Presenters - Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival

A complete list of this year's fabulous Presenters!

Presenters for Sunday, September 11, 2022 include:

Rick Francis, Guitarist

Rick is a long-time Stratford resident who began his musical career at the age of five on classical violin and the ukelele.  Rick is a Guitarist, Bassist, Audio Engineer, Music Programmer, Music Producer, Photographer, Cat Lover and Hat Lover.  Rick returns to the Stratford Garlic Festival after many years of participation.  He performs his smooth jazz, folk and soft rock at weddings, corporate events, private parties, restaurants and house concerts.

Rick has performed in many fine establishments such as Revival House, Maelstrom Winery, and Hughson Hall.  He not only performs each year for us at the Kiwanis Garlic Festival, but he is also our Audio Engineer.  Our sincerest thanks to Rick for his ongoing support of our Kiwanis ventures and projects.

The amazing Rick Francis! Thanks Rick, you're wonderful!

Posted by Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival on Sunday, September 10, 2017


Kris Schlotzhauer

Chef Kris Schlotzhauer, a Stratford native, and his partner, Pastry Chef Suzy Schlotzhauer, from Calgary, Alberta, got together while working together in Calgary.  They travelled across Canada before settling in Toronto, Ontario, where they worked in some of that city’s finest restaurants.  They eventually moved back to Stratford to raise their young family and to follow their dream of opening their own restaurant.  AO PASTA (so named after their two children, Axel and Olive) opened in June/2018, and Chefs Kris and Suzy are loving sharing their dream with their clientele that keep coming back again and again.

AO PASTA is a casual, friendly, counter-service Italian restaurant located in the heart of downtown Stratford.  They offer a simple, honest, Italian inspired menu anchored by the pastas and made-to-order sauces.  The menu is complemented by seasonal dishes and salads, and their signature “Arancini” deep-fried risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella cheese…oh yeh!!!

This will be Kris’s first year presenting at the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival and you won’t want to miss it as he teaches you his signature Pesto.


Bob Romaniuk,

Brant County Garlic Co.

2019 represents the 41st year that Bob and Irene Romaniuk have been in the business of growing fresh produce.  They got into the business in 1978, supplying the Toronto Food Terminal with fresh produce and garlic. They also supplied the local Calbeck’s grocery chain, which at the time had nine stores, including two in Brantford and one each in Paris, Simcoe, Waterford and Port Dover.  He also got into custom agricultural spraying and grew herbs.  From 1991 to 2001 he grew echinacea, Golden Seal and black cohosh, and the Romaniuks saw to it that they became certified organic growers.

Bob stayed with custom agricultural spraying and started to concentrate on garlic. Between 1992 and 2008, the Romaniuks grew a modest eight to 10 acres of garlic for the family and friends.  But as Bob says:  “Then lightning struck and we decided to get into garlic on a larger scale.”

That started the specialized planting regime. They grow five varieties. The largest is called music, the most common variety. They also plant Yugoslavian red, which is about 20 per cent of this year’s 45-acres crop.  The other three are French varieties all in the official French catalogue. They are sabagold, thermador and messidor.

The Romaniuks also have trial plots every year to see if there are better ways of growing each variety. They work with the Ontario Ministry of Food and the University of Guelph.  It’s all to ensure they have the best quality product on the market.

He also mentors a lot of growers who want to get into garlic.  Their website includes an article detailing 20 items growers should know if they want to get into growing garlic.  “We believe in sharing information and helping others grow this crop,” said Bob.

Romaniuk said that between 1,800 acres and 2,000 acres of garlic are grown in Ontario every year, and the average grower plants two to three acres.  That’s a far cry from the known demand in the province, he said.  “Ontario could use 40,000 acres to supply just its domestic needs.”

Bob has been a director in the Garlic Growers Association of Ontario for the past nine years, and a director of the Brant County Federation of Agriculture.

We’re delighted to have Bob and Irene back yet again this year, and are thrilled that Bob has once again agreed to share his vast garlic growing knowledge with you in the Presentation Theatre.  His talks on garlic growing are always fun, informative and always one of our most popular presentations.  If you are wanting to get into garlic production for home use or on a larger scale, Bob is the man you want to know!  Don’t miss him!


Eli Silverthorne

Chef Eli Silverthorne, as his Twitter handle says, is the #truffledchef.

A London, Ontario native and Red Seal Chef, Chef Eli has worked most recently at The Berlin (K-W) and Stratford’s Prune Restaurant.   He was Class Valedictorian for his graduation from The Stratford Chefs’ School in May, 2015, and has staged for Maison Publique, Richmond Station, Scaramouche and Araxi in Whistler, BC., all top restaurants in the country.  Chef Eli also completed his B.A. in history and political science at the University of Western Ontario in 2006 and has worked as an educational aid at Fanshawe College for six years.  Currently, Chef Eli is an Instructor of Practical Cookery at The Stratford Chefs’ School.  Chef Eli tells us that his favourite part of being a Chef is being able to utilize all five senses plus intuition and imagination at the same time.   He is constantly visualizing, smelling, tasting, touching, and listening, whether it be to other chefs or sizzling burners…all the time!   Few occupations demand so much of you at any given singular moment.  He loves the challenges offered by food.

We are thrilled to have Chef Eli join us once again at this year’s Stratford Garlic Festival to share his love of all things colourful and culinary!


Lorraine Irwin

Over 7 years ago, on a farm located in Grey County, Lorraine Irwin began growingacre of organic hard-necked garlic called “music” at her BOARS’ ROCK FARM.  Recentlythe side, she has started manufacturing a wide range of garlic products such as garlic powders. Lorraine tells us that when selling her products, she always gets thesame question, “What is added to the powders that make them so good?” andreply is always “Nothing butmusic!”  Join us at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7th in the Presentation Theatre as Lorraine tells us all about making “black garlic”, a seasoning used by many elite Chefs, including Chef Arron Carley of The Bruce Hotel, who favour seasoning their “haute cuisine” with black garlic.


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The Stratford Kiwanis Club cares about our community and has worked tirelessly to provide a timely, world-class event that showcases and supports local agriculture. This support has been integral in raising awareness and building markets for garlic growers across Ontario. As our premier event grows, the funds raised from this effort allow us to continue to support the children in our community and provide leadership and funding on many wonderful, community-enriching projects.

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