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SAIT cookbook delights the senses

Take a culinary journey from the fresh flavours of spring, through to the rich roasted dishes of winter. Seasons, the first-ever cookbook from SAIT Polytechnic's School of Hospitality and Tourism, offers recipes to entice the senses all through the year.

Seasons cookbook coverThe hard-cover book — complete with stunning food photography — explores ingredients and dishes of the four seasons, accompanied by wine pairings and seasonal table settings. The recipes showcase the world-class chef instructors who can be found at the Culinary Campus in downtown Calgary, or instructing students in the Highwood Dining Room at the main campus.

"This cookbook is a labour of love," says Tom Bornhorst, Dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism. "Our talented instructors have created delicious dishes that can stretch and inspire the home chef.

"We're very proud of the book and excited to share our creations with people who love to cook," says Bornhorst of the cookbook that contains close to 100 recipes.

Chef Michael Dekker, formerly of Rouge Restaurant in Calgary and one of the chefs who developed winter-themed recipes, said his group tried to be festive with special ingredients — duck breast, crab and smoked salmon to name a few.

"We gave items an upscale appeal, but kept the execution of them simple," explains Dekker. "Flipping through, you can experience very basic recipes, but also ones that will challenge the home cook."

Approximately 20 chef instructors from SAIT Polytechnic created recipes that fill the pages of Seasons with everything from Kalbi Chicken Tacos, to Pan Seared Halibut, Duck Confit, and Braised Beef Short Ribs.

A sample of what's inside: Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 

Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. Photo credit: Seasons cookbookBy Chef Steve Lepine
Serves 4

Squash soup: 

  • 1 1/2 lbs (700 g) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped 2" pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 leek, washed and diced
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cup (400 ml) chicken stock
  • 3 cups (700 ml) water
  • 2 cups (500 ml) whipping cream


  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 pcs black peppercorns

Spiced cream:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) nutmeg
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) brown sugar

  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400° F. Toss chopped butternut squash in 1 tbsp canola oil and pinch of salt. Place on baking tray and roast until golden brown, around 25-30 minutes. Make sure to turn squash after every 5 minutes.

Once squash is roasted, set aside. To being soup, sweat onions and leek in remaining canola oil for 5 minutes on medium heat, make sure no colour is on vegetables by adjusting heat. Add garlic, cook for another 2 minutes.

Add potatoes, squash, chicken stock, and water into pot. Add sachet to soup. Cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes until potato is soft. 

Once soup is simmering, toast pumpking seeds on baking tray in 400° F oven for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, take out of oven and season with a pinch of salt.

Whip 1 cup of whipping cream to soft peaks, once cream starts to set add, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar, place back into fridge for later. 

Once potatoes are soft, discard sachet. Purée soup until no lumps remain, season with salt and rest of whipping cream. 

One ready to serve, place soup into bowls or cups, sprinkle pumpkin seeds onto soup and drop a dollop (large tablespoon) of spiced cream on soup.

To garnish, roast diced squash and pumpkin seeds. 

Pro-tip: Sachet ingredients are wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with butcher twine or coffee paper filter works as well. 

The French Pleat

Beyond the recipes, Seasons also incorporates tips for unique table settings and other hosting tricks, such as napkin folding.

The French Pleat 1. Lay napkin flat on the table, seam side up.
2. Pick up the corners of the napkin closest to your body.
The French Pleat 3. Fold napkin in half, horizontally, towards the middle of the table. Note: folded edge should face you.
The French Pleat 4. Fold the napkin in half again to form a square. Note: folded edge is still facing you.
The French Pleat 5. Rotate napkin into a diamond shape, with the folded edge facing your right arm.
The French Pleat 6. Take the top layer of the napkin and begin to roll it towards you.
The French Pleat 7. Continue rolling the top layer towards you until you have reached the centre of the diamond.
How to create a French Pleat

8. Take the next layer of the napkin and repeat step 6 and 7. Roll the second roll just until you reach the first roll, so both rolled layers are visible.

9. Take a third layer of the napkin and repeat step 6 and 7 so that you will have 3 rolls visible. Roll so both rolled layers are visible.

How to create a French Pleat 10. Turn the napkin over; ensure you hold onto the 3 rolls at both edges to make sure they don't unfold. Flip the napkin over, roll side down. Place in a diamond shape.
How to create a French Pleat 11. Fold the napkin in a left to right direction, one third of the napkin at a time until the rolls will reappear. (Facing upwards.)
How to create a French Pleat 12. This is what your napkin roll should look like.

How to create a French Pleat

Placement Suggestions:

  • Lay the napkin vertically on the plate between the forks and knives (as shown).
  • Place on top of a charger or side plate.
  • Tuck cutlery into folds and place beside plate.

Seasons is available for $40 from the Culinary Campus located on the 2nd floor of the Scotia Centre in downtown Calgary or at the Marketplace at SAIT’s main campus.

About SAIT Polytechnic

SAIT Polytechnic is one of Canada's most exciting destinations for post-secondary education, offering more than 100 career programs and over 1,000 part-time courses (including online and distance) that position people for success in technology, trades and business. A leader in innovation, SAIT also collaborates with industry on applied research and delivers corporate training worldwide. In 2013, SAIT was named one of Alberta's Top 60 Employers, the Top Research College in Canada and the Best Alberta Workplace for Training and Development.

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