District Highlights

#YourPathSD42: Culinary Arts

Did you know students who graduate from SD42’s Culinary Arts program are ready to start jobs as entry level cooks in restaurants and hotels?

“It gives them an integral skill set,” explained chef Mike Steele, the program’s instructor. “It’s designed to prepare students for a career as an entry level cook in the culinary industry.”

The Culinary Arts program is a unique partnership program between SD42 and Vancouver Community College (VCC) that gives students the opportunity to complete Grade 12 graduation requirements while earning post-secondary credits and certification in the culinary arts industry. 

Students who complete SD42’s Culinary Arts program earn Professional Cook 1 certification.

“The program also provides students with an opportunity to understand the Red Seal trade apprenticeship program and how to complete their training, leading up to the journeyman certification,” he added.

After graduation, students can choose to continue their culinary training by taking the Professional Cook 2 and Cook 3 programs at VCC.

Steele says the Culinary Arts program at Samuel Robertson Technical offers students an opportunity to explore potential careers in the food service industry while also learning practical skills that they can use in their own kitchens regardless of whether they decide to pursue a life-long culinary career.

“Food purchasing, preparation and cooking is an important life skill,” Steele said. “If a student does not pursue a career in the industry as a cook or chef they will take a great deal from the course. They will be able to make wise choices in the future with regards to food, sustainability and purchasing choices for their families.”

Along with learning foundational skills and theoretical knowledge – everything from kitchen safety and knife skills to meal preparation like making soups and sauces – students also get practical, hands-on experience preparing dinners three times a week at Samuel’s Bistro at the school.

“This provides them with real-life situations and kitchen pressures. It’s closer to the reality you’re going to see working in the industry,” Steele said. “They get real customers, and so they also learn about the hospitality side too.” 

Steele, who’s been in the industry for three decades, has captured gold at the Culinary Olympics and cooked at five-star hotels around the world. His message to the aspiring chefs in his classroom is simple: With hard work and dedication, you can accomplish anything.

“They need to have passion for the industry and trade with the understanding that hard work pays off,” he said.


SD42 empowers students to discover their unique learning paths by offering more than 30 specialized programs of choice, from International Baccalaureate and sports academies to trades and technology. Download our Programs of Choice booklet.



Our vision
Our vision is for every individual to feel valued and for all learners to reach their potential.
Our mission
Our mission is to support all individuals in their development as successful learners, and as respectful, caring and responsible members of society.