I recently came to the conclusion I can’t cook…that well. I have a few select dishes I know how to make, and a ‘fancy’ dish I break out for special occasions (which isn’t really that fancy). I came to this conclusion when unpacking my grocery bags and realizing my grocery shopping habits were pretty much on repeat; I was buying the same things over and over again as I didn’t know enough about the other items sold at the grocery store.
This conclusion could not have come at a better time, as I found out SAIT had recently opened a new downtown culinary campus. I was happy to learn they taught whole courses, as well as singular classes, on cooking. I decided to sign up for their Introduction to Cooking course and put an end to my boring cooking habits.
Five weeks later and $400 poorer (totally worth it), I am a cooking God…not really, but I do have a much better understanding of how to cook. The course took us through the fundamentals of cooking in a fast-paced and hands-on way. The instructors (who were very attentive and patient) taught us how to make multiple dishes per class. As an added bonus, we were able to take them all home too.
I got the chance to sit down for a short interview with Chef Michael Dekker, former executive Chef of Rouge, and the man leading the new downtown campus. I was interested to find out why SAIT decided to expand their business downtown and what offerings the new campus brings.
Q: What was the main reason for the expansion?
There is quite a long wait list to get into the culinary program, so expanding our facilities is allowing us to accept more students. We are also able to create evening classes that cater to an after-work crowd.
Q: Will the original campus still be used for evening classes?
We are moving the majority of them to this downtown location as it’s easier for people to get to after work. We will still run the summer kids camps at the original location.
Q: How long did it take to build and open the downtown campus?
It was about a two to three year process; a relatively short time considering the venue.
Q: What has the response been to the new campus so far?
We have had an amazing response so far. Our downtown clientele has been very responsive to the location and classes offered. The location also makes it easier for companies to participate in the team building programs we run.
Q: Are there any new classes being offered at the downtown campus?
Our 45-minute Rush Hour class. Instructors show students how to prepare healthy weekday meals and leave them with the ingredients to whip the recipe up at home.
Q: Are there any other things planned for SAIT culinary in the future?
We just want to refine the courses we offer and cater to public demand.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to improve their cooking skills. I know my trips to the grocery store will never be boring again!
Photos by Irene Seto.