew of interesting events that the Food School will be catering. This is such an important connection for our students to be making, both in the community, and for their own experiences. Using local food that’s been sustainably grown is a proliferation of our key goals of making good food available to our clients. Check out these confirmed events:

1. a weekly catering of snacks and lunch for the Elora Preschool (our toughest clients!) for the whole school year!
2. workshop lunches for artists
3. 400 of our grade nines will be having a huge picnic out at Chicopee. We make the breads, snacks and get them perfectly ripe peaches from the Niagara for this one.
4. we’ll be volunteering at Sensational Elora Gala Dinner, cooking for 11-14 year olds at the Kids Film fest, cooking for the film on a plate evening (Tampopo = noodle soup extrodinaire chez nous)
5. some students and I will be competing in the annual soup off competition
6. on the 16th of October, we’ll be hosting all of the major agriculture commodity groups in association with the Wellington Federation of Agriculture, local, provincial and federal polititians at the school to present agriculture options to today’s student. We’ll be cooking with local food for up to 200 important people!
7. on the 30th of October (not confirmed) we’ll be hosting our first ever Slow Food dinner! The mandate of this important organization has been foundational to the program.
8. and finally, on the 21st of November, we’ll be catering with the Chef at the University of Guelph for the Urban Agriculture Conference.

Should be fun!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
The Food School goes to conferences

left_barTomorrow, I’ll be speaking on a panel about making education relevant, responsive and realistic for today’s students. Outlining the program thus far and its focus on local food and promoting sustainable agriculture, the talk will endeavor to show how this type of food education is not just working to instill solid life skills, but also attempting to respond to today’s economic and environmental challenges.

Also, in November, I’ll be presenting on a panel with Lauren Barker (director of Sustain Ontario – the Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming) and Rebecca LeHeup (Executive Director of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, leader of Slow Food Prince Edward County). The conference is the A.D. Latornell Symposium and this year’s theme is the Currency of Ecology.

Grade 9 student, Kimber Jolley and Danni Weber serving up Chicken with Morels and Wild-Foraged Leeks

Grade 9 student, Kimber Jolley and Danni Weber serving up Chicken with Morels and Wild-Foraged Leeks

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 gets a facelift

The Food School’s website has really had its tires kicked this year. Having a presence on the web has meant that we’ve been able to offer students in the Food School access to all of their assignments and projects on line and as a result, reduce a lot of paper.

In addition, we’ve been able to share what we do in the Food School with the rest of the world. Since September of 08, we’ve had nearly 10,000 hits on the site from around the globe, and that’s an amazing connection considering the School is in the little town of Fergus Ontario.

On the newly amended site, there is now a link to the Food School’s Flickr account which has photos of Katherine Bowen, our first gold medalist in cooking, some shots from a dinner we catered, and images from our foraging in the spring.

Also, there is a set of links to where the Food School has been fortunate enough to be highlighted in the press. This is very exciting. One article in particular is featured on the Cuisine Canada website and is written by two Food School students, Mercedes LeFrancios and Bree Van Veen.

The new year ahead is looking bright. We’ve responded to our enrollment requests by hiring a new chef instructor which means we’ll be teaching our mandate to not just 150 students a year, but 300!!.

Nicole De Beyer is a George Brown graduate with 15+ years experience as a chef. She lives in Guelph and will bring a lot to the program in the coming years – so we’re very pleased to have her join the team.

The farming pursuits at the school were stalled slightly this spring as acquiring land is challenging, especially when there are developers involved. One major light at the end of the tunnel is yet to be explored – and I’m hopeful that it will result in a generous donation of the land adjacent to the school. This will secure our intentions to have students running a small farming operation that will supply the Food School with food all year round.

We do, however, expect to have our greenhouse up and running this year, which will be a key step in the development of this agriculture program – Food School meets Farm School!?

Anyway, thank you for joining this group and I look forward to sharing with you what all is yet to come for this program.

