Gratitude Galore: Celebrating Another Phenomenal Top Home Chef Event! 2024 Top Home Chef raised $47,000 for Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council.

Top Home Chefs

Support Mental Health

An evening of fun and fellowship in support of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council!

So what happens when 50 “home chefs” volunteer to prepare samples of their signature dishes for 450 gala attendees? ​

Guests can sample and judge food created by our Home Chefs along with a panel of celebrity judges including Chef D, Dana Shortt, Scott Yates, and Nick Benninger. Awards are given out in categories such as appetizers, mains, and desserts.  Live and online auction items are up for grabs, a keynote speaker will deliver an inspiring message, and the evening will end with a live band and dance. 

The 2018, 2019, 2023, and 2024 Galas were sell-out events that raised a combined $195,000 for the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention council.

Celebrity Judges


Chef Darryl Fletcher’s (ChefD) inspiration to pursue a culinary career began while watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and trying some recipes at home.

Fast forward 35 years later and ChefD has appeared as a guest on CTV News at Noon in Kitchener, Vancouver, and Edmonton, as well as City TV’s Breakfast Television, CHCH Morning Live, Shopping Channel 

ChefD is filming his Ninth season of his popular cooking show, ‘At Home with ChefD’ on Rogers TV. In the process of Filming his 5th Season of At the Cottage with ChefD 

He is an author, speaker and Podcast host. (At the Kitchen table with ChefD).

It’s no wonder ChefD cooks for you like you are a star, it’s because he has cooked for them!  ChefD has prepared meals for Blue Rodeo, Michael Bublé, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Diana Krall, Melissa Etheridge, Vance Joy and the late BB King, and the incomparable Stuart McLean.  

Aligned with quality, ChefD is the corporate chef for Hormel Inc. and Bothwell Cheese where he creates new recipes and flavour profiles. Partnered in those edible creations ChefD uses Waterloo Brewing, only to cook over a delicious union with Crown Verity. 

ChefD Created FiredUp a Summer Long Pop-Up featuring Wood Fired Pizza, Wood Fired Burgers.  You can also find him at Butterfly Conservatory and Schwaben club he and his team run the Food Operation or Challenger Motor Freight.  Or maybe Catering thru ChefD Catering and Events

ChefD is an avid community supporter and believes in sharing his passion for food with others, and keeping recipes simple, easy, and incredibly tasty!

Born and raised in Waterloo, Dana received her formal culinary training at George Brown College and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hotel and Food Administration from the University of Guelph.

After culinary school, she began working in catering because she wanted to share her creativity and passion for food during the most important moments: weddings, milestones and family get-togethers. She wanted to create unique and delicious dishes that you couldn’t find anywhere else in the region. As her catering business grew, something unexpected happened – her clients began requesting her dishes for themselves and their families to take home. 

Dana opened the store in 2004 and was delighted to receive the Fairmont Culinary Excellence Award in 2003, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce in 2006, “Canada’s Mompreneur of the Year” award from Revolution Her in 2017 and the 2023 Small Business of the Year Award (11-50 employees) from the Chamber of Commerce.

When she’s not cooking, eating or talking about food, you can find Dana out with friends in nature, working up a sweat in spin class or spending time with her family.

Chef Nick Benninger is a seasoned professional in the hospitality industry, stretching beyond the kitchen and into advocacy and entertainment.

Nick found his calling early on, working in the kitchen at a summer camp in Northern Ontario. After attending George Brown College, Nick completed his culinary apprenticeship working throughout Ontario, settling back in his hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo to grow a family and his passion for a “taste of place.”

After opening Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21 in 2008, Nick and his wife Natalie would go on to found the Fat Sparrow Group, which, under their leadership, operated restaurants, a bakery, a butcher shop and catering operations from its headquarters in St. Jacobs Ontario, and serving communities from Waterloo to Killbear.

Today, Nick proudly hosts Bell Fibe’s Farm to Fork TV, highlighting the incredible farms and makers in Waterloo Region and beyond.

Chef Nick’s reputation as a local food and community-building champion includes time spent writing columns like 519 Schmecks for The Community Edition, creating videos like Nick and Taylor Make a Food Show on YouTube and serving on multiple volunteer boards, including Community Support Connections, Uptown Waterloo BIA, and the St. Jacobs BIA. Whatever he’s up to, Nick always shares his passionate opinions and great food!  

Chef Scotty began his culinary aspirations by graduating from chef school in 2003, after almost twenty years in the automotive industry. Excited about this next chapter, he quickly established himself as a  passionate chef with a love for local food. In 2013, he decided to launch his own business, ChefScottyYates, which includes catering and his “BistroTour” Food Truck. He can actually take passengers right on the truck to the Niagara area and visit craft breweries, wineries, cideries or distilleries, as well as doing local tours. They even come complete with a day of food pairings as well as a fully served dinner at the chef’s table inside the truck itself.

Chef Scotty has also been privileged in the past, to be a part-time culinary instructor through the Conestoga College program. The thought of helping young aspiring chefs start and continue their culinary careers is something that he is naturally drawn to. Chef Scotty collaborates with Guelph’s own Dixon’s Distilled Spirits to produce a bottled BBQ sauce as well as a whiskey mustard.  Look for more products to come soon… When you get a chance to see Chef Scotty, always remember his tag line… “What Love Tastes Like”.

Find more at

Born and raised in Kitchener, Chef Simon has worked in many popular local establishments. His 1ast cooking job came at the Whale and Ale pub 17 years ago. After apprenticing under chefs throughout the province, things have come full circle as he partnered with his friends at the Whale to open Rustico Kitchen and Bar in 2017. Rustico has quickly become known for its welcoming atmosphere and delicious comfort food.

Another of Simon’s passions is using his platform to give back to the community. He helped spearhead an initiative called “Stanley Park Eats” in February 2020 aimed at helping families dealing with food insecurity. He’s also worked with organizations such as Farwell4hire, Stanley Park Community Center, Nutrition for Learning, and now Legacy!

Simon is most excited to focus on taking Rustico to new heights in 2023 with special dining experiences, while continuing to pursue partnerships and opportunities to improve.

If you have interest in learning more about KW Legacy please contact us at




Our sponsors receive no direct financial or non-financial benefits from KW Legacy, other than recognition here showing our appreciation.

Heartfelt Thank you to Our 2024 Top Home Chef Sponsors