Today’s menu: Convocation with a side of dreams fulfilled

Two chefs in a kitchen are looking at greens during meal preparation.
Chef Laetitia Chrapynski, from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, and Nancy Bezaire at the Culinary Diplomacy Event.

SAIT Culinary Arts grad Nancy Bezaire’s future is bright as she awaits convocation

Nancy Bezaire was ready to take on a new challenge, something that was just for her, when she heard about the Culinary Arts program at SAIT. After years spent running her own financial services education business, she was interested in diversifying her career.

Armed with a passion for cooking, cultivated by time spent in the kitchen with her grandmother at a young age, Nancy knew this program was just what she needed to launch her business as a personal chef.

“I’ve always loved cooking, so I looked into it and applied right then. I thought, why not me? I was scared and nervous on the first day. But I was excited, so I knew I was in the right place. I knew I was going to grow and learn new skills.”

Students met the instructors at orientation at the Highwood and hearing the Chefs’ stories helped ease Nancy’s nerves.

“I was sitting back watching things unfold when Chef Jan Hansen and Chef Vanessa Mendoza came over to introduce themselves. I was so excited to be there and then Chef Mendoza said, ‘we're excited to have you.’ It just kind of blossomed from there.”

Chef Hansen taught Nancy’s first class on fundamentals where his role as educator transitioned into a mentorship role over time. “He was always someone I could turn to and ask questions — he helped me so much along the way.”

Compliments to from the chef

The encouraging words and sound advice from instructors served as motivation for Nancy and her classmates to push further and exceed expectations as they worked through the program.   

“I received a lot of positive feedback from instructors on my approach to hard work and leadership skills. Recognizing that I did have the skillset needed, from cooking to customer service, I really saw how far I’d come over the course of the program. I learned so much, not only about cooking, but about other people and about myself.”

Left to right: James Overall, Dean, Hospitality and Tourism, Chef Vanessa Mendoza, Chef Rosalyn Ediger, Brandon Ngyuen, Nancy Bezaire, and Chef Jan Hansen.

With a range of on-campus workspaces utilized throughout the program, Nancy was particularly fond of the international kitchen. From the tandoor oven to an impressive wok station, the students are taught cooking methods from all over the world.

“It was like visiting a different country every day. Chef Kate Symes would bring a dish from whatever country we were learning about that day for us to enjoy before class.”

Rising to the occasion 🍞

Convocation is right around the corner and Nancy is looking forward to walking across the stage. “Some of my family members will be there — it is going to be an amazing day!”

She adds, “I’m really proud of the students who made it through the program and committed to a strong finish. It was a pleasure to be in class and hear my classmates’ stories and what it is they want to do, where they're working now and where they want to be in the future.

“My advice to other students is to follow your heart and work hard. Give it everything you've got. I’m looking forward to flexing my new skills, making meals for clients in the comfort of their own homes.”

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Strategic plan

a view of the moutains and stream in between

Oki, Âba wathtech, Danit'ada, Tawnshi, Hello.

SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.