May 25, 2024  
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog

Culinary Arts

Location(s): In Person (Main Campus)

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Led by renowned chefs, our two-year Culinary Arts program offers expert, hands-on instruction at one of the best culinary schools in Canada. Train alongside culinary pros, gaining expertise in foundational cooking, garde manger, global cuisines, patisserie, culinary management and other culinary techniques.  

Whether you want to be an executive chef, sous-chef, food stylist or pursue hotel and convention centre culinary opportunities, this program will prepare you. 

Our focus is your success with small class sizes, personalized support, and upgraded facilities, including the Charcuterie Lab and SAIT’s gourmet Marketplace. Real-world experiences at the Highwood restaurant, downtown Campus, and 4 Nines Dining Centre prepare you for the culinary industry. 

Under professional chefs’ guidance, develop essential cooking skills and stay updated with current trends through hands-on public cooking experiences, teamwork, and honing your professionalism and communication. You’ll attain skills beyond those taught at the average cooking school.  

You’ll be able to showcase your skills during your year-end capstone courses. After graduating, you can go on to take additional exams to become a Red Seal chef. 

Professional paid internship and study tours 

Participate in a paid internship in your third semester, gaining industry exposure and connections.  

Explore international destinations like Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Chile, and Thailand by participating in one of our optional study tours. 

Global recognition through chef competitions 

Compete locally and globally in culinary competitions, opening doors to a global career path.  

Our students have secured gold and silver in Provincial and National Skills, Canadian Chef Association competitions, and top-three rankings in competitions worldwide, including France, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto over the last several years.  

SAIT graduates have even competed in the prestigious Top Chef Canada competition. Whatever your culinary dreams and goals, this program will prepare you to bring the heat.  

Traits, skills and aptitudes

Those who work in culinary arts tend to be directive, methodical and innovative. 

You need: 

  • a genuine love of food and cuisine 
  • artistic and creative talent 
  • good health and stamina 
  • a keen sense of taste and smell 
  • excellent hand-eye coordination 
  • strong math skills 
  • a memory for details 
  • communication skills, interpersonal skills and team-building skills 
  • the ability to remain calm in hectic circumstances 
  • the ability to stand for long periods 
  • willingness to work evenings and weekends or irregular hours 
  • organizational skills 
  • respect for food safety standards. 

You should enjoy planning and organizing menus, supervising the work of others, and using tools and equipment to perform tasks. 

Academic path

This program aligns with the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) curriculum for all three technical training periods for Cooks.

You can challenge the first-year provincial exam after completing your first year, the second-year exam after completing your third and fourth semesters (provided you passed the first-year government exam), and the third-year exam after graduation (provided you passed the first and second-year government exams.) 

Upon passing the exams, you can register as an apprentice and complete the 4,680 on-the-job training hours to earn your journeyperson designation. 

Practicum, co-op and work integrated learning opportunities

During your third semester, you’ll participate in a professional paid internship for a minimum of 240 hours.  

During your internship, you’ll learn in a real-world environment while you develop valuable industry connections and network with future employers. 

You can also broaden your horizons and take advantage of exciting international study tours. Previous tour locations include Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Chile, and Thailand. Study tours are optional and have additional costs. 

Finally, you’ll participate in a year-end capstone project, where you’ll showcase and demonstrate your skills. 


After successfully completing this program, you’ll receive a SAIT Culinary Arts diploma.

Program length

2 years

Accepts international applicants - PGWP-eligible

This program accepts international applicants and meets the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program, as long as the student is registered in on-campus classes or completes more than 50% of the courses on campus (for blended options). 

International students attending all classes online will NOT be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. International students are responsible for maintaining their eligibility throughout their studies. 

Not eligible for CAJG

This program is not eligible for the Canada Alberta Job Grant

Related careers

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Potential careers (NOC):

  • Restaurant and food service managers (60030)
  • Food service supervisors (62020)
  • Chefs (62200)
  • Cooks (63200)
  • Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (65201)

Admission requirements - Applicants educated in Canada

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet all the following requirements or equivalents:

  • at least 50% in English Language Arts 10-1, English Language Arts 10-2 or Humanities 10, and
  • at least 50% in Math 10C or Math 10-3.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.

