Carving out a new career
Jamie Arends clearly remembers the moment he decided to change careers.
"I was an accountant and my job was cost control, working with kitchen managers in six different hotels. I saw how passionate they all were about what they were doing — and I realized I wasn't passionate about what I was doing," he says. "That's when I made the change."
Arends enrolled in SAIT's Butchery and Charcuterie Management program where, he says, he's learned more than just a new trade.
"At first, I had no kitchen experience and no practical cutting skills. This program put me so far out of my comfort zone that I've really grown while being here. I feel much more confident as a person."
And, although he hasn't quite completed his studies, Arends is already working in a butcher shop. Every now and then, though, his number-crunching background returns — like when he thinks about the donors who support the Butchery and Charcuterie program.
Arends studies in a lab that was supported by the Michelle O'Reilly Charcuterie Lab — a world-class facility on campus that allows students to remain on the cutting edge of industry. The lab was funded in memory of Michelle O'Reilly, a graduate of SAIT's Professional Cooking program who passed away in 2011.
"This program requires a lot of resources, such as meat and equipment," Arends says. "Students are fortunate that much of the beef we work with and the machinery we use have been generously donated to the program."