Gourmet food on campus

By Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca

A student-made truffle cake on display at the Market Place at SAIT in Calgary. (Andree Lau/CBC)

Gourmet goods, fresh baked pastries, and beautiful cuts of meat — all produced by students — are now for sale at a new food store on the campus of Calgary's SAIT Polytechnic.

The Market Place, which opened on Tuesday, is designed to be both a retail store and a classroom for the institute's students in the baking and pastry arts, professional cooking and meat operations and management programs.

The new food store features a bakery section. (Andree Lau/CBC)

Like other culinary schools in Canada, SAIT already runs a restaurant featuring the cooking students: the Highwood. But the Market Place is a fairly unique venture for a post-secondary institution.

The modern, open retail design gives about 100 students the "ability to effectively interact with customers" and show off their creations, said Tom Bornhorst, dean of SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism.

Bornhorst said some people may be intimidated by how to cook certain foods, especially cuts of meat, so they will be able to chat with students about preparation and food origins.

Stephanie Borgens hopes to open her own butcher shop and restaurant after graduating from the SAIT diploma program in meat operations and management. (Andree Lau/CBC)

Student Stephanie Borgens, who wants to open her own side-by-side butcher shop and restaurant, said the setup gives her "a lot of pride and a great learning opportunity."

Prices for the artisan breads, meats, pastries, and fresh soups and to-go main courses looked on par or lower than local grocery stores. Bornhorst said the Market Place is run on a "cost recovery" basis.

The Market Place at SAIT is located on the main Calgary campus in the John Ware building and is open Monday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Friday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.