Admission requirements - Applicants educated outside of Canada

All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find accepted educational documents and assessment options

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.

Program outline

The Culinary Arts diploma requires 73.5 credits (25 courses) to complete.

The program spans two years, with two semesters each year.

Suggested schedule of study


You must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better each semester and pass the prerequisite courses to progress through the program.

To qualify for graduation, you must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure > 

Books and supplies

Books and supplies are approximately $900. You will need to purchase these in your first week.

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

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore’s website. The booklist will be available close to your start date. 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 is required for that term.

Required equipment/tools

You must purchase a professional knife kit.

The cost is $200 and must be purchased through a dedicated website.

You will receive an email one month before your start date to purchase the kit by credit card.

Required uniform

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

Culinary Arts uniform

Your uniform includes:

  • Hair net. All hair must be tucked into your hairnet.
  • Chef’s hat
  • Necktie
  • Chef’s whites
  • Name tag
  • Waist apron
  • Chef’s pants
  • Chef’s clogs or non-slip shoes

Jewelry, including rings, bracelets and dangling earrings, are not to be worn in class. Wedding bands, stud earrings and watches are acceptable.

Your Chef’s jacket, waist apron and pants are provided with an annual laundry fee of $250 (included in your tuition) and issued twice weekly from laundry in the John Ware building. Facemasks will also be supplied.

Your Chef’s hat, necktie, hairnets and gloves (included in the tool kit) are available from The Market Place.

SAIT will have a vendor on site on the Orientation day selling professional non-slip kitchen shoes, but shoes can also be purchased at any professional shoe vendor. We suggest buying a clog-style shoe.

Wearing your uniform to class is mandatory.

Internship fees

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 most of your tuition is due in August and January.

Optional study tour

There is an optional international study tour between the first and second years. If interested, you should budget approximately $3,500.

Hospitality and Tourism program advising

For any questions or to set up an advising appointment, please contact our School of Hospitality and Tourism.

Phone: 403.210.4343

Program outcomes

  1. Technical skills - demonstrate technical competency in a variety of production-based environments in professional cooking.
  2. Menu creation - create high-quality menu items using professional cooking skills, techniques and artistry.
  3. Recipe creation - create recipes to meet client preferences and dietary restrictions.
  4. Food and beverage foundation - apply foundational food and beverage knowledge.
  5. Meat portion cut/meat processing - prepare cuts and portions for meat production.
  6. Emerging technologies - demonstrate knowledge of current and emerging culinary trends and technology.
  7. Equipment safety - operate and maintain equipment efficiently and safely.
  8. Health and safety regulation - adhere to the professional cooking industry’s current health and safety regulations.
  9. Culinary management - demonstrate competency in culinary management.
  10. Financial foundation - apply financial tools and principles to product costing and viable day-to-day culinary operations.
  11. Brand development - demonstrate social media competency to build personal and professional brand.
  12. Culinary operation foundation - apply foundational knowledge in sustainability related to culinary operations.
  13. Professional communication - adapt professional behaviour and respectfully communicate with people of diverse backgrounds and points of view.
  14. Customer service - demonstrate a hospitality mindset focusing on guest experience and problem-solving with the guest’s needs in mind.
  15. Client experience - support a healthy lifestyle by adopting effective strategies to balance demanding industry needs with personal values and priorities

Graduate outcomes

A. Safety - awareness of safety standards relevant to the workplace.

  • Safety awareness

B. Responsible leadership - personal, ethical and respectful behaviour within the workplace and global community.

  • Teamwork and multi-disciplinary collaboration
  • Self-initiative
  • Ethical reasoning and action
  • Global awareness
  • Sustainability

C. Communication - the exchange of information professionally and effectively.

  • Language skills
  • Interpersonal skills

D. Information literacy - the strategies used to become informed, from recognizing an information need to accessing and evaluating information and using it effectively and ethically.

  • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Technological literacy

E. Technical knowledge, skills and abilities - technical competence specific to the discipline or industry.

  • Specialized technical skill set

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