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Professional Cooking

Closed for Fall 2019

Length: 2 Years
Credential: Diploma
Available: Full Time Classroom

Program Highlights

Explore the world of the 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.

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Tuition and Fees Per Year*

Year 1: $6,524
Year 2: $6,020
Year 1 (International): $21,352
Year 2 (International): $19,500

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


You will be offered admission to this program if you meet the admission requirements and qualify through competitive entry. Competitive entry is based on an interview with representatives of the Professional Cooking program. 

When can you apply?

  • Applications for fall 2019 are accepted Oct. 3, 2018 until July 1, 2019
TermProgram start
Fall 2019 Sept. 3, 2019 

Check us out

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.

Program Details

Program description

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 playing in the top three.

Your career

You will be prepared for a diverse range of career options in restaurants, hotels and convention centres after graduation. You may find work locally or abroad as a(n):

  • executive chef
  • sous-chef
  • chef de partie
  • banquet chef
  • garde manger
  • chef de cuisine
  • kitchen manager
  • food stylist
  • educator

Graduates of the Professional Cooking program have a 99% employment rate.

Student success

  • 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 7:00 a.m. and dinner service at the Highwood ends at 10 p.m.
  • 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.

Credentials and accreditation

  • After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT diploma in Professional Cooking.
  • Upon successful completion of the Professional Cooking program, students have the opportunity to apply for a post-diploma certificate in Culinary Entrepreneurship.
  • Alberta Apprenticeship has accredited this program for all three technical training periods.
  • Students are still required to complete 4680 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.

For more information contact the School of Hospitality and Tourism.

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.

Admission Requirements

Admission and selection

  • Fall 2019 start: applications are accepted Oct. 3, 2018, until July 1, 2019.

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, AND
  • 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 of information to understand the process and deadlines.

  • Applications and proof of the admission requirements (transcripts and/or anticipated final grades) along with all supporting documents must be submitted by July 1 to be included in the selection.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who apply prior to April 1 and have industry experience or food training.

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.

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: Attend the 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. 

Additional information


Program Outline

View additional Professional Cooking program information including course-specific descriptions and requisites.

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.


Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees 2018/19 total
1 $5,539 $462 $523 $6,524
2 $5,036 $462 $523 $6,020

International Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees 2018/19 total
1 $20,367 $462 $523 $21,352
2 $18,516 $462 $523 $19,500


Campus Athletic and Recreation Fee: $160
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): $302

SAIT Students' Association Fees

Health Plan: $110**
Dental Plan: $125**
SAIT Students' Association (SAITSA): $288

Books and Supplies*

  • Books and supplies are approximately $750.

Find out about tuition and financial aid.

* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
** For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the SAITSA website for information on opting out.


School of Hospitality and Tourism

Inspiring Stories

Chondra comes from a family that likes to cook! She hopes to eventually open her own restaurant with her family members and share their passion together. 

Ben has always wanted to be a chef, looking up to the likes of Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsay. He's now pursuing his Red Seal and hopes to go to the United States to find a career. 

Tasmina fell in love with SAIT after attending as a student for a day and it deepened through the Professional Cooking program. She praised her instructors for their varying backgrounds and key connections in the industry. Through these - and her hard work - she was able to get an internship at the Quail's Gate Winery in Kelowna. 

A diploma in hand has led to an incredible career for Rosalyn, who used her cooking skills to feed the likes of cabinet ministers and then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, among other opportunities. She says her instructors taught her that being different is a good thing.

Accolades have flowed for Paul since he was a student at SAIT and continue as his restaurant, Rouge, has garners local, national and international recognition, including a place on the coveted San Pellegrino list of best restaurants in the world. His time at SAIT continues to benefit him today, he says.

Chondra Caguiat
Professional Cooking | 2018

"You get to see front of house as well as back of house and the whole side of event planning and catering," she says. "It gives you a really diverse view on the whole industry, not just the kitchen itself." 

Ben Miles
Professional Cooking | 2018

"The chefs are so great and nice and knowledgeable and helpful," he says. "They made it a good time." 

Tasmina Begum
Professional Cooking | 2017

"It prepared us for the industry. You know what you're going into."

Rosalyn Ediger
Professional Cooking | 2014

“SAIT instructors encourage students to try new things and not to be too concerned about doing something wrong,” she says.

Paul Rogalski
Professional Cooking | 2014

“The ongoing support I’ve been offered by SAIT has opened doors – from having a relationship of trust with instructors to having new young hires to bring into our system.”

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