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  • Andrea Juarez

SAIT’s new downtown culinary campus prepares future entrepreneurs

This story was previously published on The Weal. Featured image by Rebecca Hardcastle.

The Tastemarket had its grand-opening to the public on Friday, Nov 2. to give the first class of SAIT Culinary Entrepreneurship students an opportunity to get a 100 per cent hands-on experience in a culinary workplace.

“It’s needed. There’s an entrepreneurship class in many universities, but The Tastemarket is the classroom,” said Chef Michael Mandato, an instructor at The Tastemarket.

Being the first of its kind in North America, The Tastemarket offers a new business concept, consisting of four different businesses in one, including The Line, where hot foods and salads are served, along with pastries, flatbreads, wine and charcuterie.

Mandato said the new Culinary Entrepreneurship program creates a realistic approach by opening a classroom where the class is not doing activities, but actually facing the challenges that happen when opening a business.

“It gives them [students] a taste of [what] being an entrepreneur is like.

“It provides a learning curve,” Mandato said.

Max Hoodveld, a student from the Culinary Entrepreneurship program, said the program is a stepping-stone for contacts, and for applying themselves not only in the classroom, but in the workplace as well.

“It gives us the opportunity to learn something no one really offers,” Hoodveld said.

Students develop and practise their entrepreneurial skills with courses such as technology for businesses, food service retail management, sales marketing and finance.

“The experience is mind-blowing,” said Shane Spence, a culinary entrepreneurship student.

“It’s a great learning opportunity started by SAIT.”

Even though students are outside the main campus, they still have access to both SAIT and SAITSA student awards, medical and dental health services, and the library on the main campus.

“I think we’re separate, but connected,” Hoodveld said.

“We’re connected to SAIT, they’ll support us if we really need it,” said Spence.

Students said they felt proud being a part of the first class of the program.

“It’s something special. None of the other students will have the opportunity to see the opening again,” said Hoodveld.

“We saw the electricians, painters and construction workers.”

Hoodveld said creativity is important in the program.

“If we don’t like something, we can take a procedure,” said Max Hoodveld.

Students and staff from the Culinary Entrepreneurship program invite the public and SAIT students to visit The Tastemarket, especially during the evenings, when cocktails, boards, flatbreads and appetizers are available.

“Everyday we have someone new, it’s a good look,” said Spence.

“We just need the brand to get out there.”

Mandato said the students are passionate, future entrepreneurs that want to be successful and have a chance to learn.

“It’s a great opportunity for them, but they can’t learn without guests,” he said.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Tastemarket will have two functions: “Have some, dim sum.” From 1 to 5 p.m., which will be offering free tea, five different dim sum dishes with a featured item and ham, pork and steamed buns.

The second function, the Winter Art Gala, will start at 5 p.m. and run until 8:30 p.m. It will feature local artists and a full wine and cocktail menu.

The Tastemarket is located at 444 7 Ave S.W., next to the 4th St. LRT station. For more information, visit

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