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Professional Cooking

Closed for Fall 2020

Length: 2 years Credential: Diploma Delivery: Full Time Classroom

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This program will be delivered in a blended format for the Fall 2020 term. The majority of courses will take place online, with certain labs and hands-on learning scheduled on campus.


Explore the world of culinary arts — from fundamental cooking techniques to patisserie — through hands-on instruction and action-based learning inside SAIT’s on-campus restaurants. Prepare for a career as a chef, kitchen manager or food stylist.

Considered the best in Canada, the Professional Cooking program at SAIT is delivered by world-renowned chefs who provide expert, hands-on training. In just two short years you will have the opportunity to train and interact with 20 leading culinary professionals - an amazing experience for anyone passionate about the culinary arts.

During this full-time two year program, you will be trained in all aspects of the culinary trade including foundational cooking techniques, Garde manger, culinary perspectives and patisserie. In an industry experiencing high demand, graduates from SAIT’s Professional Cooking program gain valuable, real-life experience and are well prepared for a diverse range of options in the dynamic culinary world.

At SAIT, we are focused on our students’ success and deliver on this promise through small class sizes, a personalized approach and state-of-the-art facilities. Our classrooms and labs have recently received $7 million in upgrades including the new Michelle O’Reilly Charcuterie Lab, SAIT’s gourmet Market Place, the downtown Culinary Campus and our own culinary garden - Jackson’s Garden. Operating in live classroom environments such as the renowned Highwood restaurant and 4 Nines Dining Centre provides real-world experience that readies you for success in the culinary industry.

As a student, you will learn essential cooking skills and current trends through repetitive production style cooking for the public under the watchful eyes of our professional chefs - just like you would in a real kitchen. The capstone of the program is cooking for the public in the award-winning Highwood restaurant and the bustling downtown Culinary Campus where you will prepare world-class cuisine in a live classroom environment.

Professional paid internship and study tours

Between your first and second year of study, you will get to apply your skills in the industry through a professional paid internship. In addition to learning in a real-world environment, internships provide valuable connections and opportunities to network with future employers.

As a student, you can also take advantage of exciting international study tours. Previous tour locations have included Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Chile and Thailand.

Global recognition through chef competitions

SAIT’s Professional Cooking program will give you the skills for a global career path and opportunities to work in the world’s finest dining establishments. You also have the option to compete in skills and culinary competitions - both locally and internationally.

Our students have won gold and silver in Provincial and National Skills in addition to the Canadian Chef Association competitions. Our students have also competed in Hong Kong and Singapore over the last several years placing in the top three.

Is this the right fit for me?

Most successful students spend approximately 20 hours per week doing homework and review, with additional study required to prepare for exams.

Keep in mind hospitality industry hours can range from early morning to late in the evening and often include holidays. For example, our cold food prep classes start at 7 am and dinner service at the Highwood ends at 10 pm.

The culinary industry is fast-paced with a focus on customer service.

The material is presented at a fairly rapid rate. For the greatest level of success, you must be present and take responsibility for your learning experience.

You must be able to read, write and comprehend the English language at a level exceeding basic conversational English.

Students with higher grades in high school usually experience more success in SAIT programs.


Alberta Apprenticeship has accredited this program for all three technical training periods.

Students are still required to complete 4,680 hours of paid work experience and must successfully challenge all three provincial exams before considered eligible for the Red Seal exam and designation.

Students in the Professional Cooking program can challenge:

  • the first-year government exam after successful completion of their first year in the diploma program
  • the second-year government exam after successful completion of the third and fourth semesters provided they passed the first-year government exam
  • the third-year government exam after successful completion of the Professional Cooking diploma provided they passed the first and second-year government exams.


After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT diploma in Professional Cooking.

