NAIT to build Centre for Culinary Innovation for product research and development

NAIT to build Centre for Culinary Innovation for product research and development

Published on December 13, 2018

Chefs will work with food producers and businesses in state-of-the-art research kitchen

EDMONTON – A new Centre for Culinary Innovation at NAIT will see culinary experts and food-related businesses work together to develop new and better food products.

The facility on NAIT’s main campus will include six high-tech kitchen stations. It will be next to NAIT’s award-winning fine dining restaurant, Ernest’s, on 118 Avenue just west of 106 Street. The $2.55 million centre is expected to be complete by summer 2019.

The Centre for Culinary Innovation’s certified research chef, Maynard Kolskog, is already working with local food producers and manufacturers on product development and innovation in his current test kitchen. The new centre will expand the scope and scale of this work with business and industry.

For example, Kolskog is working with Edmonton company Honest Dumplings to prevent its dough from cracking, to develop natural, vegetable-based colourants and to produce a gluten-free dough. The company, which last year sold its dumplings at five locations, has grown to more than 40 Alberta locations in the past year.

Funding for construction of the Centre for Culinary Innovation includes $1 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and $1 million from the Government of Alberta. An additional $2 million grant over five years for operations came from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


  • The centre will focus on four areas:
  • Enhanced food experiences (using novel ingredients, new techniques and flavours)
  • Nutrition and health (developing “free-from”, “low-in” and “high-in” food products)
  • Sustainability (using by-products, alternative proteins and local foods)
  • Kitchen efficiency (improving automation, reducing energy and water use)
  • This fall, NAIT launched Industry Solutions, an approach to working with industry on product and business innovations, technology adoption, training and certification and applied research. The Centre for Culinary Innovation is one of five applied research centres at NAIT, providing solutions to industry challenges.


Dana Gibson, Director of Business Development, NAIT Centre for Culinary Innovation
“We want to build on NAIT’s culinary reputation and our expertise in finding solutions for industry. The time is now to invest in agri-foods and add value to the crops Alberta produces, which are some of the best in the world.”

Maynard Kolskog, Certified Research Chef at NAIT’s Centre for Culinary Innovation
“We’re doing both the research and the food development. We can create the recipe, we can help develop the product and we’re doing the actual research behind it all.”

Genia Rodnyansky, Creative Director, Honest Dumplings
“Working with Maynard has helped us solve challenges as we’ve been scaling up and commercializing our production process … I think a lot of businesses are at a similar stage where you really need that knowledge but you can’t afford to have someone in-house who has that expertise, so it’s valuable to be able to get it on a consultation basis.”

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 40,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to the provincial economy. NAIT also contributes to Alberta’s prosperity by helping business and industry become more competitive with Industry Solutions offered through its Productivity and Innovation Centre, including technology adoption, business and product innovation and industry-driven research. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

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