SAIT Polytechnic's Downtown Culinary Campus
Meet our team

Chef Steven Lepine

Calgary born and raised, Chef Steve Lepine’s culinary journey led him from dishwashing at Earls to graduating top of his class from SAIT’s Professional Cooking program to cooking as sous chef at the Calgary Golf and Country Club. Along the way, Lepine worked at the Banff Springs Hotel, the Bow Valley Club and the Calgary Stampede, and received numerous awards: Lepine won the provincial Jeune Commis Rotisseurs twice and placed second at the 2010 Bocuse D’Or Canadian qualifier.

A Red Seal Journeyman and Certified Chef de Cuisine, Chef Lepine balances his love of good food and good wine with golfing, camping and traveling.

Chef Rolf Runkel

Originally from Switzerland, Chef Rolf Runkel trained in a traditional baker and pastry chef apprenticeship before his career took him to prestigious hotels around the world, including: the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the Westin Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel, and the Hilton Hotel in Ottawa; the Fairmont Chateau Whistler; the Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda; and the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Grand Cayman.

With over 20 years of experience, Chef Runkel worked as an executive pastry chef, an executive sous chef and a bakery consultant prior to joining SAIT in 2011 as a chef instructor in the Baking and Pastry Arts program.

Chef Andrew Hewson

A chef for more than 19 years, Andrew Hewson has worked in Vancouver, New York, England, Philadelphia and Calgary. Now a SAIT culinary instructor, Chef Hewson is passionate about Culinary Agro Literacy — the connection between the culinary arts, agriculture and foodservice sustainability. Channeling his passion, Hewson spearheaded the development of a culinary garden in 2011. What has become known as Jackson's Garden is now used to teach respect for food and ingredients as students learn to plant, grow and cook what they harvest.

Chef Hewson is also involved with the Calgary Food Committee and an active mentor to Slow Food Youth Calgary.

Chef Vanessa Mendoza

“Watching people enjoy the food you’ve worked hard to prepare is extremely rewarding. I’m honest with my students, being a chef is a lot of work and requires stamina — but without a doubt — it’s gratifying.”

Chef Instructor Vanessa Mendoza has a world of experience in the culinary arts — literally. A SAIT graduate with over 19 years of industry practice, Mendoza has travelled the world and won numerous awards along the way including: Grand Gold, Best Chef award for Norwegian Salmon in the 13th Food and Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge; gold in the 22nd Annual International Salon Culinaire D’Ecosse; and six gold medals in the Southern Alberta Culinary Arts Salon.

From personal chef and consultant to Sous Chef for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mendoza has served prominent heads of state — Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Canadian Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper, and Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama — to name only a few.

Wanting to cultivate a culinary passion in other young chefs, Mendoza joined SAIT in 2014 to teach first year students in the Professional Cooking program. 

> Take a look at our upcoming cooking classes!

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Where we are

We are located at 226, 230 - 8 Ave SW, Calgary. Click above for directions using Google maps and more information

We are located at 226, 230 - 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB. Click map for directions and parking information