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Career opportunities

Graduates can pursue job opportunities in restaurants, hotels and convention centres. Potential positions include: 

  • executive chef 
  • sous-chef 
  • chef de partie 
  • banquet chef 
  • Garde manger 
  • chef de cuisine 
  • kitchen manager 

Related careers include: 

  • food stylist 
  • educator 

Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $7,509
Year 2: $6,960

Year 1 (International): $23,967
Year 2 (International): $21,931

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change

Full costs
Tuition and financial aid


This is a competitive program. If applicants meet the admission requirements they will be assessed based on additional criteria. Applicants will be offered admission to this program if they’re qualified through the competitive process and space is available.

Admission Requirements

When can you apply?

  • Application dates for fall 2021 are coming soon! 
Term Program start
Fall 2021

How to apply

Recipe for a helping hand

SAIT instructors and alumni team up with members of local food scene to bring lunches to vulnerable youth

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements

A minimum of 35 Alberta high school credits with at least 50% in the following courses or their equivalents:

  • English Language Arts 10-1 or English Language Arts 10-2 or Humanities 10
  • Math 10C or Math 10-3 or Pure Math 10 or Applied Math 10.

All applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission. If you don't meet the requirements, consider Academic Upgrading.

SAIT evaluates international documents for admissions. After you've applied, consider our  international document assessment service if your education is from outside of Canada. 

Competitive entry: seven-step process

Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.

Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the admission requirements listed above.

Step 3: Review the selection information to understand the process and deadlines. 

In the selection process, qualified applicants will be invited to attend an interview with representatives of the Professional Cooking program. Offers of admission will be determined based on the interview.

  • We encourage applicants to apply early as the program will fill quickly. Once the program is full, qualified applicants will be waitlisted.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with industry experience.
  • International students and students applying from outside of Calgary will be able to conduct the interview over the phone.
  • Failure to attend an interview will result in your status changing to “Declined through Selection”. If this happens and you are still interested in the program, then you must contact 403-284-8612 and speak to the Academic Advisor.

Step 4: Apply to Professional Cooking and submit your transcripts.

Step 5: Log in to mySAIT.ca to check your admission status. If eligible, your status will indicate that you're "In Selection."

Step 6: Check your e-mail for an e-mail from the School of Hospitality and Tourism to arrange for and attend an interview. You must contact the School of Hospitality and Tourism within 10 business days to book an interview.

Step 7: Continue to monitor changes to your application status through mySAIT.ca.

Failure to meet anticipated final grades will result in offers being rescinded

Communication during selection

Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. 

We recommend you add culinary@sait.ca and the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.


Program outline

Looking for course descriptions and requisites? Visit the course catalogue

First year

Semester 1

Course Code Course Name Credit
COOK-202 Culinary Fundamentals 3.0
COOK-227 Soups and Sauces 3.0
COOK-235 Dinner Cookery 3.0
COOK-253 Meat Preparation 3.0
COOK-267 Baking and Yeast Goods 3.0
Semester 1 Total 15.0

Semester 2

Course Code Course Name Credit
COOK-207 Breakfast Cookery 3.0
COOK-217 Vegetables and Starches 3.0
COOK-223 Cold Kitchen 3.0
COOK-233 Lunch Cookery 3.0
COOK-263 Line Cook 3.0
Semester 2 Total 15.0

Semester 3 (between the first and second year)

Course Code Course Name Credit
PRAC-287 Professional Internship 3.0
Semester 3 Total 3.0
First Year Total 33.0

Second year

Semester 4

Course Code Course Name Credit
COMM-363 Workplace Communication Skills 1.5
COOK-303 Lunch á la Carte 3.0
COOK-307 Patisserie 3.0
FDBS-323 Food and Wine Pairing 1.5
FDBS-327 Food and Beverage Service 3.0
NUTR-313 Nutrition and Home Meal Replacement 3.0
Semester 4 Total 15.0

Semester 5

Course Code Course Name Credit
COOK-317 Dinner á la Carte 3.0
COOK-333 Garde Manger 3.0
COOK-350 Culinary Perspectives 3.0
COOK-352 Market Food Production and Costing  3.0
FDPM-353 Supervision and Event Planning 3.0
Semester 5 Total 15.0
Second Year Total 30.0
Program Total 63.0


Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Transfer options

The opportunity to advance your education through transfer to, within or from SAIT is available with the following universities and colleges:

  • Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training
  • University of New Brunswick, Saint John
  • Vancouver Island University
  • Yukon College

To learn more, visit Transfer Options


Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2020/21 total
1 $ 6,287 $682 $288 $252 $ 7,509
2 $ 5,738 $682 $288 $252 $ 6,960

International Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2020/21 total
1 $22,654 $682 $288 $344 $23,967
2 $20,618 $682 $288 $344 $21,931

*Fees and tuition are based on a two-semester full course load structure.


Campus athletic and recreation Fee: $171.20
Universal transit pass (UPass): $310 - Check eligibility here.
Student support fee: $100
Student technology fee: $100

Health and Dental Fees

Domestic Students 

  • Health Plan: $122
  • Dental Plan: $130
  • For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the Saitsa website for information on opting out.

International Students 

  • Health and Dental Plan: $344
  • For more information on Health and Dental Benefits for International students please contact the International Centre.

Books and Supplies*

  • Books and supplies are approximately $750.
  • Laundry fee - $250 is included in the above total

Find out about tuition and financial aid.

* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.

Next steps for incoming students

Have you been accepted to this program? Here's what you'll need for your first day of classes.

Important dates and deadlines

Find important dates applicable to all students, including your transcript and tuition payment deadlines on our Important Dates page.

Important Dates

How to register for classes

You'll follow a fixed block registration process to enrol in your classes. Learn how to register on our registration and schedules page.

Computers and laptops

This is a bring your own device program with a standard hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page

Required equipment/tools

Your knife tool kit ($525) can be optionally purchased on orientation day and within the first week of classes at the Market Place in the John Ware building

Required uniform

One of your first steps to becoming a student in the Professional Cooking diploma program is to be sure you have the required attire on your first day of class and dress appropriately throughout the entire program.

Chef's jacket, waist apron and pants (your Chef's uniform) are provided with an annual laundry fee of $250 and issued twice weekly from laundry in the John Ware building.

Facemasks will also be supplied.

Chef's hat, necktie, hairnets and gloves (included in the tool kit) are available for purchase from the Market Place.

Chef's clogs ($90 - $140) may be purchased from the SAIT Bookstore. Invest in good quality, comfortable chef's clogs — you will be on your feet all day in this program and in your career.

Tips for success:

  • Our main goal is to prepare you for the real world in a hands-on, production-style environment.
  • Most successful students spend approximately 20 hours per week doing homework and review, with additional study required to prepare for exams.
  • Keep in mind, hospitality industry hours can range from early morning to late in the evening and often include holidays. For example, our cold food prep classes start at 6:30 am and dinner service at The Highwood restaurant ends at 10 pm.
  • The culinary industry is fast-paced with a strong focus on customer service.

Preparation courses

To support your success, SAIT offers some short courses before classes start, including PREP 100: The SAIT Experience and ETHI 110: SAIT Ethical Practices. 

Required textbooks

The booklist will be available about two weeks before classes start.

Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck, no textbook purchase required this term.

Anticipated supply costs: You will need to purchase books and program supplies in your first week. Your books and supplies will cost approximately $900. This is not included in your tuition.

Internship: Internship course fees are due in May of your first year (approximately $553 for domestic students.) This is included in the overall tuition listed in the fee table, however, it often comes as a surprise since the bulk of your tuition is due in August and January.

Optional international study tour: There is an optional international study tour between the first and second year. Interested students should budget approximately $3,500.


Phone: 403.210.4343
Email: andy.trache@sait.ca

Academic chair

Georg Windisch, Academic Chair, Professional Cooking Year One
Phone: 403.774.5063
Email: georg.windisch@sait.ca

Rupert Kaupp, Academic Chair, Professional Cooking Year Two
Phone: 403.284.8942
Email: rupert.kaupp@sait.ca

Have questions about this program?

Contact us at

School of Hospitality and Tourism

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