Chef Instructor, Scott Pohorelic, was running his own kitchen at the early age of just 19 years. Initially drawn to the fast-paced and demanding culinary world as a line cook, Pohorelic quickly developed an appreciation for good food — and the gratification it brought to those who consumed it.
Later, Pohorelic became a chef and pioneer at Calgary’s popular River Café. Over the next 11 years, he helped to create a culture of sustainable food practices built around regional, seasonal cuisine. Today, Pohorelic remains a supporter and advocate for local Alberta food.
Armed with knowledge, experience and a passion for cooking, Chef Pohorelic joined SAIT as an instructor in 2010. “Teaching was a natural progression in my career. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others, watching students grow and nurturing their passion for the culinary arts.”
Originally from New York, Chef Michael Mandato brings a wealth of experience as an Executive Chef who has worked in luxury hotels such as the Garden City, Taj Boston, Ritz-Carlton St. Louis and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge — to name a few.
In 2005, Chef Mandato had the unique opportunity to serve as a private chef for the Queen and Prince Philip while working at Jasper Park Lodge. Among other career highlights, Mandato also led a team in successfully opening a world-class American steakhouse at the prestigious Garden City Hotel.
“I was tasked with building a restaurant from the ground up,” says Mandato. It is here, where he developed a strong appreciation for teamwork. “Being part of a larger team is rewarding; working together to realize growth and success is core to my teaching philosophy.”
An advocate of farm to table cuisine, Chef Mandato is also passionate about teaching the principles of healthy cooking and living. And, when he is not using local, seasonal ingredients in the kitchen, he is camping in the Rocky Mountains or deep sea fishing in Florida.
“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.
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.
Multi-tasker and creative solution seeker, Katherine Miles is Culinary Campus' Event Planner. Combining her passion for food and wine with her enthusiasm for event planning, Miles creates a unique customer-centric experience.
“I love to personalize events and make them special for each and every one of my clients,” says Miles. “Working one-on-one with each customer is what I enjoy most about my career.”
A SAIT alumna, Miles studied Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2005 and has since immersed herself in the hospitality sector. Over the last 10 years, she has worked for well-known establishments including the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, Penticton Lakeside Resort and Victoria Golf Club.
Now in Calgary, Miles is excited to be working at the SAIT downtown Culinary Campus creating corporate team building events, interactive culinary receptions and custom social celebrations.
“There’s no other space like the Culinary Campus in Calgary. I’m proud to be able to share this beautiful and educational experience with our guests,” says Miles.
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