Stratford Tourism and People

To Be Listed Email Us Your Info  |  People Present and Past  |  Use Search Magnifier to the Right or Category to the Left

Eleanor Kane & Marian Isherwood
In what began in 1977 as a “self-directed sabbatical from work,” Eleanor Kane and Marion Isherwood opened The Old Prune (then a tea room) in Stratford, which led to successful careers as restaurateurs. With James Morris of Rundles Restaurant, which opened the same year, Kane later co-founded the Stratford Chefs School.

The Old Prune, under the direction of Isherwood and Kane, cemented its reputation with Sue Anderson in the kitchen. In 1988, The New York Times stated, “The Old Prune serves lunch, dinner and after-theater suppers in three Edwardian dining rooms and on a patio. The creamy pastas and deft salad plates are recommended here, as well as the loin of lamb with twice-cooked pepper and sauté of spinach with sage cream sauce. Desserts include prune and Armagnac ice cream and a very rich chocolate terrine. The fixed price for a three-course dinner is $25.

Kane brought 30 years of restaurant experience, along with professional skills in the HR area to her work at Stratford Chefs School. As a University of Alberta graduate (Masters of Science, Psychology), Kane first worked in the clinical area of child development before transitioning to the restaurant business where she established The Old Prune Restaurant in Stratford with her business partner, Marion Isherwood. In 1983 Kane joined forces with James Morris of Rundles to co-found the Stratford Chefs School, an enterprise that evolved into a pioneering restaurant-focused training program, widely recognized across Canada.  “It has been a wonderful journey with the Stratford Chefs School, its students and faculty,” says Kane, “I have every confidence in the new leadership team.”

Replacing Kane is Meg Westley, who has been appointed to the new position of Program Director, with responsibility for all areas of curriculum, including supervising and supporting the faculty. Westley has taught communications at the Chefs School for the past 15 years and this year held the position of Head of Theory.  She has a strong background in education, with a PhD from the University of Toronto, 25 years of experience as assistant professor at the University of Waterloo and 10 years as trustee on the Avon Maitland District School Board.

“I’m honoured to be appointed Program Director of this prestigious school,” Westley said. “I feel very lucky to be given the opportunity to work with such an excellent faculty of renowned chefs and expert theory instructors. My number-1priority will be to maintain the high calibre of instruction and the intense immersive program that Jim Morris and Eleanor Kane established and which has produced Canada’s best chefs for the past 30 years.”

Kim Cosgrove, a Stratford Chefs School graduate, has been appointed to the new position of Operations Director, a step up from the excellent work she has done in School administration since 2007.