Chris Jess
Chef Instructor

Friday, April 24, 2009

4 bins with removable front panels for shovel access. Each bin will house either high carbon matter, or working compost.

4 bins with removable front panels for shovel access. Each bin will house either high carbon matter, or working compost.

The Food School starts The Compost School!

Well, not exactly. But getting this 4 bin set up all organized and dumping the first kitchen offerings is a big first step toward what will hopefully be a functioning school farm program. Knowing that our 30 pounds of food scraps will be re-entering the soil and building up organic activity is very exciting.

Now the task at hand is to build a proper management system that can be run by students and that can be learned by students. Teaching young cooks about carbon nitrogen ratios, testing compost temperature and pH and knowing when and how to affect the matter will hopefully feel a lot like learning a ‘recipe’ while making those key connections between our food and the soil.
Here’s to the future!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Alice, Barack, Barbara and Me

75571_waters_aliceApril 6th and southern Ontario just had its fields dusted with a heavy pack of intense snow.

It was in this snowy day’s afternoon that I had a meeting with a parent. She has 2 acres with her husband and for some reason came to a meeting I held in November about how I wanted to start some farming activities at the school. And it was today that we met to plan the planting of CWDHS’s first edible plants.

Recently reading over Alice Water’s memoir, the revolution of food that took hold of California in the early 80’s truly started with a few renegades like Waters in California who thankfully refused to opt for the easiest line any food distributor offered and, instead, chose to connect with the escentric farmer down the road and commit to doing verbal trade. In the face of capitalism’s offering of edible products, she ached for the truthful connections she had experienced in medieval-like France (where she spent much of her ‘adolescent’ food life).

Knowing that she’s Obama’s new in (white) house farmer, gives me calm and satisfaction that we are truly headed down a most convivial path. Good food and good thinking are again meeting at a table of plenty. Let the recession be dealt with by real farmers and real cooks, cooking real food.

Viva la Waters!

Post from April 3, 2009

A response from Jamie Oliver’s team

Jamie Oliver has been the source of much inspiration for me leaving the world of Chef and entering into the Education sector and I’m thrilled to be pursuing a ‘field’ trip to the UK with my students from the Food School in 2010.
Jamie’s School Dinners, a 4 part BBC series that came out in 2005, outlines the plight that all schools face in both offering good food and making ends meet. Profits derived from cafeteria providers have long made it difficult to pursue changes to the ways in which students eat. Catering businesses have been running on profit and doing so within the confines of higher learning. For so long, we felt that this relationship was inevitable as school run operations were too expensive and often couldn’t compete with the food being generated by fast food operations lurking a mere walk from the school grounds. Offering processed foods to kids made some sense as this ultimately kept kids in school and would lead to more opportunities for programming.

Although, it is now without doubt that these foods have done so much more harm than any good and Oliver pegs it simply when he’s shown visiting several burrows in the UK. Watching the absolute hunger for breaded chicken shapes and an entirely frightening unknowing of common vegetables he begs the kids to reconsider and faces all manner of protest. A tough thing to shoulder for a big time Chef.

Taking Oliver’s quest further, it has been the adventure of some Chefs to leave the high world of fine dining for the low world stink of the cafeteria and to reteach kids what real food is and ultimately how to make that food for themselves.
So, it is with great anticipation that I pursue this quest for a meeting. If only to connect personally, the work that Jamie has done has opened the door for asking the tough questions about food in our schools, and in some cases such as my own, allowed me to pursue those questions ruthlessly from the inside.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. michael permalink
    April 25, 2009 11:58 am


    Here is a link I found compelling, in response to your compost building. Great work, a step in the right direction.

  2. Jenny Hermans permalink
    March 5, 2010 6:48 am

    What a special Pantry Quilt! All those jars of delicious looking fruits, vegies and preserves. Who could resist wanting to taste something from the pantry… it is certainly an eye catcher. Well done!
    best regards
    Jenny Hermans quilter in Cape Town – South Africa

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