Chef in Residence

Connecting students with culinary pros

Thanks to a generous gift from John and Susan Hokanson in 2009, NAIT launched the Hokanson Chef in Residence program. The first of its kind in Canada, the program provides students in NAIT's Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies with the rare opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the best chefs in the world.

This ongoing program brings culinary authorities from around the world to NAIT to share their insights and expertise with students and faculty. The goal of the Chef in Residence program is to expose students to innovative cooking techniques and diverse culinary trends and styles.

Guest Chef in Residence

The Guest Chef in Residence is a celebrity chef who is well-known to the industry, food educators, and the general public. They have diverse industry experience including successful restaurant ownership, TV appearances, published books and articles, and affiliations with global and national food organizations. 

During their short-term residency, ranging from 3 to 5 days, the guest Chef in Residence will participate in hands-on lessons with students, give presentations and demonstrations, and participate in special events. 

The Guest Chef in Residence is identified, vetted and selected by the Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies.

Chef in Residence Week 2024

Chef Blair Lebsack will be joining NAIT Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies students as 2024's Guest Chef in Residence.

 Learn more about the 2024 Chef in Residence

Book your reservations 

NAIT's Hokanson Chefs in Residence program over the years

For more than a decade, NAIT students have had the unique opportunity to learn from the following culinary masters: 

  • Connie DeSousa and John Jackson Chefs and co owners, CHARCUT, Calgary, Alberta
  • Jeremy Charles Chef and co-owner, Raymonds, St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • David Hawksworth Chef and owner, Hawksworth, Nightingale and Bel Café
  • Rod Butters Chef and owner, RauDZ Regional Table, Micro Bar • Bites, and Sunny’s in Kelowna, B.C. and Terrafina at Hester Creek in Oliver, B.C.
  • Amanda Cohen Chef and owner, Dirt Candy in New York City, New York
  • Vikram Vij Chef and owner Vij’s Restaurant, Vij’s Rangoli, Vij’s Sutra in Vancouver, British Columbia and Vij’s Shanti in Surrey, B.C.
  • Michael Stadtländer Owner and chef, Eigensinn Farm
  • Lynn Crawford Chef and owner, Ruby WatchCo  in Toronto, Ontario
  • Chris Cosentino Chef and co-owner, Cockscomb in San Francisco, California, Jackrabbit in Portland, Oregon and Acacia House in Napa Valley, California. 
  • Massimo Capra Chef and owner, Mistura Restaurant, Sopra Upper Lounge, Boccone Trattoria Veloce, Boccone Pronto in Toronto, and Soprafino Restaurant in Doha, Qatar.
  • Susur Lee Chef and owner, Lee, Bent, Luckee, Lee Kitchen and Fring’s in Toronto and TungLok Heen in Singapore
  • David Adjey Author, Deconstructing The  Dish: Inspirations For Modernday Cuisine and Heart and Soul Cuisine from the Estates of Sunnybrook
  • Rob Feenie Test Kitchen Chef, Cactus Club Cafe, locations across Canada​

A brief history of the NAIT Hokanson Chefs in Residence

A snapshot of the culinary personalities of a unique culinary program

Alumni Chef Series

NAIT's Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies is fortunate to call many of Edmonton's finest chefs and culinary leaders alumni. 

Starting in 2021, alumni chefs have agreed to participate in our Alumni Chef in Residence program by filming short demonstrations at their respective restaurants. Our students and faculty are then able to view, discuss, and then implement the dishes (where applicable) into the lab components for the students to prepare. 

Featured alumni chefs 2023

  • Alexei Boldireff – Culinary Arts '10, Professional Meat Cutting Merchandising '11 - Chef for Catering at Freson Bros.
  • Jason Wang – Baking '07 – Pastry Chef at Edmonton Convention Centre

Featured alumni chefs 2022

  • Steve Buzak – Culinary Arts '98, Executive Chef – Royal Glenora Club
  • Paul Shufelt – NAIT Cook Apprentice '01, Corporate Chef – Robert Spencer Hospitality
  • Christine Sandford – Culinary Arts '07, Executive Chef – Biera
  • Tamara Solon – Culinary Arts '16, Executive Chef – Chartier

Featured alumni chefs 2021

  • Rosario Caputo  – Culinary Arts '06, Owner/Executive Chef Cibo Bistro – 2011-2021
  • Andrew Fung – Baking and Pastry Arts '98, Cook Apprentice 2002 – Owner of Nineteen XIX
  • Davina Moraiko  – Culinary Arts '05, Executive Chef at Rge Rd since 2013
  • Jacob Pelletier  – Culinary Arts '07, Owner/Operator at Duchess Bake Shop
  • Lindsey Porter – Culinary Arts '06, Executive Chef of The Common – Grandin and Culina to Go

Technical and Master Chef in Residence

Master chefs have expertise in a specific area such as pastry, olive oil, bread making, vegetable carving, ice carving, butchery or molecular gastronomy. These experts may be local, national or international. These residencies will be between 1 and 30 days in length.​

Honorary Chef in Residence

  • Typically a local chef who has a long-term relationship with NAIT and our programs.
  • This residency is a 1-year period.
  • These chefs nurture and mentor students, participate in advisory boards and support students in their practicums and career aspirations.

Other visiting chefs

In addition to the Hokanson Chef in Residence program, the Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies makes an ongoing effort to connect students with industry leaders. ​

  • 2020 – Edmonton chef and proprietor at XIX Nineteen, Andrew Fung
  • 2019 – French Cacao Barry pastry chef, Nicolas Dutertre
  • 2019 – World Association of Chefs judge based in Sweden,  Gert Klotzke 
  • 2019 – Edmonton-based owner and chef of Cibo Bistro, Rosario Caputo
  • 2018 – David Bonet of The French Pastry School  Ecole Bellouet Conseil in Paris
  • 2018 – Russian pastry arts chef, Nina Terrasova
  • 2018 – Culinary scientist in food biochemistry from California, Dr. Ali Bouzari
  • 2017 - French Callebaut chocolatier and pastry chef, Christophe Buzon
  • 2017 – Certified research chef from the Culinology Education Foundation in Texas, Stephen Kalil
  • 2017 – Edmonton-based microbiologist of sourdough, Dr. Michael Gaenzle
  • 2016 – Spanish master pastry chef and baker, Josep Pascual
  • 2015 – 4th Generation German Master Butcher, Karsten Schellhas
  • 2014 – Executive Pastry Chef, Philippe Le Corre
  • 2010 – Bread expert, author and culinary instructor, Peter Reinhart
  • 2009, 2010 & 2014 – Master Baker, Didier Rosada 
  • 2008 & 2009 Master Chef, Giuseppe Mazzocchi 
  • 2008 – Master Baker, Jeffrey Hamelman
  • 2008 – German Master Butcher, Stefan Follner

Ready for the kitchen?

Learn more about the programs that make NAIT's Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies one the of most respected culinary and hospitality schools in Canada.

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