Distinguished Alumnus puts slow food on the fast track
Already this year, Rouge Restaurant — co-owned by Paul Rogalski — has been named #1 in Avenue Magazine's list of Calgary's Top 10 Restaurants and included on the list of Canada's Best 100 Restaurants.
But Chef Rogalski's name is also included on an equally prestigious list: he was named a SAIT Distinguished Alumnus in 2014.
"It's a huge honour and a career highlight for me," says Rogalski, who graduated from the Professional Cooking program in 1986.
And, Rogalski adds, meeting his fellow recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Stephen Harke (AXT '89, AMT '82), has helped him appreciate the strength of SAIT programs and the accomplishments of SAIT alumni.
"I'm a big fan of our city, and a big fan of SAIT's culinary program," says Rogalski. "But meeting my fellow Alumni Award recipients and learning of their accomplishments has opened my eyes to SAIT's many phenomenal programs and phenomenal people."
That awareness is an important element in SAIT's annual Alumni Awards, says Brian Bowman, Director of Alumni and Development.
"SAIT has more than 214,000 alumni, and the strength of our reputation is reflected every year in the achievements of those nominated for our Alumni Awards," says Bowman. "In celebrating their successes, we are showcasing the many ways SAIT alumni are making a difference in communities in Calgary and beyond."
Fostering distinction in the next generation
Rogalski is renowned for his support of the Slow Food movement and of sustainable fish and seafood. His restaurants host countless fundraising events in support of local charities and, every year, he speaks to SAIT students at the annual HOSPO Career Day.
As someone who hires young SAIT graduates, Rogalski also knows that SAIT's Outstanding Young Alumni Award helps establish a timeline of success.
"Distinguished Alumni are deep into their careers and have had a chance to really contribute to the community. I think the Outstanding Young Alumni are on the same path," says Rogalski.
He points to the 2014 Young Alumni — Catherine Oshanek (a Journalism grad), Rosalyn Ediger (a Professional Cooking grad) and Adam Loria (a grad of the Emergency Medical Technology —Paramedic program).
"What they have achieved in such a short period of time is definitely worthy of recognition," says Rogalski.
Nominations for the 2015 SAIT Alumni Awards are open until Thursday, April 30.
Visit the Alumni Awards page for more information and to fill in the online nomination form.