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Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff

Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff

Second-year student Braeden Greer shows off the Stratford Chefs School’s new mobile wood-fired oven, currently parked out front The Prune restaurant on Albert Street.

New oven, old technique for chefs school

This past Sunday, a mobile wood-fired oven rolled into Stratford on a bright red flatbed trailer.

Its destination was The Prune restaurant, one of the training locations of the Stratford Chefs School.

The oven, built by Oven Master of Caledon, Ont., is being set up just in time for a visit from international chef Lennox Hastie, who is coming to the city from Sydney, Australia to work with the school’s chefs-in-training.

Hastie has re-engineered ancient methods of grilling by preparing specially-selected native woods in high temperature ovens, a technique he learned while working for five years at a Basque restaurant, Etxebarri, taking the oldest form of cooking over fire in new directions.

Hastie consulted with Alex Chernov of Oven Master to ensure the school’s new oven meets the required technical specifications.

The grill, which the chefs school hopes to set up at culinary events and use as a mobile kitchen in the future, was made possible through a grant from Ontario’s Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.

The school’s head of purchasing, Mike Booth, is now foraging for selected woods which Hastie wishes to use when in Stratford.

The dinners he will be helping  prepare next week are open to the public. To make a reservation, visit www.stratfordchef.com and click on calender, or call 519-271-1414.

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