Getting to know the Chefs of Tomorrow


The annual Niagara Parks Apprentice Cooks & Chefs Showcase Dinner is fast approaching, where we showcase culinary talent from the region. Here are just a few of the apprentice cooks who will be showing off their skills that evening:

Apprentice Cook Lonnie Davis

Lonnie started at Elements on the Falls restaurant 7 years ago as a dishwasher. He spent a summer and a half keeping the dishes clean while slowly helping on prep and working the line until he was offered the chance to start the apprenticeship program. That was 5 and a half years ago and he hasn’t looked back. He enjoys the exciting pace and the fact that it’s different all the time, from large functions to buyouts he serves a variety of people from all over the world. “It’s a great place to take pride in your work.”

As a boy his mom often prepared a Spinach Egg Quiche dish that has become his favourite meal.  When he’s in the Elements kitchen he likes to prepare the delicious Char-grilled Prime Canadian Beef Tenderloin. Outside of the restaurant he really enjoys making breakfast foods like his creation of the classic Fried Egg Sandwich with bacon cheese mayo tomato peppers and onions on a whole wheat croissant.

Someday I’d love to become a great chef like Mario Batali and travel the world learning new dishes and techniques and eating the different cuisines.

Apprentice Cook Stefan Szcezpanski


Stephan aspires to create meals like Chef Michael Smith.

After taking culinary programs in high school he knew he wanted to find a great restaurant to work at in any capacity. So he began working at Elements on the Falls restaurant in 2009 as a dishwasher and was given the opportunity to become an apprentice under Chef Elbert Wiersema and jumped at the chance.

“It’s a great atmosphere. Right at the brink of the falls you can see the falls and people every time you work just by looking out the windows. I get to work around a lot of interesting people and every day is unique and challenging. Working under Chef Elbert has been great for learning as I work towards my Red Seal Certification.”

While in the Elements kitchen he enjoys creating sauces, stocks and soups with the Baked French Onion Soup being his favourite to make.  Eating healthy is important to him so his go-to meal is a Maple Glazed Salmon with asparagus sauteed in garlic and butter with baby carrots.

Apprentice Cook Joe Arcuri


Even though Joe has only been at Elements on the Falls restaurant for only 6 months he’s been helping out in the kitchen for about 12 years. “I’ve always helped my mom out in the kitchen since I was young.”

To become more educated in the culinary field he started at Legends on the Niagara as a short order cook,  then Chef Chris Brown offered him the apprenticeship which is a great chance to advance his career. His skills have grown from working on the line in this fast paced environment and learning from the other cooks.

While his favourite dish to eat is a T-Bone steak (medium rare) with sweet potatoes, he likes preparing an Elements on the Falls feature called the Saltimbocca Tortellini because it takes many of the skills he’s learned and applies them all at once. Plus the dish tastes fantastic.

Don’t miss this evening

Visit us for more details and to purchase tickets to this outstanding event online.


Niagara Parks teams up with the Canadian Wildlife Federation

Bird at the edge of a river

Here at Niagara Parks, we take environmental conservation to heart because we’re tasked with keeping 56 kilometers or riverfront property in tiptop shape, all while making sure species of the area have safe and healthy habitats.

In October, Niagara Parks teamed up with the Canadian Wildlife Federation to make sure we can continue preserving the environment along the Niagara River to foster animal and plant growth. As a Naturalist, I’m pretty excited about this opportunity. The Canadian Wildlife Federation is one of the best organizations in Canada dedicated to educating, informing and preserving all sorts of creatures that are native to our country.

This new agreement between Niagara Parks and the Canadian Wildlife Federation means that Niagara Parks staff will have access to education materials, research documents and other resources to help us move forward in creating sustainable environments for our animal neighbours. In turn, we’ll be able to use these resources to educate visitors to Niagara Parks, especially at the School of Horticulture and Botanical Gardens. Since staff will be trained and have access to research, we can apply that knowledge hands-on in the massive area that we call Niagara Parks.

Did you know? Niagara Parks is home to owls, spiders, deer and more.

To learn more about conservation in Niagara Parks, click here.

Discover Niagara’s Growing Culinary Talent at Niagara Parks

Queenston Heights Restaurant exterior

November 6, 2014 | 6:30 p.m.

Every year, the apprentice cooks at Niagara Parks bring together their culinary skills at the Apprentice Cooks & Chefs Showcase Dinner. This year, the six-course, wine-paired evening will be held at Queenston Heights Restaurant.

Apprentice cooks from Elements on the Falls Restaurant, Edgewaters Restaurant, Legends on the Niagara and Queenston Heights Restaurant have teamed up with Niagara Parks chefs to design and prepare an incredible menu featuring Niagara-inspired creations.

Niagara Parks has also teamed up with Niagara VQA wineries to offer the perfect wine pairings for the evening. Local wineries such as Chateau des Charmes, Inniskillin, Jackson Triggs, Malivoire, Mike Weir, PMA and Reif Estate have joined this year’s Showcase Dinner.

Check out the full menu on our website and reserve your tickets today.