If you like a challenge, are passionate about food and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, you will enjoy a career as a cook. As a cook, you will prepare food in eating establishments including hotels, restaurants, institutions, trains and ships. Their major responsibilities are nutrition, food costs and sanitation.
Depending on the establishment, you may be involved in studying menus to estimate food requirements and obtain the necessary food from storage or from suppliers, washing, peeling and cutting vegetables, cleaning and cutting meats, fish and poultry, and cleaning kitchen equipment and cooking utensils. You may also be involved in preparing, seasoning and cooking such foods as soups, salads, meats, fish, gravies, vegetables, desserts, sauces and casseroles, carving meats, preparing portions on a plate and add gravies, sauces and garnish to servings, or baking pastries. Throughout your career, your may also prepare buffets (e.g. platters, showpieces), prepare special diets, and overseeing menu planning, regulating stock control and supervising kitchen staff.
While specific duties vary depending upon the type of establishment, it will be your responsibility to prepare meals that are both appealing and nutritious.
This is a non-compulsory trade – individuals can work in the trade without certification if the employer deems the individual to have the skills of a journeyperson. However, individuals who are working in the trade and learning the trade must become a registered apprentice.
Start your career by finding an employer who is willing to indenture you as an apprentice or gain experience with our Professional Cooking diploma program. Cooks are employed in hotels, clubs, restaurants, catering firms, cafeterias, institutions, homes, high-class specialty food outlets, and isolated bases and camps. Cooks work under pressure and the work volume can be considerable. Shift work and having to work weekends and holidays is common.
As a journeyperson, you will likely make a wage between $15 - $25 and hour depending on your employer.
After becoming a journeyperson, you may advance to supervisory positions or take on new apprentices. They can become sous-chefs, chefs, executive chefs, banquet managers, food service administrators and coordinators, general managers or food editors. They can also achieve Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.), a highly respected level of certification. There are good prospects for travel both within Canada and abroad. Some journeypersons go on to run their own businesses – we can help you build your business with our Blue Seal business certificate or take our Culinary Entrepreneur Post-Diploma program.
Students who have the following characteristics see greater success in the roofing trade:
- Be fluent in English with reading and writing competency
- Have good basic mathematics skills
- Have a genuine interest in preparing food and working with people
- Be in good health and able to stand for long periods of time
- Have a keen sense of taste and smell
- Be ready to work as members of a team or independently
- Be willing to maintain the high standard of cleanliness necessary in any food establishment
- A commitment to safe work habits
Upon successfully completing the required working hours and technical training periods, graduates will be awarded journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training. This is a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada.
Admission and Completion
To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.
Entrance Requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Successful completion of the following courses:
- English 10-2
- Math 10-3
A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam
Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:
- English 30-2
- Math 30-3
- Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20
- Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
How to register
Registration for technical training is run through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Learn how you can register for your next intake.
After you register
Email is the primary source of communication after you have registered for your intake. Please ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
Apprentices in the cooking trade will spend 3 years (four 12-month periods) of on-the-job training and technical training at SAIT. Technical training will be 8 weeks each year.
|Find an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice|
|Apply as an apprentice with AIT and your employer|
|Sign contract and recieve record book|
|Written entrance examination or get approved for previous transcripts|
|Complete first period of on-the-job-training (1560 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend first period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass first period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete second period of on-the-job training (1560 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend second period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass second period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete third period of on-the-job training (1560 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend third period of on-the-job training (1560 hours)|
|Pass third period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Become a Journeyperson|
|Write and pass the Interprovincial Qualification Exam|
Technical Training Performance
To be successful in technical training, an apprentice must pass each section of the course and pass the AIT exam. The passing grade for each section in the course is a 65%. A passing mark on each Trade Qualification Exam and the Interprovincial Qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.
Domestic tuition and fees*
|Period||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||Saitsa fees||Lab & Material fees||2020/21 total|
Student support fee: $25
Student technology fee: $25
Books and supplies*
- There is an additional $75 fee for laundry services for this program.
- Books or modules along with other items for class average out to $600 per period.
- It is recommended that you do not purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes and they cannot be returned to the bookstore.
- Personal Protective Equipment will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.
*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
Membership to the SAIT Wellness centre - including an ice arena, swimming/diving pool, gymnasium, squash and racquetteball courts and eight room is available to apprentices at a discounted rate.
Financial planning tool
Our apprenticeship cost calculator can help you make a financial plan by identifying and adding up your expected expenses while attending SAIT — find out exactly how much money you need to save, seek or borrow to get you through your studies.
As someone who already had some experience and who didn’t want to leave the culinary industry for a lengthy period of time to go back to school, Kyle found the Apprenticeship Cook program to be the perfect fit. The classes gave him the skills and knowledge he used to eventually lead restaurant kitchens of his own.
“It equipped me well. It introduced me to techniques new to me at the time that I have continued to use and build upon from when I was at school,” he says.