Program Chair, Culinary Arts
Vinod Varshney graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, but his interest in the food and hospitality industry led him to enrol in the Institute of Hotel Management in Mumbai, India. He conducted his apprenticeship at the Oberoi Intercontinental Hotel in New Delhi before taking a position as commis patissier (pastry cook) with Mövenpick Restaurants in Stuttgart, Germany. He moved to Canada to take a position as pastry chef as the Regal Constellation Hotel in Toronto, followed by the Four Seasons Sheraton. Travelling west, Vinod worked at the Jasper Park Lodge before coming to Edmonton to work at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald and then the prestigious Petroleum Club.
Extending his accomplished career as a journeyman cook and baker, Vinod has spent the past 22 years as an instructor in NAIT’s Culinary Arts program. He is also an active member in the Edmonton branch of the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CCFCC). Some of his professional achievements include a stint as the Director of the Alberta Culinary Arts Foundation, winner of Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence Award in both 1994 and 2001, CCFCC Chef of the Year award in 1996, CCFCC Outstanding Member award in 2007 and Chef of the West Award in 2008.
Since 2000, Vinod has been the manager of the very successful Culinary Team NAIT, and over the years, he has also been the coach, assistant manager and manager of Student Team Alberta and Culinary Team Canada. His teams have participated in competitions and Culinary Olympics both nationally and worldwide, including Toronto, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Chicago, Berlin, Luxembourg, Glasgow, Singapore and Erfurt, Germany. In these competitions, Vinod has led his teams to 27 gold, 18 silver and 7 bronze medals in both group and individual categories, including Grand Gold in 2000 and World Champions in 2001 with Culinary Team Canada.