STRATFORD, Ont. — It’s already a good year for Eleanor Kane, co-founder of the Stratford Chefs School and The Old Prune restaurant in Ontario. Kane has been named the Women’s Culinary Network’s 2012 Woman of the Year.
“[Kane’s] involvement with the hospitality industry began in 1977 as co-owner of The Old Prune restaurant in Stratford, Ont. Six year later she became a major force in identifying and addressing local labour shortages in the seasonally dependent town,” reads a press release that notes the award recipient’s contributions to the culinary arts.
In 1983, John Evans, then director of Stratford’s Canada Manpower agency, asked Kane and other restaurateurs to create a curriculum that would focus on the small fine-dining restaurant market. Since then, that mandate has been the focus at Stratford Chefs School.
Although Kane sold The Old Prune — now called The Prune — in April 2011, she is working on a long-term plan for Stratford Chefs School. “I will be handing over many of my responsibilities likely by the spring,” said Kane, “but will remain in a consultative capacity for as long as I might be needed.”