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Chef Signature Series returns to Benchmark March 16: NC to welcome Fogo Island Inn Chef Timothy Charles

Niagara College’s Signature Chef Series is back by popular demand and its first guest chef for 2024 will bring the tastes of Canada’s East Coast to Benchmark just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

On Saturday, March 16, the legendary dinner series will kick off with Executive Chef Timothy Charles from the award-winning Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland. A member of the world-renowned group Relais & Châteaux, Fogo Island Inn, a community-owned social business, is built on the principles of sustainability and respect for nature and culture. As contemporary interpreters of Fogo Island’s history and traditions, Fogo Island Inn’s culinary team innovates with hyper-local produce and seafood and pays homage to traditional outport Newfoundland foodways.

Fogo Island Inn Executive Chef Timothy Charles
(Photo credit: Steffen Jagenburg)

The Signature Chef Series, which debuted in 2014, brings guest chefs to Benchmark, at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, home to the College’s trailblazing Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies Division.

“The Signature Chef Series is a fantastic opportunity to bring in leading culinary professionals from Ontario, Canada and around the world to work side by side with our students and staff,” said Craig Youdale, Dean of NC’s Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies Division. “The series also provides a great opportunity to invite in our community to experience these chefs from places and famous operations that they might not get a chance to experience and enjoy the campus and our world-famous hospitality.”

Chef Charles will be the culinary talent behind a ticketed dinner event in Benchmark on March 16. Guests will enjoy a seven-course journey through some of his signature dishes, featuring traditional Newfoundland ingredients such as a salt fish croustade with bakeapple and parsley, snow crab toast with chanterelle, bone marrow, and crabapple, cod prepared with sunchoke, foie gras, chicories, a kelp creampuff, sea buckthorn tartlets, and more.

“It’s always rewarding to be able to cook with culinary arts students,” said Chef Timothy Charles. “Their budding passion for our craft is restoring. Niagara College’s commitment to excellence is exemplified by the renewal of their Guest Chefs Series, which we are honoured to help them relaunch.”

In addition to working alongside students for the dinner event, Chef Charles will visit the College’s senior culinary students, reaffirming Fogo Island Inn’s commitment to attracting and growing top talent in Canada.

“It’s a chance for our students to connect with additional points of view from leading chefs working in the industry,” said Youdale. “They will hear presentations about style, approach and philosophy from our visiting chefs as well as creating a networking opportunity for our students to connect to the industry leaders and also perhaps opportunities to work.”

Tickets are now available for the March 16 dinner event ($175 plus taxes and fees). Tickets may be purchased via Eventbrite here.

The Chef Signature Series is expected to continue in fall 2024.

NC’s Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies division, includes three distinct schools of study: Culinary Arts; Wine, Beer and Spirits; and Hospitality and Tourism.

Benchmark reopens with celebrated Chef Justin Downes (right) at the helm and with Victor Oliveira (left) managing ‘front of house’ as manager of Catering and Special Events.